Why we find things after we stop looking for them

On worrying less

Have you ever noticed that we only seem to find the things we’re looking for after we stop looking for them?

The reality has surfaced countless times in my life. From things as minuscule as cases of lost car keys and sunglasses to life altering things like jobs and money and friends and my wife.

If I actually pause and think about it, the truth is I spend the vast majority of my life, energy, time, looking for things. Things I (think I) want. Things I (think I) need. Freedom (I think) I deserve. Yet I never actually achieve or gain any of the things that I want in the midst of me actually wanting them — in the midst of the panic, straining, pressing, forcing, grasping.

It’s only in the letting go of the desire, resigning from the pursuit, that those things we long for so desperately softly, gracefully, effortlessly seem to ease into our lives like feathers falling softly onto our pillows while we sleep.

It’s as though our reaching invokes an inverse magnetic field between us and the things we want. As the more we reach the more the things our hearts desire seem to be pushed further and further away.

The inverse seems to be true as well: letting go of the things we want seems to mysteriously invite them to draw near.

Why is that?

I think it’s because we are creatures of habit. Habits formed by desires and passions that are hard wired into the very core of who we are.

If this is true, then we really only lose things (like car keys) during the normal course of our daily lives. Not in the nooks and crannies or boxes stuffed in closets or the guest bedroom we haven’t stepped in in weeks.

Those places lie way outside our natural flow. Yet those obscure, remote, unnatural, places are the exact places we spend most of our time looking for things we’ve lost or the things we desire most.

I’m starting to think that in the same way as the things we lose lay somewhere within our natural patterns, the things we hope to gain do so as well.

So if all of this is true, then maybe we should worry less about about finding the things we’ve lost, thirst less for the things we hope to gain, and trust that all of it rests peacefully and patiently and unpredictably along the path of a life lived fully in the present and full of the things we were designed to enjoy the most.

🤝 Stay in touch

I send an email several times a year with a handful of the most interesting things I’ve written or uncovered at home, abroad, and on the web.

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