Feb 3, 2012
It Doesn’t Get Better, You Have to Make it Better
Commiserating with a friend about jobs a few years back, it turned out that while we both expressed dissatisfaction with our then current situations, we were also pessimistic about finding attractive alternatives. [Ironic aside: Neither one of us is at the job we had then. For my part, the gigs I’ve done since have been, in many ways, better. – Matt]
This struck me as ridiculous and I said, “You have to tell yourself, ‘It is not possible that this is the best possible job for me. In fact, that idea is absurd. There has to be something better’.”
To this day I believe these words to be true. There is always a better situation that could be happening. And, frankly, this better situation will sometimes come to pass of itself; as if by magic or a miracle, things will “get better.”
But most of the time, you actually have to make things better. You have to do something different, something new, something better.
Are you in the best possible situation right now? The best possible relationship? The best possible house? The best possible job?
The answer, by definition, has to be, “No.” Even the best situation is, like everything else, at the mercy of entropic flux and subject to perpetual change. In other words, even the best situation could be better (free from the gnawing worm of transience, for example).
You can always make your situation better. This I accept, at least, as an article of faith.
That being said, there is no imperative that dictates, “You have to make it better.”
Perhaps, while not the best, your current situation is good enough and, frankly, you realize that wherever you are, you stand astride the threshold which separates “It could be better,” from, “It could be worse.” It’s up to you to choose the side from which you can draw the greatest inspiration or consolation.
If you want to make things better, work to make things better.
To be the best is naturally grand, and recognizing best-ness, acknowledging and admiring it, is commendable.
But make not of the best, or even the better, an idol. And do not, in your idolatry, become as a hungry ghost.
Remember: It could be worse.