What is life all about?
This is the million-dollar question.
I’ve been asking it myself for a long time.
I’m just 45 years old, and I’ve been chasing this question’s answer for a long period throughout all my life.
I started understanding the concept just 5 years ago when I was 40. Since then, my life has exponentially grown and improved. That’s what I want to share with you.
I found out the answer by asking me just the opposite: what is life NOT about?
Sometimes (much more than we may think), a straight line is not the right or the fastest way to reach your destination.
During a long period in my life, I looked for perfection. It was my goal because I thought doing things perfectly would allow me to achieve fulfillment in life (which equals happiness), and that was what life was all about.
Today, I’m an ex-perfectionist. I’m proud to say that I’m much happier now than in my past “perfectionist years”.
A perfectionist looks for perfection, but… what’s exactly “perfection”?
Let’s dive in a little bit into the concept, but being pragmatic. I appreciate and respect your time a lot.
Concept of perfection
There are thousands or millions of books written about the topic.
I will just share the essential concepts to take out the pragmatic gems we’re looking for to answer our initial question.
Perfection: “the action or process of improving something until it is faultless.”
From ancient philosophers until today, humanity has been thinking and giving an opinion about the concept.
Perfection meant to Aristotle “pursuing the greatest fulfillment of human potential”.
Depending on the philosophy you look at, perfection is seen as “liberation from suffering” (Buddhism) or “harmony with nature or the universe” (Taoism).
Later on, Kant or Nietzsche focused perfection on “the power of reason to discover truth and accomplish practical ends”.
You can keep on going all your life, and, someday, death will knock on your door, and you will still be wondering what the hell life is all about.
So, basing my thoughts on all those philosophies and keeping on reading, investigating, and asking myself all kinds of questions, I found something.
Whenever I was just trying my best, I felt well.
Whenever I looked back and saw I was a better version of myself, I felt great.
So, why did life have to be a destination I had to reach?
Why couldn’t life be a PROCESS rather than a DESTINATION?
A line and a curve that can give sense to your life
One thing we can state is this:
“Perfection does not exist. You can always do better, and you can always grow.”
– Les Brown, motivational speaker
Reading these types of concepts is how I started changing my mind about what life was all about, focusing on a PROCESS.
Later on, I discover “the perfection asymptote”. “Asymptotic” means “a line that continually approaches a given curve but does not meet it at any finite distance.”
If I cannot reach perfection, then… what’s life all about?
Kim Collins, World Champion in the 100 meters in the year 2003, gave me another clue:
“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.”
— Kim Collins, athlete
Here you got it.
Life is pursuing the best version of yourself, although you’re never going to achieve it because it’s impossible (you can always be a better version of yourself).
This shouldn’t take you to frustration. Just the opposite.
It’s the journey from your best version to the next one that you should enjoy because… that’s WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT.
Life is a continuous movement out of your comfort zone to the discomfort area. There, sooner or later, you will feel comfortable. Your comfort zone (and you) will have grown. Then, you move again to the discomfort area.
So LIFE would be like this:
- Comfort zone.
- Discomfort zone.
- New and wider comfort zone.
- Discomfort zone.
- New and wider comfort zone.
This inKNOWation video perfectly represents the concept described above.
It’s this non-stop (endless) movement the one that gives sense to your life. The one that makes you evolve, giving you that fulfillment sensation we do need to achieve happiness. It’s what positive psychologists call “flourishing“.
Sheryl Sandberg perfectly synthesizes this “perfection concept” in her quote:
“Done is better than perfect.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, business executive, billionaire, and philanthropist
Doing things that move you towards your goals, being a better version of yourself is what life is all about.
Enjoying that process is what life is all about.
Forget about destinations that you’ll never achieve. Focus on the process.
Life is something dynamic, as processes are.
That’s why our life is about a process, not a destination.
- When you start living like that,
- when you look back and see your progress,
- when you feel you’re a better self,
- when you just focus on the present time, not destinations,
… it’s the moment you can say: “Now I know what life is all about”.