Our brains are designed to worry, and they’re good at it.
They’re built to determine the next big thing to “fix.” This is a great thing. It is because of this cognitive feature that we have evolved the way we have. We developed every major industry (agriculture, medicine, religion) out of some kind of fear. Death, disorder, starvation, meaninglessness. The part of the brain that controls rumination also controls creativity. There is no coincidence in this.
So if you feel like you can’t stop worrying, can’t stop creating problems for yourself, shift your anxiety from one corner of your life to the next, can’t just sit back and enjoy and be grateful and happy, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you. There is only something wrong with your understanding of the human brain and happiness.
We weren’t built to be “happy” in the way that we think of happiness — carefree, grateful, excited.
We were born to survive, which is to create.
Suffering dissolves when we focus on creating rather than feeling. Instead of being at the whim of how the world makes us feel, we focus on how we can create what we want from what exists.
Good and bad become irrelevant when the focus isn’t “what can I enjoy” but “what can I create?”
Obstacles become opportunities. Life becomes an incredible journey.
Everything is creative. You are creating cells and thoughts as you read this. You are creating Co2 as you exhale. Every time you spend time with someone you love, you are creating your relationship. Every time you work, you are creating money, you are creating skill. You are always creating.
Suffering is what happens when you stop creating. Rather than devise the next step for your life, you ruminate on the last one. Rather than imagine previously inconceivable opportunities, you assume nothing better is possible. Rather than taking control of your life, you assume an attitude of powerlessness. You become helpless. Your suffering, meaningless.
When our focus is on creating, pain becomes an integral part of the process. It’s “worth it.” We’re no longer dividing our emotional experiences between “things that feel good to the senses,” and “things that don’t.” We’re diving it into “things that are worthwhile” and “things that aren’t.” We’re being discerning about discomfort. We’re evolving and growing. We’re expanding our capacity to cope, think, love, be.
Creativity is not exclusive to the arts, as we tend to think of it. Everything is creative. Every last second and part of your life. Creativity is not necessarily a burst of emotional passion, it can be a habituated choice.
In that choice, there is a different kind of happiness, one that is not passive, but active. Instead of trying to reap the benefits and joy out of the world other people have created, we embark on our true mission, which is to create ourselves in the world. That is how we leave a lasting impression. That is how we find real, deep, sustainable happiness — in creating what is inside of us on the outside.
Originally published at medium.com