Sisyphus was the founder of Corinth, who like most ancient Greek mythological characters, had a mischievous and deceitful side of him. He killed guests and travellers to his palace in order to consolidate his supreme power. This angered Zeus who attempted to punish him but Sisyphus outsmarted the God twice. As a punishment for his trickery, the God Hades made Sisyphus roll a huge boulder endlessly up a steep hill. When he reached the top, it would roll back down and he would do it all over again. For eternity.
The lesson: Be good and face no punishment in the afterlife. Sound like any religions you know?
According to Albert Camus, the myth of Sisyphus and his endless pushing of the ball up a hill, is just a metaphor for life. Camus believed that our existence is a struggle between finding meaning in your life and the 'unreasonable silence' that the universe provides to answer the quest for meaning.
The daily grind.
We've all experienced it as adults. Feeling like you're stuck on the hamster wheel of life. You start your Monday's looking forward to Friday at 5. The day's are long and the weeks are fast as the saying goes.
Camus - who lived in France during Nazi occupation - said that this way of existing in the world is wrong. Seeking meaning and pleasure during your free time while subjecting yourself to the powers that be during work will lead you to live like the lesson of the Sisyphus myth - be good and face no punishment.
Instead, look at the job of pushing a ball up a hill endlessly as the most rewarding part of the struggle to live a good life. When you reach the top of the hill and accomplish your goal it's not over. Ever. You begin again with a new goal.
Many people may just find it much easier to tow the line and avoid the headaches of reaching beyond their capacity for more. As you get older, you realize that accomplishing those life goals like writing a book or running a marathon required a lot less effort and bit more commitment than you realized.
Embrace the process of pushing the ball up the hill. Sure, you could stop and look how much further you need to go, but it will only make you feel small and weak. The hill will never get flatter.
If you focus on every moment of the struggle, you will be able to find love and goodness and the power of the universe in a moment of writer's block or a traffic jam or a cold, damp and dark 10k run.