I was on the phone with a dear friend of mine the other day and we got to talking about the idea of “making an impact” or “making a mark” on the world, and what we “get” out of doing certain things with our life/career choices. Is it important or helpful to think about things in these terms, or should we just be focusing on what we as individuals enjoy? To what extent, if any, should the impact of your work on others have any bearing on the work that you do? These were the kinds of questions we were throwing around, and I don’t know if there’s necessarily a concrete answer to any of them, but they’re interesting to think about.
I find myself having a hard time relating to people actively pursuing certain careers which, through my eyes, don’t seem to have much impact on the world at large or which don’t allow you to make your own mark, so to speak. Like, I get that certain careers are simply more profitable and that’s that, but what really motivates you then? I’d just really like to get inside the heads of some people to understand their perspective and their motivations that come with that. As a creative, most 9-5 jobs just seem really draining and unrewarding to me. For certain jobs, like medical professionals, it is clear to me how you could get satisfaction out of that work and feel motivated to do what you do. But for most other 9-5s, it’s really hard for me to wrap my head around. But I understand that not everyone has any interest in being an “artist,” so I’d really just like to be able to understand from that angle. Maybe this whole line of thinking is rooted in a belief that I have more to offer the world than what I can do in a 9-5 job. Heck, I don’t know. But I know the typical 9-5 lifestyle is not for me.
My friend would go on to contest that we should not be concerned or waste too much energy worrying about having an impact on the world but rather that we should just be motivated by doing what we want to do. Not to worry about what others think, just to do what we love for ourselves. And I largely agree with this mentality and the sentiment of it. My only qualm with this idea is that I believe we, as artists, inherently want to have an audience and to make an impact on others as a result. In that sense I would argue that all artists are motivated in one way or another by trying to leave their mark and as a result their individual love of their art wouldn’t be able to exist without someone being there to consume it in the first place. While it’s true that over the years I have put out countless things that little to no people seemed to care about, ultimately I love to entertain and to share my opinions so the things I create always feel more validated when people respond or care about them in some way. So while I do put out a lot of videos even though I know they probably won’t get many views in comparison to others, it’s still that idea that someone, somewhere, got something out of them, that is a big motivating factor. Even this blog was mostly started for myself, but I obviously could have kept everything private if I really didn’t care for anyone to read what I have to say. As an artist or a creative it is always so much more rewarding when you hear that what you create is appreciated on some level, even if you feel compelled to create it for your own sanity as well.
Hopefully all these thoughts were coherent and made sense in the way I presented them. Obviously all of these thoughts are formed through the prism of myself as someone who is entrenched in the creative arts side of things so my beliefs are limited in that regard, but hopefully you can understand where I’m coming from. If you have anything to add on the topics of “rewarding” careers or making an impact on the world, don’t hesitate to reach out because I genuinely would like to understand more perspectives and hear additional opinions.
As always I’m dealing with my depression one day at a time, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking during my extended time away from work and I am motivated to make some change happen in my life. Thanks to everyone who continues to be there for me, and to this friend in particular for having this conversation with me and giving me the idea for this week’s blog. Much love to you and yours.