I struggle to write this because it doesn’t uphold the vision of what an entrepreneur is supposed to be. I see all these posts about being ‘driven’, and ‘crushing it’, and ‘making it happen’, and ‘doing the work’ by people who truly seem to be energized ALL the time.
But here’s my truth: I’m pretty apathetic about a lot of things outside of work. I’m driven by curiosity, I’m driven by solving problems, these are pretty good traits for someone in my profession so it works for the most part. But I’ve never been driven to ‘take on life’. I just don’t see life as something to be conquered. I’m driven just as much by guilt and pressure as I am anything positive that comes from within myself. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
I don’t understand the mentality of ‘make the most of every day’. What does that mean? Can’t sitting in my recliner reading a book for an hour be just as worthwhile as climbing a mountain? It’s not that I don’t take on challenges that get me out of my comfort zone, I do. But nine times out of ten it’s because someone else pushed me to it, not because I did. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
And it’s not that I don’t respect people who take on giant personal challenges, hell, I revere them. I also like that feeling when I overcome something that I wasn’t sure I could. I have no doubt that I’d be whooping and hollering just as loud as the next guy if I dove off the bridge with a bungee cord tied to my ankles. Yet I’m not DRIVEN to it. It doesn’t call to me. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
But here’s the thing, I don’t find those types of people better than me. I like to ‘live’ life, not ‘conquer’ it. And that’s cool with me. It’s like the person who plans a vacation and has to have every second of it accounted for and scheduled prior to departure because they want to make the *most* of the trip. I get that. Me personally? I want to make sure there’s plenty of open time to simply discover. Sometimes that will lead to something amazing, sometimes that will lead to being bored a few hours. Neither approach is necessarily better, one just happens to fit me better. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
I do however wonder about this notion of ‘conquering’ life. I see those people as constantly thrashing against the current, trying to fight the riptide. It seems more an intention to seek control than it does to be out of control. My vision of life is one where I’m swimming with the current. I can move left or right, I can get to the shore for a break if I want, or let it carry me down the middle as I float on my back. But I’ve never felt that I could, or should, ‘defy’ life. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
In my mind it’s this balance of fatalism and control that must be won.
I am at my most excited when in an intense discussion with someone, when we’re swapping or debating new ideas or uncovering a new way of thinking about something. Yet if you scroll through a Facebook or Twitter feed you’ll rarely see those things mentioned. You’ll find plenty of marathon training, mountain biking, and ‘go kick some ass today!’. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s the lack of balance that makes me feel out of place. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
Are the things that I enjoy really *that* uninteresting? If so, what does that make me? So I stick with my jokes, my pictures from traveling, and my love of food. Those are all easily relatable, shallow things that help me fit in. And that’s great, I enjoy fitting in, who wants to be the dork in the corner? But I fear that is exactly what I am. I think I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
Matt Ridings - @techguerilla