Distance and Expectations

While reading Essays from Ralph Waldo Emerson I stumbled upon an interesting quote:

“Things are always more beautiful at a distance. The mountain a far is more beautiful than the one near.”

Emerson used this line in his discussion about nature. When I thought it about more this quote is a great life analogy. This simple concept reveals an important insight about human nature. Getting too close to something ruins the beauty of the thing. Our imagination idealizes what we covet which skyrockets our expectations out of control. Humans are intuitively aware of this. We express it in sayings/clichés like:

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”

“Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.”

Present day Minimalism gains momentum as our heavily consumerist world begins to gain sobriety from our expectations about “things”. This idea transcends our feelings about ownership of personal possessions. Have you ever had a crush on someone, but once you got to know them found them repulsive? Ever dream of traveling and when you arrive it’s not quite what was expected? See an amazing movie trailer only to sit through a subpar film?

Everyone can relate to similar or equivalent experiences. My goal is not to convince people away from their desires. Wanting more out of life allows us to aim higher. It is the first step of growth. We can be smarter about our wants and chase the things that will truly fulfill us.

The mountain a far is beautiful, but nothing beats the view from the top of the mountain. – Barry


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