In his podcast interview with Krista Tippett, creator of the radio show On Being, Tim Ferriss said that people recognize the benefits of meditation but they “tell me they’re afraid of losing their ‘edge.’”
“What does that mean exactly?” I wondered. That if we meditate — if we feel at peace and start to accept ‘what is’ — that we’ll lose our drive to achieve? That we’ll come out of meditation so blissful that we’ll be content to sit and do nothing all day while our goal-seeking peers go on to make millions, write New York Times best-sellers and climb Mt Everest 17 times?
“I’m afraid if I meditate I’ll become complacent.” Umm, that sounds awfully similar to the rationale of women who avoid lifting heavy weights because they don’t want to become muscle-bound.
Why do we want an ‘edge’ anyway? Is creating our future not inherently exciting, or do we need a sense of dissatisfaction with our current situation to keep us motivated? Here’s the thing. No matter what we achieve, ego will never — never! — be satisfied. (No, not even with ‘that,’ whatever you just thought about.) As Eckhart Tolle says: “The ego wants to want more than it wants to have.”
So maybe we need to revisit why we want what we want.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with having goals. As humans, we’re designed to grow and evolve. But it’s about the experience we create through reaching for those goals, not the actual outcome or external recognition.
Then we don’t need an edge. We can be inspired from within, like all great creators of the world. When we lose our edge, we lose the need to struggle, compare, compete and avoid failure.
And then, we can actually find ourself in the unknown of the present moment — which is a much more interesting edge.
p.s. Interested in other ways to get out of survival mode? Join the 5 Minutes to a Mental Six-Pack membership, for short daily mindset training exercises.