[Listen to this reflection here]
A few months ago, feeling major FOMO, I started to invest in crypto.
Like anything new that caught my attention, I went in deep. From embarrassingly not knowing anything about cryptocurrency last fall, I found myself reading books, listening to podcasts and asking friends questions daily on the topic. Once I had my accounts, wallets and funds organized, I started investing, and soon, I was trading, daily.
A few weeks ago, I had some friends over for dinner and one mentioned something about crypto. At that moment, I realized I had not logged into a single account to trade or even check my balances in at least one week.
I was quick to admit to myself that I had clearly lost interest in this recent hobby.
At times, I will feel more motivated and at other times, less motivated, in relation to an interest, a place or even, a person.
There is an expectation that my motivation and interest in some thing, some one or some place, remains constant. Like a straight line that is trending slightly up, my interest should be increasing over time.
When I look around in my life, I realize I have that expectation all over. The growth for my business should be a straight line, up and to the right. The stocks in my portfolio, the quality of my sleep, the strength of my relationships, the weather and more. I sort of expect everything to always get better, stronger and more interesting.
Life feels less like a straight line though, and more like a wave that goes up and down.
I believe this expectation for everything to be straight is a limitation of the mind. Linear patterns are easier to understand and process. The mind also likes to feel in control and craves consistency. It is easier to predict a line and quite scary to imagine a wave.
I am developing the belief that our emotions are in the driver's seat, not our minds.
It is easy to believe that we are logical beings who sometimes experience emotion. Life is showing me that we are emotional beings, who use logic to explain the emotion.
Emotion is inefficient.
Emotion is inconvenient.
Emotion is difficult to control.
Emotion is impossible to predict.
Emotion is highly impermanent.
Why do we crave permanence? We live in a world of impermanence, and are ourselves highly impermanent. While drowning in this sea of impermanence, perhaps the allure of permanence is the lifeboat that we so desperately want.
My motivations and interests will change. And I want to be more okay with that.
For example, I was recently very interested in crypto. Then, I found myself less interested. That does not mean that I am ‘done’ with it and won’t ever be interested again. I will very likely be interested in it again. I just may not know when.
I find that it takes an incredible amount of mental resource and emotional energy to try and sustain a consistent motivation and interest level in some thing, some one or some place.
I suspect it is because the underlying motivation and interest goes up and down, like a wave, while I fool those around me, and myself, into thinking that it’s a straight line.
For example, last week, I did not write a blog post. I surprisingly received several messages from people asking if I was okay, as I have been consistently publishing every week, for years now.
So what happened? I sat down to write, and even had a few juicy topics that I was going to explore, however as I checked in with myself emotionally, I noticed that I just was not feeling it.
I no doubt could have forced myself to write, which I will admit that I have done in the past, however this time I chose to listen to how I felt. If I had forced it, I likely would not have been as connected to the writing, and definitely not as satisfied.
I have been keeping a fairly active blog for 7 years now. I cannot think of too many interests, maybe other than meditation, that I have continued for this long and still do with a smile on my face. To sustain an interest over the long-term, it has to feel effortless.
Another example. I have been a vegetarian for most of my life. However in the past decade, I have oscillated between vegetarian and vegan more times than I care to admit. Why? Well, clearly I like cheese way too much despite some part of me wanting to be vegan.
The desire I have for cheese is clearly stronger than any desire to be vegan. It’s that simple, however I have yet to fully accept it, fooling myself every few months that ‘now it’s time’.
I imagine the same is true for many unfulfilled desires. If one has a desire to lose weight but still finds themselves eating junk, then clearly the desire to eat junk is stronger than the desire to lose weight. And that might be okay. The same can likely be said for technology addictions, career progressions, and more.
Look at any unfulfilled desire and an opposing fulfilled desire is to be found nearby. One that feels so good, that’s why we do it.
When I take a long-term perspective and have conviction or belief about some thing, some one or some place, then I become more flexible and adaptable along the way. And therein lies the key. This flexibility is what allows me to continue to move forward despite the twists and turns that my feelings will throw at me.
Any rigidity I have is a rejection of my feelings. And in rejecting my feelings, I reject my long-term desire, lose interest and then feel discouraged. Then, I no longer feel like doing it, so I do not do it.
My one word theme last year was space. It taught me the value in giving myself space to be with my feelings. Instead of trying to force some pre-developed idea I had, I learned how to ease into and flow more harmoniously with how I was feeling.
My one word theme this year is open, and it feels like a continuation of space. It is becoming a reminder for me to be open to how I might feel about some thing, some one or some place.
My feelings are highly impermanent, learning how to listen to them yet not get overly concerned with them is how I keep the flexibility that allows me to stay encouraged and excited along the way.
I feel like eating some cheese now, and then I will check my crypto portfolio.