I’ve been taking the little man for morning walks the last few days.
In the conversation, Junger was talking about a near death experience he had. Once he survived his near death experience, it became clear to him that his biggest priority is to stay alive so he can be there for his daughters. His life isn’t actually about him anymore. His life is in service of other people.
He mentioned the liberation he feels now that almost nothing in his life is about himself.
In Tribe, Junger writes about the deep bonds that develop within platoons of solders who have seen combat. In almost every case, soldiers with intense combat experience talk about how much they miss it. It’s not the war and the violence they miss, but rather the feeling of being so deeply connected to other people that their purpose and their choices are never motivated by self interests, but rather they now live (and die) for each other.
These solders often refer to these combat experiences as the happiest time in their lives
The less we think about ourselves, the happier we are. Even in war.
I’m at a strange inflection point right now. In some ways this is the happiest I’ve ever been. Every morning, my wife and I drink coffee in bed with our son and it’s delightful. I get these hotshots of morning bliss. It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before and it fills me with joy in a way that I can’t articulate.
Come 9 o’clock, my mindset shifts and I bury myself in a deep obsession to continue growing my companies. When the pandemic hit, I made a deliberate choice to be aggressive while everyone else was hoarding resources and living in fear. My team and I dug in, and we have surpassed all expectations we set for ourselves. It’s been incredible.
But it has come at a cost.
We have lost some of the enjoyment in our work. We have lost some of the comradery and the culture of support and love. That culture, and that sense of trust and comradery has always been one of the things I have been most proud of in my business.
I’ve lost sight of the purpose, which is to build something bigger than myself. The more I think about myself, the more anxious I become. The more anxious I become, the more fearful I am of losing things. When I am fearful of losing things, my thoughts naturally become more self centered.
It’s cyclical. I need to break the cycle. The ratchet needs to stop turning. I’m waking up. I’m opening my eyes. I’m listening. I need to make some changes.