Or should we?
I think we should. But I’ve gone in waves.
The drive to innovate all comes down to biology and psychology, and we shouldn’t try fight those neurological functions.
We should nurture them.
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time questioning things. Why do we do the things we do? Why do anything at all? Why is everyone so strung up about success? What is success? What is it really… and why strive to be better?
Whatever success is, why do we want it anyway? We either achieve it or we don’t, and in either situation we end up dissatisfied. It’s almost futile. So why bother?
Objectively, we strive for success (in whatever form it means to us as individuals) because it feels good.
Why does it feel good? Success makes us feel proud, because others approve of it.
But then people say “don’t do things for other people”.
So I tried that on for size, and to be honest I lost my way. Not that I ever outwardly did things solely for myself (my empathy for others, my mentoring, occasional volunteering, the work I put in with Speedlancer to try make a positive impact on thousands of lives… without paying myself a cent), but nevertheless I subconsciously do all that because it makes me feel good.
… You see, humans are wired in a very clever way; Let’s talk biology (nb. I’m no scientist):
Fame? Leaders propel humanity forward. So we revere them.
Why propel? Evolution dictates that those who innovate over thousands of years are the groups that survive (the rest get overthrown or die off to their challenges). We are the descendants of these early people, for better or worse, and we are quite literally bred to create.
Survival? Well, that’s a pretty clear biological need.
Empathy? Riches? Smarts? Education? Doing? Being? Health? Love? Creativity? Enjoying? Traveling? Exploring?
These questions? They are all as important, biologically speaking, as sex. The ones who have these traits are the ones who survive, and the more to survive, the more the clan grows beyond its cave and can prevail. And a clan must prevail, or it is taken over and dies out. It is this clan that grew to become the homo-sapiens that we are today. This is biology, and this is us.
Don’t be afraid of doing, of trying, of learning, of failing. It’s called creating. This is the biological root of purpose, and biology rewards us through this experimentation with emotional flow states and societal rewards.
I’m all for being in the moment, and for being content, and for meditating. But striving for success, exploring – innovating – is psychologically one of the most rewarding states; it helps us be. Innovation in itself brings meaning. Add to that (if you’re so fortunate) to work on things that impact others positively, and to do things that you want to do, and you’ll be rewarded with the meaning and purpose that flows from there.
Strive to be the best you can be in whatever field you are in, and let the results speak for itself. It’s the only option.
Grow. Empathise. Love. Learn. Inspire. Explore. Create. Entertain. Be.
… Or die.