What drives us?
What’s the mechanism that makes us choose a path? That decision which makes us unique?
Do we wake up asleep and let all that happens around us be a quirk of fate, or do we take ownership over our lives?
Why do we do the things we do? What makes us want the things we want?
I’m not expecting an answer to those questions, and it doesn’t detract from the value of asking them.
This year has been one of chaos. In the wider world, uncertainty reigns supreme in the wake of terrible and confusing events.
So, considering it is drawing to a close, it is worth reflecting on what matters to us as individuals, before casting off into different directions. Our politics, our ability to discuss the world around us seems so poisonous. Perhaps examining what motivates us as people on a personal level can offset that.
It’s a worthwhile exploration to have. Maybe it can make us more grounded in the long run. Maybe it can make us understand what not only gives us short term gratification, but long term satisfaction in our hearts. Maybe it can allow us to view each other in a better light.
In our lives, we have the option and opportunity, within reason, to explore the world and the place around us. We also have the chance to meet and interact with all the people we desire.
Deep down, when we grow up, and get put through school, grab our first jobs, do we really know where we are going? What we are doing? I often imagine we do what is expected of us, both by our immediate peers and family, and by society at large. Often we have to do what is necessary to get by. Once we do, that’s when we can set out our personal ambitions.
But what if at that point its too late? What if, those expectations push you down a road you no longer can see any escape from?
That thought, right there, is a fallacy. One born out of a seemingly endless cycle which becomes self fulfilling. I know it well, I was there not too long ago. That sensation that nothing is changing and, worse, you see no means of escaping it.
But it is a lie, because you can always change things. To do so, you need to ask those questions I mentioned at the start.
Because once you ask them, they are stuck in your mind, reverberating around and demanding some response on your part. I wouldn’t recommend reacting like I did (selling what little you have and bolting it to the other side of the planet is a dramatic step to say the least.)
But its worth the pain. Sometimes in life, you need to examine where you are, and wonder out loud to yourself on what matters.
Examine the people in the world around you sometime. Because what motivates us is important to figuring out who we really are, and how we may end up treating the world and our friends around us.
Does the man in pursuit of power demand it because he feels he can improve the world or because he craves it, like an addict in search of a needle? Does the woman in pursuit of money do so for her and her loved ones or for some expectation from society that it matters to have it? Do we seek love because it is demanded of us by everyone else or is it a gap in everyone’s soul that seeks a counterpart?
Do we really, really think on why we stumble through each day? Is it in pursuit of a greater life we imagine on the other side of some unknown horizon?
Or perhaps we can make another mistake in pursuit of our motivations.
Perhaps we overthink it all, and life could actually be rather simple.
For all the philosophy and discussion on the nature of life and what it means, for each of us on a personal level, it can be as simple as having a good one that matters to you.
Also, there’s a very simple rule:
Don’t be a dick.
Amazing that even then not everyone follows it, but I digress.
Life can be a difficult bastard to try to figure out. You have society and expectations all around you, you have wealth gaps and inequality and troubles and wars and shenanigans and it can all seem a bit much.
Sometimes life doesn’t change and you want it to, even if the change may be more costly than you imagine.
But ask those questions, take a look around you, and wonder if you have what you feel you need. What you feel you want.
And if the answer’s yes, then don’t worry. You’ve got eighty odd years if you’re lucky, so enjoy it. If you really are worried you aren’t living life to its potential, maybe you need to examine where that pressure is coming from.
Is it you? Are you the source of your own unhappiness? Or is it society, and it’s rather mixed expectations? Sometimes the two are lost among themselves.
Don’t despair though. Life changes, whether you want it to or not, and the more sudden the change, the more rapid things can fall apart. If you want life to change, you can, at any point, force its hand.
The question then goes back to a simple one:
What do you want?
And once you answer it, why do you want it?
If you don’t know, but all you know is you are unhappy now, perhaps you need a change. The only way you’ll learn though is by trying new things, even if they scare you. Especially if they scare you.
Often the unknown is a terrifying prospect. But if your current surroundings bring you misery, perhaps chasing the horizon and what lies on the other side, will bring out what truly drives you as a person.
Even if its a mistake, you’ll learn. And learning about the world, and yourself, is one of the most important things you can discover. It can change your life.