Is there a better way?

Seek not, and ye shalln’t find. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

I have a Post-It Note fixed to my desk, next to my keyboard. On it are written the words “IS THERE A BETTER WAY?”

I realize how this must look—like I’m at my rope’s end.

But I’m not saying “there’s got to be a better way.” There doesn’t. Everything in my world might be as good as it could ever be, and if that’s so I’m fine with it.

My life is good, after all.

Asking “is there a better way?” is not about hating how things are, or wishing they were better. It’s about cultivating an inquisitive, active mind.

A mind that is alert to the better way to open doors, to take notes, to eat food, to keep up with friends, to learn, to do laundry, to write a book, to build relationships, to find joy, to make a home, to be idle.

I’ve become an enthusiast of simplicity. Often, the better way is a more simple way. If I can do something in three steps and five minutes that yesterday took me five steps and fifteen, I’d say that’s a better way.

What I’m describing is the cultivation of an active mental discipline. Everything in our world works against it: gravity, habit, human laziness, fear, vested political interests, tradition, experts.

We probably will never find something we haven’t decided to look for. Seek, and ye shall find; don’t seek, and ye shalln’t.

Is donating the bulk of your material possessions to charity a better way? Or dropping out of school? Maybe it’s making less money and having more joy, or stopping everything you’re doing right now, to instead relax and take stock of your blessings.

I don’t know, and maybe neither do you. And the reason is probably because we’ve never decided we want to know.

What we do know are the things we never even asked to know—the conventional ways of thinking and doing:

– Follow the rules
– Go to school
– Get a job
– Work
– Retire
– Die

Is there a better way? The question doesn’t seem quite so weird when you consider the alternatives.

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