He’s simple, he’s dumb, he’s the pilot
Why does anybody do the things they do? I’m not referring to a biological narrative that cultivates and harvests our synapses, or even a psycho-analytical adventure into our impulses and drives. Nah. All I’m trying to ask is, at the end of the day, what specifically motivates you to do the damn thing?
I’m bringing this up because I’m often questioned about what keeps me going. Why train, write, keep day and night gigs, and live the way that I do? I don’t find that my lifestyle is too different from the next guy. Though our rationales may differ, we all do what we do for reasons that compel us forward. In fact, my interests, habits, hobbies and so on are all somewhat divergent and damn near at war with each other at the best of times.
For instance, I love training. I love exercise, keeping a strict enough diet and limiting things like alcohol and unhealthy foods. Conversely, I drink my weight in coffee and smoke like cigarettes are about to be outlawed and I want to get my fill before they become extinct. Additionally, why on earth would a salty lad like myself, who is in no way a fan of people (though for anyone to say they hate people seems like an exaggeration), work in the service industry where there’s nothing but strangers to serve and personalities to contend with?
Well, because I want to. I feel that I need to. These things are all part of a bigger picture. When taken as a sum, they are greater than their individual manifestations. At this point in my life, very little is by accident or out of my control, at least in respect to the day-to-day shit.
My ma can attest to this. I’m 100% motivated by an intrinsic drive that I’ve learned to rely on as my own pack leader. She’d tell you that I’m a stubborn fella, and she isn’t wrong. It’s not like I can’t be swayed, though. If I see the logic and benefit behind something, which doesn’t even have to relate to my own success, then I will most likely do it. I would also do anything for my crew. Anything. Making loved ones and close friends happy is something that I hold inside of my chest. To be honest, that’s motivation enough, but I still realize that I do it for myself.
There’s no true altruism, but if you’ve put up with my previous posts, you probably already know this. Or could at the very least telegraph this as my way of thinking. You beautiful fucking snowflake, you.
Circling back, I love training (lifting objects repetitively, jumping on things, running around, and all that dumb shit) because I love the challenge, the ability to compete against oneself and recognize actual change, whether it be strength or endurance or whatever. I love writing because I have an inherent desire to tell stories. I descend from a long line of yarn-spinners and bullshitters. Plus, I have too much complex garbage floating around my head like diasporic asteroids that need to be chiseled into pebbles before they threaten a planet. I have an innate need for competition, but only with myself, Michael Jordan and Isaac Asimov.
I’m addicted to workahol, mainly because I really do need to be busy. Devil’s playground and such. I can’t stand a second of not trying to outdo myself in some fashion, to better any previous attempts of projects. I get frustrated when I’m not at least pondering and taking notes, even when I’m not leaning over my desk and detached from my workspace. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m making up for wasted time from when I was a shotgun-shell full of unused potential and underachievement. Now that I’ve been dusted off, I don’t want to waste a second.
I accept downtime as necessary only when I’ve earned it; even though it always feels unwarranted when I am alone. No matter if it comes at the end of a long shift or an ultra-productive day, it feels cheap; precious time that I can never reclaim, usurped from a potentially axis-shifting endeavour. When I finally settle down to cool on the couch, I might have to write a short or blog while baked as a muffin with It’s Always Sunny or a Marvel movie going on in the background.
I feel a sense of freedom through the duty of habit and the stimulation of activity. I can’t remember the last good sleep I’ve had, if ever.
My friend Kev told me that he was impressed with my work rate and output. He’s one of my best friends in the universe. That meant more to me than any physical compliment from anyone, or anything else. He knows me. He knows the struggles and fuck shit that I’ve been through. He knows me better than most anyone ever could. He suggested that I get away for a couple days, and we proceeded to get hammered and watch a hockey game. He’s also far from a slouch and understands what hard work and sacrifice is. He understands that we do things because they make us happy, and that more work doesn’t necessarily mean more work, but progression towards an objective.
I loathe external competition and lusting for accolades and superfluous pats on the back. For example, I love shucking oysters. I hate eating those slimy little bastards, but I nearly hit a Zen-like moment of peace and mental deliberation when I’m left at my lonesome with a knife and endless chits. Shucking becomes a show for people watching, always asking the same questions that I’ve heard a million times. “Do you ever cut yourself?” “How many do you shuck a day?” “Do your fingers smell for days?”
I like these dumbass questions. I used to hate them with all my soul. I find them funny now and I try to come up with different answers every time. I test out material and have fun with my responses. I fuck around with the custys at the bar and precipitate bants. I mean… they’re paying me; they deserve an answer and I deserve to try and ride the line between being a gracious host and a snarky prick.
“Have you ever competed?”
Once, and I got so drunk I nearly fell off the stage because I didn’t really want to be there in the first place, and people kept giving me free booze.
I don’t have a major fear of crowds or failure. I’m good, damn good. I’m fast as fuck and just as clean. I simply don’t compete because I don’t care about winning. I was the same way in track and feel the same way about short story competitions. In fact, if it wasn’t for the reality of deflating my loot sack, I wouldn’t be writing blogs or starting a website to compete for booky wook sales.
I never start a damn thing with the motivating factor of outside awards or for the sake of achieving recognition. I enjoy receiving praise here and there, but only to put a check mark on how dope I believe my work is and to plump the already high-ass standards I already have for myself. Otherwise, I do the things I do because I like them and enjoy the intrinsic competition, plain and simple. I don’t yearn to be known as the best shucker or the best author. Regardless of victory or defeat, I will continue to do these things because they’re consistently challenging on a personal level. I only wish to out-box my shadow.
Some people are good at taking compliments and some make you wish you never said a nice thing to them in the first place. Many times it’s shyness or an awkward personality; but it could also be that they are doing the damn thing because they chose to. While recognition is neat in theory, acclaim is an alien language to those that simply ‘do’ with the wholly earnest intention of quenching their personal objective.
Maybe all this is why I abhor gambling. How am I supposed to leave my hard earned ducats on the table while two people who I have no control over duke it out? I also don’t bet on my own skills; that takes the incentive out of the savagery of self-competition and adds an outside factor. I don’t enjoy what I’m doing or try as passionately if there are any externalities at play, no matter how much is at stake. I guess, I don’t care how good I am in comparison to you or vice versa, just me vs me.
Sure, I’d love to market the hell out of myself, enter competitions and earn a level of wealth that would allow me to seclude myself off the grid and write without distraction. I mean, if I’m really what I’m claiming to be then I wouldn’t publish or take the time to connect with people so that they might stumble across my material. Maybe I’m full of shit and a selfish asshole who only does things because he wants to. If I’m being honest, that doesn’t seem too outlandish.
But… the loot sack.
I maintain that unless I see the value in something or genuinely like it, I probably won’t do it. That means that I’m not a fad person. I dress in a way that’s comfortable and I find cool. As a kid, I think I was overly consumed with trying to fit in. I played my intellect down and kept quiet because I always died a bit when I opened my jaws and spoke the real. I was worried about the potentiality of having my spirit lynched by being shunned as an outcast.
At some point, my brain said fuck it. Do you, Papa Croft, do you. I did, and it felt awesome. I rescinded, but made better friends, lovers and felt less anxious when I was doing things for reasons that made sense to me. I would still do anything for my momma and give favours to people that I love and respect frivolously. But, when it comes down to it, I ain’t doing a damn thing unless I feel it in my bones. That extends to the way I write, talk and who I want to be around. Not being who you are is like being Forrest Gump before he shattered those leg braces.
Shawshank is still better. Get at me.
This is where you’re supposed to talk about social media, right? Do it for the Gram, do it for the likes.
So what? Your life is yours like mine is mine. Who gives a fuck? I do me, you do you, too. Whatever your motivation is: run it. Be dope.
Today’s tangential thought, brought to you by ADD.
It makes me curious when the intelligent still seek physical worship and the gorgeous desire to be lauded for dem smarts. It’s cool, it doesn’t bother me: it’s interesting. It just shows me that we all have the common condition of wanting to shore up our perceived weak-spots or highlight our unsung attributes. Eliminate the externalities and things become so much clearer. Is it because we crave having it all? Do we want people to know that we are beings of multiple dimensions? Or, do we need to collect all the trophies for our case to finish the quest? I don’t know, but I would rather a confident nerd over a damaged beauty any day. I verily desire someone who gets one ‘like’, and that is double-tapped by their own thumb. That’s just me. Lord knows I have enough anxiety to replace the fossil fuel to power China, and having two psychos like that in a relationship wouldn’t work out. Or maybe it would? I really don’t know, I don’t get out much. Anyways, it seems that people often want to be validated for things they seemingly lack or don’t get the clout for. We always want what we don’t have. We care about it even though we know it’s beneath us. Except for bimbos, god bless you attractive morons, the world spins for you.
For me, more important than praise and adulation is respect. Respect for something I worked hard on, something I sacrificed and bled for. Yeah, I’ll take a “good job, Papa.” I’ll grin, on my face and in my soul, at a sincere and reflective compliment for something that I proudly accomplished and turned my mind and body into hamburger for. Je suis humain, au moins pour l’instant. It feels good because it’s earned. More importantly, I’ll take self-respect. Even if I don’t sleep, I can keep that in the vault.
I’ll take that motherfucker to the bank and leverage a loan to get a cabin in the woods.