When focusing exclusively on a challenging problem or an emotional difficulty in any area of our lives we tend to become obsessive and stubborn. We are determined to win through to a solution or outcome that resolves our discomfort, accedes to our requirements, relents to our objections, and mollifies our concerns. We sometimes succeed, it’s true, through a combination of determination, persuasion, or outrage. We are apt to feel like we have learned – or more accurately, proved – something to the world and to ourselves about our ability to meet life’s challenges. Our response is often one of smug self-satisfaction or grovelling gratitude, all for the relatively ordinary achievement of being able to get through life without obviously going crazy.
I would contend that this demonstrates a curiously disturbed and unnecessarily combative approach to life. It is one that will be lived in general dissatisfaction and oversensitivity, and in fear of the next unknown challenge. What is extraordinary is that so many of us do in fact live life, and think of our lives, in this way.