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19 July, 2009

Pursuing Our Passions: Part 1

Sometimes things happen for a reason. You saw my earlier blog about happiness, and the pursuit thereof. I had a few conversations with a few friends about the topic over the past several days. Coincident with that, I was conducting a study at work, testing a feature in our software that enables users to create "forms" which are basically surveys that will port the data into a spreadsheet for you. That got me interested in conducting a survey of my own. So I decided it might be interesting to conduct a survey about people's pursuit of their passions. So I did. The survey had only 5 questions on it, which I will paraphrase for you here:

1. Do you have any passions/interests you pursue actively?
2. What are they, if you want to share?
3. Do you have any passions you'd like to pursue but don't have/make the time?
4. How often do you watch television?
5. How often do you browse the internet?

I created this survey, and sent it to a bunch of people on Facebook. And then I found out that my survey was broken, and was not collecting data. It had been overwritten with a blank survey. I would have to recreate and resend it. And I didn't want to do that, because it felt like I am an idiot, and I was spamming people. So instead I deleted the survey. Then I got mad, and almost deleted my Facebook account entirely.

But then, I calmed down, and realized that sometimes things happen for a reason. The issue in my life right now was that I was trying to figure out what my passions really are, and how I can go about pursuing them. And asking a bunch of other people questions about this is not going to get me any closer to having meaning in my life. It's just an exercise in mental masturbation. It's just a bunch of useless information. At best, or at worst, all it does is tell me that there are some people just like me, who also don't pursue their passions, because they waste their time on idle pursuits. And if not that, all it does is tell me that there are plenty of people who pursue their passions. Maybe I learn a little about what people's passions are. Maybe I make one or two people think about what they are or are not pursuing themselves, that they'd like to be. But, by and large, it does nothing to address my original goal, which was to get somewhere.

So, upon this further reflection, I realized that the demise of this survey was perhaps the best thing that could have occurred. I don't need to know why you do what you do. I don't need to know what you want to do, that you are not doing. I need to start doing what I want to do.

Clearly, blogging is one of those things. But there are others. And there is more than ample time to be pursuing some of them, if I reallocate my time strategically. Shouldn't be too hard.

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