No One Is Looking
To a certain extent, we all want what’s best in the external world. We all want status and fame and promotions to a certain extent. We all want more money. We all want the material goods that society deems will give us everlasting happiness and peace and fulfillment. We want to be seen. We want to be heard.
And often, our actions dictate how we feel. We feel like we need to do what society deems to be correct and proper. We feel that we need to act a certain way or talk a certain way. Because those actions are rewarded by the community.
Sometimes, we pursue things that we believe to be successful in the eyes of the many. For me, that was engineering. It was something that my parents kind of thrust upon me when I was in high school trying to decide what to pursue in college.
Being an engineer was supposed to be fulfilling. It was supposed to earn me relatively good money when I came out of college. It was supposed to be this challenge that I was up to the task for. So, without questioning my parents, I blindly accepted engineering as my path and went forth with it.
Let’s just say that it didn’t exactly pan out the way I had hoped during my years at Cornell. I began to realize that engineering wasn’t as easy as I thought it out to be in the offset. It wasn’t that fulfilling for me neither. And I struggled mightily learning all the supposedly mundane concepts taught in the Engineering School. I felt exhausted simply thinking about the topics.
After years and years toiling in this realm, I eventually realized that engineering was not for me. It was not what I was meant to do in my life. Maybe it fits someone else’s path. It simply did not fit mine.
So, what does? What is something that I can say truly fits my description as something that I like to do and something that I want to do? Well, the most direct way to figure that out is to just throw darts at the proverbial dartboard and see what sticks. See what you’re good at. See what moves you. And stick with that.
For me, I really liked to journal. Over the past couple of years, I have an electronic journal that I write in on a daily basis. It’s something that is relatively therapeutic and fun for me to do. And it’s not something that I would describe as traditional “work”. It is something that I enjoy, and I do it for the simple sake of doing it. And for no other external reason.
I also get complimented here and there by my colleagues about my email writing skills. I realize that writing has been one of my many strengths for the last couple of years. And it’s something that I enjoy doing in the background. It’s something that I like to do rain or shine. Whether no one is looking. Or whether all the eyeballs on me. It doesn’t matter. It’s something that I do for the sake of doing.
This blog obviously doesn’t get that many views. But I’ve still made it a case to upload one entry per week for the past several years. I’m not really doing it for the eyeballs. I’m doing it simply for the sake of doing it. There is no specific reason that I can put into words for why I write what I write. I just want to write for the sake of it. Isn’t that enough?
I think the fact that I try to write regardless of who is watching me speaks volumes. It shows that I have a certain relative passion in this area. It shows that I enjoy doing it regardless of whether I receive praise or critique. It shows that perhaps I have a talent in this field as well.
For me, I am blessed with many things that I enjoy doing while no one is watching. And I think that we all have those aspects within ourselves as well. Try to find out what it is that you enjoy doing when no one is watching. When it’s not making you millions of dollars. When it’s not providing you with unfiltered praise or exceptional status. Find out what it is that makes you tick.
And I guess it can be appropriate to say that whatever that is can be your “passion”. Your “purpose” if there ever is one. So, figure it out. For me, those things include writing, music, art, public speaking, and business. Those are some things that I like to do or think about regardless of how much money I make. Regardless of how much status or praise I accumulate. Those are some things that I simply enjoy for the sake of it.
So, to all of you, find out what it is that you enjoy doing on your own time. What is it that moves you? What is it that you do for the sake of doing? With no other validating reasons? Figure that out. Time is on your side. Try a little bit every day. Take a risk here or there. Throw some darts at the dartboard. And see where your passion and purpose may lie.
Because there are so many beautiful things in this world that we can invest ourselves in. Causes to fight for. Goals to aim for. Whether it be climate change, gun control, mental health, public speaking, politics, cooking, music, or any of that other good stuff. The world is your oyster. Invest in what you believe in. And do it just because.