The Dilemma in John Green’s Infinities

Robin Sharma, the author of the 5 AM Club, recommends that you build a morning routine that aligns with your health goals and caters to creative and productive space.

Tuesday morning, I woke up with a stuffy nose and a heightened sensitivity to every little thing that crossed my path (ladies, sound familiar?)

I was navigating my way to the breakfast table, through a sea of Legos and toys, when I saw my brother’s ABC chart from the corner of my eyes.

A thought occurred to me. The ABC chart isn’t very useful.

I processed how these letters came to be—the sounds, the forms, and how they came to mean something. The letters, by themselves, weren’t handy.

However, if you took two or more letters together and adjusted the distance a bit, you had something unprecedented. You had words, language, expression. Suddenly you could fish whatever thought danced in your head and give it form so that others can understand it too. If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is.

The same thing goes with numbers. Hazel Grace said it best when she was eulogizing Gus in the Literal Heart of Jesus. There’s an infinite set of numbers between 0 and 1 and an even bigger set of infinities between 0 and 2. Some infinities were simply bigger than other infinities (cue the crying).

Amid all the conundrum in my mind, I had one question. “What’s the point? If you take a finite thing and pit it against an infinity, it crumbles into nothingness.”

Our growth journey is like that too. There is no fixed destination and no signposts to tell you where to go. The journey to growth is an infinite walk. But the human being, in its current form, is a finite creature.

What’s the point of playing the infinite game? Does that make personal growth a futile endeavor?

Choosing growth is like taking up your own cause. Sure, it’s easier to take up a cause that already exists—with its own beliefs and processes. It’s easier to adopt a belief than to find out for yourself what it is that sits, immovable, in your being.

What we’ve learned all these years is that everything worthwhile is a challenge in and of itself. This is why growth is a choice and a commitment because it is precisely the nature of the challenge that invites the chance of failure. Not many people are willing to gamble with those odds. Everything worthwhile is a challenge in and of itself.

I grappled with those questions for quite some time, and I noticed that in every “What?” question, the existential “Why?” wasn’t very far behind.

There was the answer, staring me dead in the eye—the why is the point.

It’s the why that gives meaning to the what. Life, as we know it, is a finite thing. But in every finite set—the ABC chart, the numbers 1-10—there is an infinite element.

And in the things you do, the ones that truly matter, some elements become bigger than life itself. So the question begs, dear reader, why are you on this journey to personal growth?