I wrote this week about this annoying tension between contentment and ambition, mindfulness and achievement and I think I may be getting somewhere.
First.. from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that humans would be driven by two primal motivations: reproduction and sustenance of our offspring (and by extension, society,and that means we are all motivated by compassion and love).
It does not make sense that sitting around doing nothing, content to just watch the eddies flow by in the stream would bring fulfillment. Sorry Lao Tzu.
Of course, zebras don't get ulcers, and that's because they don't worry about things that are not immediate threats. But that's because zebras don't have much for a cerebral cortex. And that's where the tension comes from: Zebras can't even imagine that lion-that's-not-there-yet. So the trick is how to be a zebra with a massive cerebral cortex.
So let's make an amalgam of all this:
Enjoy the present,
be content with what you've got,
enjoy the people in your life,
don't worry about the future,
but imagine a better one,
prepare for it,
and create it.
And when it doesn't happen the way you planned, chill. Enjoy whatever did happen. Then plan "Plan B." And enjoy the planning, and anticipation, and preparation, and thrill as you attempt it...
And always, enjoy the people you're with the whole time, because that's actually the biggest part of it all--that's what makes it most enjoyable (see previous explanation of evolutionary perspective).
Be the river that flows over rock, boulder and stone, but flow uphill (and the hill is about people).