No lengthy and overly verbose intro today, so let’s just dive right into it.
Shark week was last week and while I don’t have a lot of thoughts or feelings on that in particular, something I’m always reminded of when I think about sharks is that in order for sharks to live, they must literally always be moving. Ever forward. Up up, down down, left, right, left, right, B A, select, start — a shark cannot survive without constantly being in motion. As humans, this is probably the most important shark trait we could adopt (next to constantly growing new rows of teeth). I’m not the first to make this analogy, nor is it wildly profound, but it’s one of those things that’s important enough to restate from time to time.
Often times people measure their own success (both on an overall and day-to-day level) by how much they can do or how great their accomplishments are, but that is a flawed system, designed to keep you in a constant state of not feeling good enough. When you look back over your life or your day, you will always find more things you wanted to do that you didn’t have time to accomplish. That’s why people always complain about there not being enough hours in the day. How many times have you heard someone say “man I’d get so much more done if there were 30 hours in a day instead of 24.” But what people don’t realize is that even if there were an extra six hours in every day, there would still be things left undone and it wouldn’t be long before people started saying things like “man I’d get so much more done if there were 36 hours in a day…”. It’s human nature, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, living in a mental state where you always feel like you need to DO more in order to have value is at best misguided and at worst dangerously unhealthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting laziness or apathy disguised as enlightenment, I’m just saying be thankful that there is always more to do and experience, otherwise life would be incredibly boring.
Let’s take it on back to sharks. I won’t pretend to know whether or not sharks feel mentally, emotionally, and philosophically fulfilled in their everyday lives. I will say that all empirical evidence seems to indicate that they are built to do one thing, and they do it very well. Now imagine a world where rather than just doing what they were meant to do in the way and at the pace that they were designed to do it, that sharks freaked out if they didn’t get far enough in any given day or if they didn’t take down every seal on the planet. “Man if I just had six more shark hours in a day, then I could REALLY get where I need to go and get everything done! Think of all the seals I could mindlessly murder!” The moral of the story is that, like sharks, humans are just made to keep moving. Little bit by little bit, day by day, as long as you’re moving forward, you’re doing exactly what you were meant to. Human accomplishment isn’t graded on a curve, and the fact that you didn’t get as much done in your day (or in your life) as someone else doesn’t make you worse or less valuable than they are (and neither does it make you better than someone who hasn’t accomplished as much in life as you have). Again, none of this is an excuse to not challenge or push yourself to use your talents and gifts to their maximum, but it’s just a reminder that all you can do is all you can do, and that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be.
Even Dory’s sung mantra from Finding Nemo isn’t “Gotta do everything perfect and get everything done in the shortest amount of time forever and ever,” it’s the much more simple, much more apropos, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
Like I said earlier, I’m not here to blow your mind or revolutionize the way your life works, I’m just here to remind you that sharks and Dory got it right, and so can you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go attack a surfer that I thought was a seal.
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