Despite all of our intricacies and inherent idiosyncrasies, mankind is in fact quite similar in many respects. While the thoughts, feelings and desires that motivate us vary quite dramatically from one individual to the next; the fundamental desires that create these compulsions are a common thread that binds us. We are motivated primarily by survival. We require food and shelter to live. So we seek out jobs and career paths that allow us to earn an income and satisfy these basic needs. Once we have done this, we look for like-minded individuals to create a community with. We make friends and have families in the interest of self-preservation and safety.
Yet while our subconscious mind skews our motives towards basic needs like survival, our consciousness urges us to take risks, create dreams, and envision beautiful futures. Oftentimes this sees us trying to extend beyond our reach in an attempt to rise above our own circumstance and perceived limitations. After all; there is no reward without risk, and there is no hope of success without the motivation of potential failure.
It’s these conscious desires to be more than we are that make us differently the same. It is our pride and our ambition that spurs us towards greatness and encourages us to keep pushing towards our dreams.
On a personal level it is pride and ambition that keeps me striving towards my goal of creating a career out of writing. Because being a writer isn’t as easy as many people would like to believe. People seem to have this misconstrued idea that as a writer you spend your days sipping coffee in cafes while creating whimsical prose and intellectually rich web content. But the truth is that we writers are often isolated; hidden away from the world in dank rooms as we rummage through endless pages of research or journey through the catacombs of our minds in search of that elusive muse called creativity.
It’s a tough gig. Especially when you take into account the bouts of writers block or the fact that you are effectively juggling two full time jobs until you can find a way to earn a decent living from your works. So why do it? Why continuously aspire to create when it quite literally means you are isolating yourself from the world you aim to inspire?
Because every man and woman needs a purpose. Everyone one of us needs something to be proud of, and an ambition to work towards.
For me, that purpose is obviously going to be my writing. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to devote my life to anything but creating beautiful literature. I have spent the last decade pouring out my heart and soul for my readers, and through doing so have managed to liberate myself from the fear and anxiety that threatened to consume me. On a whole my journey with writing has been a resounding success. But it has certainly come with its trials and tribulations. At times it has seemed that the dream I chase and the pleasure it brings has also caused me great pain.
See, I’m a very lonely person. I have a beautiful partner, wonderful friends and a loving family, meaning that in many ways I am more fortunate than most. But my intellectual endeavors and my endless desire to change the world through literature often leave me in a place of ideological and moral solitude. I strive to write with purpose and refuse to cheapen my own product in search for fame and fortune. Unfortunately, in the modern age of entertainment, that means that I am competing with a world of overexposure and subpar content thrown together haphazardly through shitty formulas designed to capture public interest. And while I will confidently say that I am better than the bullshit I’m forced to compete against, at times it leaves me feeling as though I am failing.
I once read a quote by graphic novel writer Alan Moore, where he supposed that there were two types of writers. There are those who craft a formula for success and continuously reproduce their own works over and over, bastardising their product as a means of making money. Or there are those who continuously push themselves to become better through exploring with different genres and ideas. Some of those experimental concepts and pieces of work would find an audience, most would fail. But the writer would becomes increasingly versatile is driven by passion and purpose and is therefore ultimately more fulfilled than the one chasing money.
The idea has stuck with me ever since I first stumbled upon it, allowing me to keep believing that I am going to leave a mark on the world when I am feeling defeated and alone. When I feel the ache of longing for more pressing down on my chest as I try valiantly to succeed through talent and hard work, I find comfort in knowing that when I do eventually become the writer I am destined to be I can say that my purpose and my ambition allowed me to succeed.
But I’m not as lonely as I often believe. After all, I did open this post with a celebration of the ideal that we are differently the same. My purpose and desire to create content that outlasts the near instantaneous expiry date society places upon formula driven work is something that is shared throughout the minds of individuals just like me. And the anxiety that I have felt over the past decade while trying to carve out my niche is shared upon all men and women alike. Whether an individual has a dream of being a writer, a parent, a basket-baller, doctor, or whatever else, the persistence and determination we feel is a universal gift to be celebrated. The anxiety that comes as a result of that is merely a byproduct of our future happiness.
Our fundamental desires are similar, yet uniquely ours. Our ambitions and dreams vary, but our yearning to grow and succeed unites us. We all have the ability to achieve anything that our heart desires. We all have the ability to be more. We just have to define what we value most and remember that success and monetary wealth are not mutually exclusive. For some of us, success comes from knowing that we have created a body of work to be proud of. It comes from knowing that our thoughts and feelings were powerful enough to change the life of a single person.
Success lies within the eye of the beholder. It’s governed by our purpose and our pride. Your passions are uniquely yours. Celebrate them. Learn to love the anxiety that they bring, and relish the happiness that they bestow upon you.