Nor is it, finding an answer. I begin writing by asking myself, what am I trying to say? Who am I saying it to? What’s the question they have? I do this in order to have a path to follow that’s useful for someone else to go down. Even if it’s a path to the wrong destination, it’s better than wandering aimlessly. We want the right path but the destination isn’t always what we thought it would be.
The problem with following someone elses path
I read reviews before going anywhere. Going to get coffee? Online reviews trump the rated experiences of my friends 9.5 times out of 10. I’ve justified this approach as being logical but it has limitations.
Not everyone leaves a review. Only those who are in a habit of leaving a review. This is unless it’s strongly biased towards hate or love. Do you ever feel compelled to tell everyone how average a meal was? You’ll shout from the rooftop though if it’s the worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth. Even as someone who uses reviews, I never write them. Reading the review alone is colouring your perception from the get go.
We never know why someone truly enjoyed an experience. Was it because someone they liked told them it was good and this coloured their experience? So much of our lived experience is as a result of these deep psychological habits we’ve developed. Even who we’re with or our mood at the time.
Choosing a restaurant based on reviews will give you the illusion of the right destination, but you don’t know this for sure until you arrive.
Non specific questioning
We can drift through life never reading or writing reviews. Simply by falling into places not recommended by anyone, even ourselves. If I don’t have a specific question in mind then I’ll never find a specific answer. If I don’t know which type of cuisine I want for dinner, it will be much harder finding the right restaurant.
This is what we mean when we talk about living with a purpose. For some it’s their job, their child, a hobby, or travel. That’s their purpose. When we don’t pause to ask what is it we really want, we end up in dead end jobs and unfulfilled relationships. Think of when you really wanted Mexican food, the taste of those salty Margaritas and being overloaded with tacos, you felt satiated! Versus that time you didn’t know what you wanted, walked aimlessly along a stretch of packed restaurants, with your frustrated friends, ending up getting poorly cooked pub food.
The answer to any of these questions is specific to you. That’s why it’s impossible to have a universal answer to how much money is enough, how many bedrooms do I need in a house or what is the best movie of all time? We are all unique and strange. Really strange.
The simple truth of life is that there is no single route to “happiness.” Cheesy quotes from James Dean saying “Dream as if you’ll live together, live as if you’ll die today” only add to the noise and allow us to make poor decisions. We know this but we need to be reminded. Sometimes when we’re hungry, any food will do but rarely does this satisfy.
If you’re looking for answers, then you need to start asking questions. If you’re looking for better answers, then you need to start asking better questions.