Travel is brutal and I don’t like it. I’ve had something like five hours of sleep in the past 24 hours, and that’s being optimistic about the amount of time I actually spent sleeping on the plane, so if this is more rambling and incoherent than my average work I apologize in advance.
Sometimes being tired leads to free association, though. Even though this isn’t always desirable, it can lead to points of interest. Speaking of which:
Interest blinds some and makes some see. (Maxim 40)François de La Rochefoucauld
I’ve written about the distinction between the known and the unknown before, especially as it pertains to heuristics (basically, they’re fast hacks to understand the world better than our brains could otherwise do), so I’m going to take a different approach today.
Having an interest in things leads to an opportunity cost of all other things in which one could be interested. My experiences recently with dipping my toes into the game industry have pushed me to realize this: I’m not sure that I want to make games as the be-all end-all of my life, but there are people who have totally committed themselves to that to the exclusion of all else.
And that’s not necessarily bad, but it means that they’re not even considering applying some of their talents elsewhere. This is not, of course, a universal rule; some people have fully assessed their life and still choose to be monolithic in their pursuits, sometimes in error and sometimes in pursuit of exceptionalism.
The dangerous thing is when people haven’t assessed their life. I remember an instance when I was in college where it looked like everything was going to go off the rails. I was in a teaching program and hadn’t yet gotten any classroom experience and was letting the angst of uncertainty build up. My father was between jobs after the company he had been working for canceled his project, my friends had all gone away for the summer, and I generally just felt like I was adrift and life was down to the lowest point it ever had been.
Because I was living with the conviction that I was going to be a teacher (one I still hold) but I had not considered my options, this became something of a crisis. In reality, had I been willing to see it, I would have realized that I had talents and skills that would help me reach my goal, downplay my fears with the reminder that other people go through the same things without issue, and work toward a goal.
Instead, my interest in the path I thought I was on, the life I thought had been granted to me, blinded me to the fact that it was really a path that I could choose to walk and take proactive steps toward.
You can’t do much without a purpose, and interest can be a pathway that leads in that direction. However, if all you have is one consuming passion, it can vanish or be thwarted and put you in a state of disorder.
Be open to opportunity.
Reflect on goals.
Find the pathway that leads to the stars.