What's it All For?


published 2023-05-10 21:00

updated 2023-05-13 11:06

I find it funny how I often wonder about motivation, despite being firmly in the "thing-doer" camp. I used to be quite fond of the quote "Inspiration Is for Amateurs—The Rest of Us Just Show Up and Get To Work"[#]_, but no longer does it ring with the same resonance it once did. Perhaps in part, this is because I have embraced being an amateur. It's unlikely that I will ever have a career outside of being a Software Person™, but being a human is so much more than merely having a career. There's no shame in puttering around with things you find interesting, and enjoying yourself. Being struck by inspiration, as it were. However, that's also not the thing that I see happening with myself. Cyclically, I am drawn to the same things. I show up with committed regularity even when I don't want to or have no ideas on which to work. Eventually though, my interest wanes or a new-old hobby sparks my curiosity and I move on. So what moves me in this rhythmic ebb and flow through my interests? What am I seeking to gain?

Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure. Afterall, this is a collection of notes to help me think. I often struggle with motivation, particularly when I deem the thing I am working on to be "useless", at least when it comes to software. It's something I'm slowly getting better at. When it comes to my hobbies outside of software, or even when the artifacts are created through software but aren't software itself (Art broadly falls in this category) I face no such dilemmas. Only through intense naïvety could one sincerely ask the question "What is the purpose of Dance?". I think deep down I still harbour this notion that one day I'll become respected for any one (or even all) of my other interests. I'm trying to fight this.

If, then, it is neither the desire to be respected for my passions, nor wanton inspiration, what is it? I firmly believe there is no useless information. Your brain retains things by creating connections with other information you already have. Learning things, then, happens quicker if it's easier to link to information you already posses.

Perhaps even more fundamentally than the additional bonuses granted from consistently doing The Thing, I find it inescapable that I want to be the kind of person that does all these things, a finger in every pie.

.. [#] Chuck Close