The greatest fools pine for what they have lost, crave what they do not have and fail to love what they have . . . while they have it. We are all great in this way; each of us has played the fool.
It is part of our nature. In many ways, it is a product of human evolution. Our brains remember the past vividly though not always accurately. Our memories are coloured by our emotions, and how we think of the past influences our capacity for happiness in the present.
Our human brains are also discriminating. We can tell if something is out of place or not quite right. This was essential when we lived in the wilderness and needed to distinguish the animals we were hunting from those that were hunting us.
But our discriminating minds can add to our unhappiness when we see that our cup is half full, cracked, dirty or leaking. If we look around, we realize that everything and everyone – including us – are imperfect, and this can feed dissatisfaction and negativity.
Another human quality is the drive to achieve. For some, it is the pursuit of new experiences or the acquisition of material things. For others, it is a pursuit of knowledge or self-improvement. Many seek money, power or recognition.
Next: My overachieving family.