Enjoy Your Struggle

Food for Thought

My wife and I spent the weekend at Stefan and Zopi’s house by the lake upstate, tasting everything the Good Life has to offer, like being picked up with a convertible Porche 911, dining and wining with a 180-degree view of the lake, swimming in a pool, and rowing a boat on the lake. They have perfected the art of hospitality. Every detail of the house was executed with impeccable taste.

Curiously, Stefan never seems to be sure why he has the life he has. It’s as if he is always scratching his head asking himself, “how did I get here?” which includes being tall, handsome, and strong. I believe he is actually a nerd like me trapped inside of the body of an international ladies man. At one point in his life, he somehow figured out how to acquire these desirable qualities. When he sees other nerds struggling to be like him, he is compelled to help them because he wants to confirm that he has indeed found the answer to the eternal question. He wants to validate it by consistently reproducing the same result in other nerds because he believes in scientific methods. For this, he went as far as to produce a reality TV series where he coached from behind the camera all sorts of nerds on how to get a date. But in the end, he realized that these nerds “couldn’t get out of their own way”

In other words, in psychology, figuring out the cause and effect does not lead to the solution. In fact, Freud himself realized this; explaining to his patients the reason behind their suffering did not lead to a cure. Theoretically knowing how to be happy, confident, or enlightened doesn’t help us achieve it. Why? I believe it’s because we all secretly (or unconsciously) enjoy suffering. For instance, research has shown that having children makes us less happy, yet it hasn’t stopped anyone from having more children, and when asked, we say we want to be happy. That is, we know better than to listen to what we say. We don’t realize that we enjoy getting in our own way. This is the paradox that has been confounding Stefan because he ends up actually achieving what he says he wants in his life.