Wednesday, August 10, 2011

pick your poison

I may have shot myself in the foot with the challenge I issued last week to write a lengthy word-only post. I don't have writer's block, I just don't have that much on my mind that's impersonal enough to share on a medium accessible to anyone who uses the world wide web. So I tentatively write the following, taking some comfort that the length of this post will scare most readers away.

Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne is a sort of pseudo-hero of mine. I don't agree with many of his personal philosophies, but I love the passion and originality with which he approaches his career. For example, earlier this year the Flaming Lips released a digital EP stored on a USB drive embedded in the gelatinous brain of a seven and a half pound gummy skull -- you had to eat your way to the USB drive.

A year or two ago, a piece of Wayne's unconventional wisdom struck me and made me realize something important about myself. During a commencement address at an Oklahoma City high school in 2006, Wayne said, "We are not what we dream. We are what we do." Now, I know that's not terribly profound, and it's something I already knew, in a nebulous sort of way. It just had never been articulated for me so clearly (or if it had, I hadn't been paying attention).

Sometimes I feel like more of a dreamer and less of a doer. I contemplated making a list of all the things in my recent life that I've wanted to do or thought I would do but haven't. I look back on a few of those things and think, Why didn't I do that? Why haven't I taken the GMAT yet? It would be so easy to get that out of the way. Why didn't I take the CPA exam right after finishing college? I could've been done with that by now.

And then I try and account for the time I spent not doing these things. What have I done instead? Why is it easier for me to focus on what I haven't done than what I have done? And why do I feel like my most important accomplishments are limited only to the realm of school and work? -- especially when, historically speaking, my passion for both of those things has been so up and down.

Anyway, I feel like I know the answers to these questions. They just tend to bounce around in my head less when I know someone else has heard them.

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In case you haven't noticed, from reading this post and from subtle hints on other posts, I've been rethinking my line of work. I remember someone saying that who you work with is more important than what you do. If that's the case, then maybe I should change my attitude instead of my career. I don't know which scares me more: a new attitude or a new job.