In Greek mythology exists the story of Tantalus, who was the son of Zeus. According to the myth, Tantalus was welcomed at the table of deities in Olympus, but he decided to steal some ambrosia and nectar to bring back to his people to make them immortal and reveal the divine secrets. He was later caught and punished for eternity.
He was made to stand in a pool of water right under the branches of a fruit tree, but when he would try to reach for a fruit, the branches would go higher, and when he tried to drink a sip of water, the pool of water would recede.
The ancient Greeks represented the human condition perfectly with this story, because we are constantly reaching for something, more money, more experiences, knowledge, status, and power.
The curse is not that Tantalus spends all of eternity reaching for things out of reach, but rather it is his obliviousness to the fact that he doesn’t need those things in the first place. We don’t really need to check our email right this second, or to see the latest news trends, do we?
In many cases, we find distractions that serve as a momentary escape from reality. Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher said “By pleasure, we mean the absence of pain in the body and the trouble in the soul.” The drive to relief discomfort through distraction is the root cause of any negative habits we may have in our life. Once we recognize the distraction, then we must learn to accept the negative emotion that is perpetuating the cycle.
This post was inspired by Nir Eyal’s most recent book, Indistractable
). I found it to be a fantastic read that covers many of the most modern psychological theories on addiction, distractions, motivation and the self.
🍺 to a great week ahead!
P.S.-My book, From Foster Care to Millionaire is available on Audible here! I have a few more promo codes to give away, so I’m giving them away to the first 10 people who fill out this form here!