Most of us are striving for something, stressed out and going crazy to get it. Some of us are trying to get a promotion, some trying to get more money, some trying to find a new partner, some aiming at more possessions, more success or more popularity. But why do we want these things? What’s our end game?
After all the striving, acquiring and achieving, how will we be? What state will we be in?
The uncomfortable truth is that most of us don’t know what our end game is, we’re caught up with the striving and we mistake this constant struggle to get or achieve something for life itself. If we truthfully consider what our end game is, we’ll be surprised that it’s already available with no striving necessary. Let’s see how this works…
A classic story about the end game
I read this short story recently from Open Your Mind, Open Your Life by Taro Gold;
There once lived a powerful king who undertook an expedition to conquer foreign lands. His wise counsellor asked him, “Great King, to what purpose do you set out on this endeavour?”
“To become master of Asia”, the king replied.
“And then what?” asked the counsellor.
“I shall invade Arabia”, said the king.
“And after that?”
“I shall conquer Europe and Africa, and finally, when the whole world is under me, I shall rest and live at ease.”
To this the wise counsellor retorted, “But what keeps you from resting and living at ease here and now, if that is all you want? You could settle down this very day without the trouble and risks.”
What a great story. It really highlights the idea of the “end game”. What is the ultimate goal of our striving? Where are we trying to get? Could it be that the end game is always much closer to hand than we think?
When I first read this story, I had the strong feeling that the “end game” is always at our fingertips and, if we just understood this, there’d be no need to strive at all. Nothing in Nature strives, except for humans.
What is my end game?
Here’s a personal look at how I evaluated my personal end game.
For many years now, I’ve identified with the following elements of “striving”. I’ve been making myself a little crazy with tension, worry and concern over achieving enough of these things.
- clearing my backlog of stuff (emails from work, personal emails, bills, etc.)
- clearing out my chores at home and keeping my environment tidy
- having enough money
- simplifying the details of my life (related to clearing out the emails, bills and chores)
- being successful in the things that I do
- helping people
- not forgetting anything important
Now, I have to ask myself “why do I want to achieve all of these things?” and “what will my life be like when I have achieved them?”. This is getting to the crux of the end game. What state of being am I trying to get to?
These are often hard questions to answer because we’re not really concentrating on them. We’re too busy striving and the striving seems like it might not ever end. So, I have to slow down and really think what my life would be like when all my emails are cleared, all my chores done and my home is tidy, I have plenty of money, the details of my life are simple, I am successful, help people and don’t forget anything important. How would life be in this end game scenario?
After some contemplation, I see that my end game life is serene, calm and peaceful. I’m content that I’m living well, enjoying my time on Earth and enjoying the things I’m doing and experiencing. The main components of my end game are serene, calm, peace and joy.
It’s interesting isn’t it? Serenity, calmness, peacefulness and joyfulness are not things that can be bought or earned. These are qualities that are available to everyone all the time. Yet, I’ve been thinking that the path to serenity, calmness, peacefulness and joyfulness is through acquiring and achieving things. It isn’t at all.
I can have serenity, calmness, peacefulness and joyfulness right now. It’s just my choice. I don’t have to spend years and years of striving to get and achieve things to get to this end game. What I’m looking for is not an end game at all. It’s an available option right now.
Choosing the end game now
If you think the key to your life is to get something, or to achieve something, you have to consider that you may be wrong. You only want to get that thing, or achieve that thing, because of the way you imagine you’ll feel when you have it. That’s the end game. It’s a feeling or emotion that you’re looking for.
Feelings, emotions and all states of being are not directly related to any thing or achievement. Why not go straight towards the state of being and bypass the idea of striving completely?
However, just because the end game is available right now doesn’t mean it’s easy to choose and have. We are firmly entrenched in the world of striving and there are many distractions and apparent emergencies that keep us here. If we choose to have the end game now and go straight for the state of being we’d like, elements of the world will quickly come along and knock us back into striving. To choose the end game now means to choose it over and over, every moment, no matter what’s going on. We have to ignore the distractions and keep choosing our end game.
Now we’re getting to the essence of life. We constantly have free will. We are free to choose. To enjoy life in the state of being of our desired end game, we have to constantly choose that. If we choose it constantly, it is ours. Nothing else could happen.
As stated earlier, my desired state of being, my end game, is serene, calm, peace and joy. I can choose that now and ignore the distractions, but I find the distractions are sneaky and quickly grab my attention. Then I’m back to the beginning, striving like crazy again and attempting to consciously choose my end game again. Maybe, with practice, I’ll get better at this and eventually be choosing my end game more often than not. Maybe I’ll get to the point of choosing it constantly. This is hard but we know it’s possible because we’ve seen others do it.
I wish you luck with your quest to choose your state of being, your end game, now. And keep choosing it.
I’d love to hear what state of being you desire.
Notice that striving requires time. You are in a struggle and you will need time to battle with it. On the other hand, a state of being does not need time. A state of being can be accessed this very second and it can be eternal. Seems like striving is an illusion and a state of being is real. Do we want to be caught up in the illusion of be part of something true and real?
Thought provoking !
Thanks for that Peter.
BTW My room is really untidy. I can’t be bothered to tidy it. So I have peace. joy etc unless shamed by an unexpected visitor 🙂
Thanks for the comment Bee and thanks for the funny comment about your room. My room is untidy too but I always feel better when it’s tidy. Here’s a question – if you feel you could be shamed by an unexpected visitor, do you really have complete peace?
Stephen Fairchild says
I can have serenity, calmness, peacefulness and joyfulness right now.
Sounds like a perfect description of Death to me. LIFE is striving and conflicts and overcoming odds and winning and losing. It has pain and pleasure; how else can we know when life is almost gone, that we fought the good fight until the very end and can piety anyone who arrives at the end of life without bold scary memories.
Go then if you wish and lead your boring uneventful and probably meaningless life.