Have you ever thought about what makes people happy, or specifically why some people have it all but are unhappy? Why some celebrities are dead-beat addicts and look severely unhappy, but they have everything so many people are striving for?
Or have you ever looked at your life and how well you're doing and wonder "why isn't success happening faster?" Why does it take so much time to accomplish things?
I think about this stuff all the time, and when I really reflect on the speed of success and the enjoyment of the process I usually come to the conclusion that... all is well. Here is one of the reasons why:
One night while I was taking a bath I started to think about what makes a good bath. For me, a great bath isn't about having a piping hot, filled up, everything perfect type situation and I just hop in. I've done that before and I get in with tons of enjoyment only to find myself getting out moments later because the itch has been scratched too perfectly. Now what? is usually the feeling.
For me the best bath is when it's cold outside, or I'm cold to the core. It sounds good to get in and warm up. Usually I'm so excited to warm up I just hop in when there is about an inch of luke warm water. For me this is the start of a great bath, I don't have much, I'm hungry for more and I'm getting it slowly but surely. I should mention too that we have an instant water heater so I can't just full blast fill up my tub with piping hot water, it actually fills at about half speed, but that's ok for the perfect bath. Anyway..
As the bath fills up I'm getting warm. I'm scooting up next to the spout and enjoying all the hot water I can get. I'm satisfied, wanting more, and getting more. This process makes for a long great bath. Once the tub starts to fill up and I get warm I'll shut off the water. I made it, everything is good. I usually lie back and listen to an audio book, or read a book. This is the success stage when it's time to soak up the enjoyment.
The next step of this great bath is when the bath gets cold and things could use some changing. So I fire up the hot water and it begins to flow into the cooler tub water. It's so soothing to get that new shot of warmth. That feeling of wanting and getting just enough is very much an ideal state for me, which I'll explain later. I can repeat this process of filling, cooling, and rewarming over and over and over until I'm satisfied and ready to get out. Usually an hour. That's a great bath to me!
Ok here's where the bathtub philosophy comes in. What if your life paralleled a bath? What if getting in with "nothing" and being "cold and wanting" was the state you arrived to your life. Which most of us did. Meaning stuff wasn't given to you, but you wanted it, and you saw a way to get it. For me this was success in career. I was hungry, I wanted it, I hopped in and the results came kinda slow, but who cared? I was on the right track and it was working. I worked away and the RESULTS or HOT WATER kept flowing in an warming my soul. This was a great way to live, just enough, not too much. Lot's of wanting and getting.
Now what if I would have had the "perfect hot bath" right when I got in? Like some people who are given everything just perfect right off the bat? It would have been nice, for a while, but then what? What's left to want? What will keep me in the proverbial bath? What's the point? This life is not for me, and it would have ruined me I'm sure.
Ok so I'm in the "life bath" and I'm getting warm feel-good water (success). It's not too much but just enough. Isn't this a great life? Always wanting always getting, not too much to cause me to quit. This is the state I need to be in to achieve.
Now sometimes the bath does get full and warm enough, this is the success milestones that we all reach. They are nice and we should enjoy them, but there will always come a time when we are no longer satisfied. You could look at this and say "learn to be satisfied" but I don't agree anymore. Wanting is nice, and it drives desire and success. I never sit in a bath telling myself not to want it warmer, I just enjoy it, and when it's too cold I go for more warm water again. I've never felt guilt and it makes for a great bath. That's my bathtub philosophy, why couldn't it apply to life?
This way of looking at life has helped me relax and be ok with wanting more, understanding success, and understanding the speed of accomplishment. All success comes in due time if I keep working at it, and it's at a pace to keep me satisfied for a long enjoyable life. Sometimes I will enjoy, sometimes I will want, but it's a nice process for a long meaningful life. Good enough for me.