Striving is the source of both suffering and progress

Why strive at all?

Because To be moral is to actualize your potential

I agree with the Buddha that the path to freedom from suffering is the lack of desire and striving. But I'm also doing all of these things to improve myself which seems contradictory.

For example, I am hesitant to work out for looks because I think I can only be truly satisfied with how I look by not wanting to change how I look: Being poor is not having too little, it is wanting more

But goals are worth pursuing to the extent that they help me actualize my potential. So some suffering is worth it if I am improving What matters morally

From this view, I see the difference between wanting money and wanting to be financial free, because I actually think that being financially free will improve my well-being and ability to help others and have good relationships. On the other hand I think that trying to become very wealthy will have neutral or negative impact on my well-being. (But also I could use extreme wealth to help other people, so I do think that is a valid way to help others, just not one that seems to line up with my personality.)

So am I working out to look good because I think it will actually improve my well-being, or because I am running away from an insecurity that I'll have to face at some level, regardless of how fit I end up getting? I think the first one. But I am the easiest person to fool.

I think the solution lies somewhere in You can live each moment for itself even in the context of greater progress


TLDR

Striving is the source of all of our suffering and progress, so maybe we should just stop trying so hard? But trying so hard is also what makes life meaningful and the only way you can actualize your potential. The suffering is worth it.


References:

Atomic Habits

Suffering drives progress. The source of all suffering is the desire for a change in state. This is also the source of all progress. The desire to change your state is what powers you to take action. It is wanting more that pushes humanity to seek improvements, develop new technologies, and reach for a higher level. With craving, we are dissatisfied but driven. Without craving, we are satisfied but lack ambition.

Seneca’s famous quote, “Being poor is not having too little, it is wanting more.”

Satisfaction = Liking - Wanting

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Happiness is being satisfied with what you have. Success comes from dissatisfaction. Choose.