I watched a podcast the other day which featured Dr. Frank Bicsi. Dr. Bisci is an 85 year old man who looks 65. Here’s the link if anyone is interested.
Dr. Bisci eats a completely raw diet and has preformed numerous feats of strength and endurance that make me feel like a pussy. At this point in his life you would assume that he has his mind made up regarding which style of training is best, what type of diet is best and how to optimally train his mind. You would be right. However, something that amazed me about Dr. Bisci is that he never professed to know more than the men, 30 years his junior, interviewing him. On numerous occasions he said that he was still learning every day. Here is a man who has been training his mind and body for over 60 years who says that he is still learning everyday. To me this is one of the most definite aims in my life. I want to be in a position 60 years down the line where I can say that I am still learning.
What I got thinking about was what gets and keeps us hungry for the goals that we have set for ourselves. I came up with three things.
An emphasis on learning is what keeps us on the constant look out for any tidbit of knowledge that will lead us closer to the truth. My sister always says that ‘hunger is the best sauce’ and while this is true of food it is also true of knowledge. The hunger and ambition that we have towards learning will make our world a much more appetizing place to be. Hunger is not alway a comfortable feeling. It makes us restless and agitated. Hunger can kill you if you do not eat the right things. Hunger will spur you to action. Hunger keeps you up at night. Hunger is our main motivation as humans. Hunger gets things done. But if you don’t eat you get weak and you die. So what most people do is they fill their heads with garbage. They watch meaningless TV shows and sporting events, they constantly text, they scroll through facebook and check their email for the 10th time in one day. And by ‘they’ I mean ‘me’.
Billy Madison. A lifelong learner.
Your body wants more than junk food. It wants meat, it wants to chase something and rip it’s throat out. Your hunger can be satited by learning more about yourself, others and the world that you live in. Actively seek knowledge and your hunger will be satisfied.
Bill Watterson said that “Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery – it recharges by running.”
In the same way our hunger for life, our hunger for love, our hunger for experience is not rejuvenated by sitting around and waiting. It is rejuvenated by producing. Production can entail many things. It can be writing a blog post or a journal, it can be knitting a scarf or making a canoe paddle, it could be sketching a self portrait or making a video. What usually happens when we produce something is that we feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Producing something gives us a small goal to set and a small problem to overcome. It in effect shows us how to confront bigger challenges in our lives.
Producing something and using our creativity also gives us a sense that we can create something better or create the same thing with greater efficiency. We begin to push the boundaries on what we are capable of doing. Our skills develop and we become better at our chosen field of production, this keeps us hungry.
Good food and good stimulation will satisfy your hunger for a time, but they only prove to make you stronger and your hunger stronger as a result. There is no end, you never know where your next meal is going to come from and as a result your hunger always grows and never goes away. And nor do you want it to go away.
The uncertainty of life is what makes it worthwhile. If we knew every outcome for our lives there would be no drive to live. Despite the fact that most people desire stability and comfort these are not the things that truly make life worth living. Excitement, joy, adventure, surprise and wonder are all things that we would love to experience in abundance, but if we try to control our lives and remove any uncertainty than all those wonderful experiences disappear.
Allan Watt’s once said: “You cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run.”
If you don’t know what you should be hungry for I would suggest that you spend time with yourself. Spend time creating. Spend time exercising whether that means lifting heavy things or walking. Spend time eating good whole foods. Spend time on the friendships that are important to you. Spend time doing the things that really matter. If you don’t know what those things are than start with the basics. Decide what your values are. Honesty? Loyalty? Strength? Community? Commitment? Passion? What are the things that you want to base your life on? Create a solid foundation upon which you can chase your hunger.
Spend time on the things that matter. Get good at something. Be hungry.