⏲Today's Read: 5 Minutes
Hello, friends. It's been a while since my last post, and I must admit, the whirlwind of life events, from holiday getaways to attending weddings, held me captive. But, it feels wonderful to get back to my weekly rants.
Just this morning, my partner and I ran a half-marathon, and it led me to reflect on why we gravitate towards such demanding pursuits. Is it the discipline of preparation? The anticipation of the event? The thrill of competition? Or simply the chase of that victorious moment? Perhaps, it’s an amalgamation of all.
Enduring challenges has a refining effect on both our physical and mental capacities. It refines our resilience in adverse circumstances and heightens our gratitude for smoother days. Embedded within us is an intrinsic desire to exceed our present realities, to push the boundaries of what we can achieve.
This isn't in the physical realm, but pushing our own intellectual boundaries for what we hold to be true, and contributing to the world our greatest potential. But what if we choose stagnation? What if we comfortably stay within our boundaries, never daring to stretch? In the realm of biology, organisms that remain passive amidst a constantly evolving environment often enter stasis—a state that eventually leads to their downfall due to their inability to adapt. While humans might not face immediate extinction, a stagnant personal growth often pushes them to become overly dependent on societal safety nets.
Drawing a parallel at a broader, macroeconomic level, consider a wealthy nation. When one generation amasses wealth and the subsequent ones merely inherit it without contributing to its growth, societal vigor diminishes. People no longer feel the urgency to innovate, to compete, to push boundaries. Such complacency echoes the narratives of once-great empires that eventually crumbled.
The Spanish Empire
Spain, during its golden era of the 15th and 16th centuries, stood as a global titan. The voyages initiated by the likes of Christopher Columbus, under the patronage of monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, enabled Spain to annex immense territories, especially in today's Latin America. This territorial dominance translated into unparalleled economic prosperity, notably from rich silver reserves in regions like Potosí.
Yet, rather than channeling this wealth into progressive sectors, Spain became its victim. The constant silver influx inflated their economy, diminishing their competitive edge in European markets. Additionally, where neighboring nations like Italy and England were experiencing cultural and scientific renaissances, Spain's cultural pulse waned. This cultural and economic complacency, coupled with religious rigidity exemplified by the Spanish Inquisition, left Spain isolated, both intellectually and economically.
Spain's vast territories became increasingly challenging to govern from its central seat, leading to colonial discontent. As decades rolled on, other European powers sensed Spain's inherent weaknesses and began to overshadow its global prominence.
By the dawn of the 18th century, Spain's once illustrious global presence had eroded substantially, a testimony to the dangers of taking success for granted.
Such historical precedents underscore the significance of relentless pursuit, of constantly challenging ourselves. Societies must actively harness their wealth, investing in sustainable sectors, championing scientific and cultural advancements, and maintaining an open dialogue with global trends. In our dynamic world, challenges act as catalysts, ensuring societies remain agile, adaptive, and robust, enabling them to face adversities with resilience.
Do Hard Things
It's easy to dismiss Spain's tale as a past era's narrative. Yet, its undertones of cultural rigidity, economic inflation, and insularity resonate even today. My takeaway from this is straightforward yet profound: relentlessly challenge yourself, both mentally and physically. Our future hinges on this ethos.
Do hard things. Because it's hard.