One of the defining characteristics of being human is striving. The angst driving us to do more, to be better. The pursuit of greater; the desire for progress. Sitting at a retreat for 60 MD/PhD candidates I can think of few other groups of people so defined by striving. Although striving itself is by no means unhealthy or wrong, it is a path fraught with unhealthy detours and distractions. Striving pushes us to greatness, to persevere when it would be easier to give up, to act when we would rather be still. However our striving can easily become a pursuit of fame, a need to look good in front of other, a desire to be ‘special’ and significant. As soon as this striving becomes derailed the elegance and beauty of the task in front of us is lost and all that remains is our exhaustion, frustration, and despair. No matter how well we strive or how hard we pursue, the end of such derailed striving is joyless stress and oppressive expectations.
Instead, whatever you strive for in life…
Do it because it brings you joy.
Do it because it brings you peace.
Do it because it benefits others .
Do it because you love the process, the journey, and the hope of what is to come.