I’m reaching nearly 50 years of age.

Looking back, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned. 

Still, there’s so much more about life that I don’t know.

But what I do know has kept me grounded and continues to guide me on my way.

In today’s post, I’ll attempt to share several strange yet sometimes obvious truths about life that I fail to notice every now and then.

Consider this a reminder to self. And no, I’m not forgetful, just being helpful here 🙂

Now, let’s get started.

A Good Life Isn’t Always What Will Make You Happy

Since adulthood, we’ve been programmed to strive for a good life. 

Regardless of what a good life means to you, it’s almost universally regarded as a goal for achieving happiness.

But is this always true?

Hedge fund manager Morgan Housel shared in his blog that happiness is the difference between what you have now compared to what you were just doing.

Here are the analogies he used.

The best drink you will ever taste is a glass of tap water when you’re thirsty.

The best food you will ever eat is fast food when you’re starving.

The best massage you will ever feel is sitting on a couch after a long run.

The best sleep you will ever experience is when your newborn finally sleeps through the night.

Some of my greatest wins were when I was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

There’s nothing more exhilarating than walking out with a victory in a match where winning seemed improbable.

This is why we love come-behind victories in sports.

There are two main lessons from his short but impactful excerpt: 

The pursuit of happiness, in itself, is something we should try to enjoy.

Remember the feeling of cashing your first paycheck? I’m betting it beats getting a salary increment.

As Housel puts it, Going from nothing to something is so much more powerful than going from a lot to super a lot.

Happiness is fleeting. The truly great wonderful moments are bittersweet. Because they don’t last. Treasure every moment.

The Easier Change is to do something new, the hardest change is to keep improving

In evolutionary biology, the Cope Rule states that organisms tend to evolve over time to become bigger. This is simply because there are proven evolutionary advantages to being bigger.

This also applies to sports where size often confers certain benefits like strength and power. 

As the runt of the family, I always wanted to be bigger. It never felt good being the skinny third-stringer on the high school football team.

It’s a far cry from where I’m at now – slightly north of 220 pounds and carrying a fair bit of muscle.

I feel more confident, healthy and have a better attitude towards my health, nutrition, and fitness.

Even with all the upsides, are there any downsides to being bigger?

In one of my previous posts, I shared my thoughts about learning to get comfortable with my size. 

Being bigger isn’t necessarily the most important thing. Being more conditioned, stronger, and healthier is.

But getting bigger is by far the easier route. Bulk, ingest more calories, sleep, repeat.

What’s a lot harder is to continuously attempt to refine your physique. Getting that 1% better, be it in your shape, strength, or conditioning.

We see this happening all the time in the corporate world. Companies find it much easier to launch an entirely new product than to improve on their existing offerings.

It’s far easier to see change as something entirely new and a fresh experience than to go about the monotony of improving oneself daily.

Have something to run towards but also something to run away from

To illustrate the power of maximizing motivation, Jordan Peterson used the analogy of starving rats in a tube.

In this experiment, hungry rats had springs attached to their tails.

When the smell of cheese was released in front, the rats would pull forward on the spring.

Not surprisingly, when the smell was a cat was released behind the rats, force results showed that the rats pulled forward even harder.

I wrote a post about fear and how it plays an important part in our goals. It took me several years to get away from the “fear” of being in an arena. 

Thanks to a 13-year UFC career, my instincts would automatically default to “fight or flight” in an arena or stadium.

Running away from something is not necessarily always a bad thing.

Running away from bad habits and sprinting towards new and positive behaviors is a good start.

There is more than one way to your destination. 

It’s a delicate balancing act. 

Do you fear failure more than you desire success?

If so, how can you channel this fear into being a force for good and help motivate yourself towards achieving your goals?