I Made Something
If you haven't figured this out about me yet, I quite enjoy self help books, inspirational speakers, speeches, and podcasts. I make it a point to fill my brain with inspiration - not surface level self esteem, but deeply inspired reasoning to back up my actions and pursuits. I've found that life is really a battle of discovering transcendent truths and rediscovering them when you forget them. Do it for the love of it.
That's not a new idea. We've been taught to do things for the 'love of the game' or the 'love of the craft' since we were children. But axioms such as these don't really compute until you have lived a little bit. What does it really mean to do something for the love of it. I think Matthew Mcconaughey said it pretty eloquently here.
He makes the case here that humans aren't designed to be happy. We aren't made for, nor should be strive to be 'happy' - that happiness is fleeting, small, and ultimately insignificant. Happiness is self serving. It creates no ripple. When you die, your happiness dies with you, and that's it. If your life was devoted to happiness, when it ends, you will leave the world no better off than when you left it.
Joy, however, is different. Joy comes not from success or gratification, but rather purpose. Purpose is the gasoline of joy. It's the certainty of our reasons to be alive that give us joy. Mcconaughey makes the case in his speech that the pursuit of excellence at what you do for the sake of excellence accomplishes not only a more refined 'love of your craft', but also exudes a subconscious message to the world that life is important, meaningful, and worth living fully. In short, people who are great at what they do, love what they do. People who love what they do, inspire others, and that is how you live a meaningful life.
I made something. It's a song called 'Goner'. I've been putting out songs online since I was 12 years old. For 9 years, time and time again, I've repeated the process. Write a song, record a song, release a song, hope people care. Usually, people don't. And I've made the mistake of letting that impact my artistry, my emotions, and most importantly, my joy.
Mcconaughey talks extensively about his early acting career, and his intentional decision to begin falling in love with the process of the creation of the films he was in. He shifted his focus from the end result and reaction to it, to the creative process. His joy was extracted from the days on set - the good and the bad ones.
This applies to anything, and I discovered quite recently that that includes my music. I played the demo for this song for some friends when it was in earlier stages and hadn't quite come together yet. This is something I do often. None of my friends really reacted well to it. Naturally, I decided I was going to scrap the project and move on. Then I heard the Mcconaughey speech, as well as began to read Jeff Goins' 'The Art of Work'. Suddenly, it occurred to me - If I finished it and devoted myself to the joy of learning in the process, I couldn't lose. Even if nobody listened to it, if I had the time of my life making it, and learned in the process, I win.
The takeaway - Make you art. Write your book. Apply for the job you don't think you're qualified for. Ask out the girl. Train for the marathon. Failure is beside the point. Love your process. Love to learn to love your process. Enjoy your life. Point A and B are very small pieces of life, and if point B is what your heart's set on, you will miss out on the majority of you life, which lives between point A and B.
Why are you trying to be liked by a world you want to change?