Yearn for problems . . .

David Soler

. because they will make your life easier. Excuse me? “I thought the idea about living well was to avoid problems instead.” Well, wrong again! I’m going to show you that there are two ways to screw up in life. One is to get into too many problems, and the other is . to not have any at all.

Take the recent case of Paloma Tarrio, the chief manager of Mercasantander, a company in Spain. She had the perfect life: happily married to a handsome man, with two smart children, surrounded by high-class friends, owning a posh holiday residency and a yacht to sail the Cantabric Sea — until one day she answered an e-mail about Internet gambling. What happened next? A perfect life plus no problems equaled five years later, being charged with embezzling one million euros from the company she worked for. Now her properties are embargoed, her family life destroyed. The culprit? Gambling, the never-ending challenger. Don’t worry about the particular form of addiction; it’s just circumstantial. The underlying message is far more disturbing.

The case might sound too implausible at first; how could someone with everything get entangled in this dangerous web of chance? Maybe we are designed to not have it all. Our constant eagerness for more may have a raison d’ˆtre. Admit it: if it’s not those fancy earrings, it’s that car or that house or those better grades. But there’s nothing wrong about that. Otherwise, man would still hunt to survive. Our nature makes us ask for challenges constantly, even if subconsciously we don’t perceive them as such.

Usually, our bland jobs and incomplete domestic lives tend to take care of them. To some people, like Tarrio, life turns out to be too easy. Then their minds try to take care of that deficiency; call it gambling, call it alcoholism. Basically, what these people will do is to create what they are lacking: some sort of unsolvable problem to keep them busy. The underlying message from Tarrio’s case: What if the human brain needs a constant set of problems to deal with and, in their absence, either everything loses intrinsic sense or we fall prey to the unattainable?

That’s why you should feel happy when you can’t afford those earrings or that car. Appreciate the healing value of getting bad grades, because they will give you a reason to better yourself. Maybe focusing on those little solvable troubles will avoid you falling prey to the unsolvable ones that stalked Tarrio in the long run. You might hate them, but after all, yearning for problems has the potential to make your life healthier and safer.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].