Human beings are largely engaged in wasting enormous amounts of psychic energy in attempting to do things that are quite impossible. You know, as the proverb says, you can’t lift yourself up by your own bootstraps, but recently, I’ve heard a lot of references in just general reading and listening, of people saying, “We’ve got to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps!” And you can’t! And you can struggle and tug and pull until you’re blue in the face and nothing happens except that you’ve exhausted yourself. All sensible people, therefore, begin in life with two fundamental presuppositions: You are not going to improve the world, and you are not going to improve yourself. You are just what you are. Once you have accepted that situation, you have an enormous amount of energy available to do things that can be done. And everybody else looking at you from an external point of view will say, “My God, how much so-and-so has improved!
— Alan Watts