You ever see a nap needing, hungry 4 year old? As they tear the baseboards from the living room and watch the world burn, they have no idea what they want. They just know they’re miserable. How did so many of us find ourselves in the adult edition gold fish snack deprived state of despair? How’d we get so depressed, so anxious, so triggered? We’re angry, sad, bored and looking for someone to blame. Someone we can pin it on so our misery can at least make sense. Maybe we’re reading the play all wrong. The characters are confusing and the plot makes no sense. Between our aunts’ facebook posts’ of Jesus wearing an American flag robe shaking hands with Donald Trump, and our old history teacher demanding to disband the police force, things are murky at best. Maybe the origin and author of our pain is much more familiar than super rich conspiracy theories and secret agendas of cashless societies. What if the person responsible for all your misery was…. Are you ready? YOU. There’s a guy named Mike Mchargue. He’s largely responsible for many of the algorithms that spit out the underwear ad on your instafeed when you thought about buying new underwear in the shower one time. He notes we all construct our reality by creating a villain and a hero for the story we’re in. If you know who the bad guy is, your seemingly senseless pain and discomfort can be credited to one source. It makes our world make sense. “It’s the liberals making everybody soft.” “It’s the racists republicans oppressing us.” “My dad left” “I’m poor”. It feels better to have a reason why you feel bad. Nothing’s worse than feeling bad and knowing it’s your fault. Where’s the fun in that? The free pass understood excuse? The built in sympathy for all our short comings? Micah Fink runs an organization that helps veterans returning from combat get their life back. His program is based around the idea of the essential need to struggle. In other words, the only way out of the last challenge is the next. In the midst of great and terrible struggle we enter what Fink calls “original thought.” A truth about ourselves that no one else can tell us, or interpret. Struggle makes our story true. Struggle makes our story worth living. The hardest truth pill there is to swallow is the one about yourself. This isn’t to discredited the terrible things that happen to some of us. Yes abuse happens, parents hurt their children, sickness attacks our bodies. Some are born poor, some are born rich. Some have dads, some don’t. But if that’s the end of the plot, the story’s a tragedy. I’ve worked with athletes that come from unspeakable tragedy, violence and abuse and there’s one common route that brings them out. They want something. What do you want now? To want is to hope. To hope is to have purpose. Indifference is death. Our pain is not the product of a system. It’s the lack of want. We sit in depressed, anxiety stricken states scrolling an endless narrative about how wronged we’ve all been done until it’s downloaded in our hearts. The fictional story of our misery becomes our default setting. Want to feel good again? Find what you want. It’s harder than you think. Harder than deciding to eat at Chile’s or Apple Bee’s with your spouse. How do you find it? Put yourself in challenge. Open the business. Go on the trip. Go for a run. If how it makes you feel is worth the struggle, in other words, the juice is worth the squeeze, you’ve discovered want. You’ve discovered hope. When you have it, it doesn’t matter what’s happened before. The previous pain isn’t as valuable as the potential for happiness. You know what you want, what you have to do to get there. You know who you’ll be while you’re struggling for it. And that knowledge is priceless.