Some people spend their entire lives soul-searching. Others turn to religion, astrology, and other humans for fulfillment. I don’t believe in soul searching, and while I have had the occasional Jesus-take-the-wheel moments, cursed out Capricorns, and met people who appreciate my puns, it always strikes me as a profoundly sad pastime.
Unlike daydreaming and adventure seeking, there is no feedback. No eureka. No adrenaline. The hours spent riding the midnight train or staring at the flickering screen is more than restlessness; it’s hunger. And perhaps the greatest irony lies in the sheer volume of imagination and focus it consumes. It’s almost as if one’s mind is eating itself.
An infliction of the common man and the pitfall of the genius, soul-searching serves no other purpose than to encourage stagnation and enforce regrets. After all, what can be said for those who desire warmth, and yet, rather than use their match to spark a bonfire, light a dim lantern in search for solace on a cold and bitter night. It seems to me, that no matter the effort, the results are futile.
For a long time, I held my opinions to myself and occasionally divulged the notion between the pages of my journal. We are taught, from an early age, that great things await us, not that we are capable of creating and cultivating great things. And so, we wait. And we pride ourselves in the fallacy of prophecy and we flaunt our to-do lists on social media. We are not just waiting, we declare, we are actively waiting.
The lies we tell ourselves, they can last a lifetime.
It was hard to admit that the potential I foresaw for myself was nothing more than an elaborate, collective hoax. Working a 9 to 5 job, I was certainly challenged on a daily basis and strived to conquer those challenges. But more often than not, I simply settled for the best I could manage by 4:57pm and called it a day. The next 3 minutes I spent organizing my desk or doodling on the whiteboard that hung in the office. I drew ducks. A thought usually strikes me then. I could get away with these 3 minutes, and could probably get away with 30 minutes. The satisfaction of my boss was below my potential, I mused. I was made for so much more.
Everyday I started with 100% and left with 20% to spare. Overtime, I began putting in just 80% of my effort and the number steadily declined from there. But the funny thing was, I always had energy left over. At the time, I believed it was a testimony that I was most definitely destined for more than photocopying papers and answering calls - if only they allowed me to explore, I had certainly waited long enough.
There’s that word again – wait. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I realized it, perhaps it was when shuffling through metal filing cabinets with the end of my pen, but I had begun to equate waiting to potential. I believed that while I waited, I was gathering, growing and absolutely festering with potential. If I was to unleash it, everything would change. Only, of course, that was not so. The two silent approaches cannot exist simultaneously. To wait is to withhold potential. To achieve potential is to stop waiting.
Everyone must make a choice, and many do so blindly. With waiting sugar-coated as soul-searching, it’s acceptance is second nature. We all want to believe in our potential but that belief is the very thing that paralyzes us and prevents us from achieving it. I don’t believe in soul-searching and I don’t believe in the comfort of waiting. It was painful to quit my job and pursue what I deemed to be my life’s work. In fact, at times, it was downright terrifying. But then again, learning to walk, at one point, also terrified me.
And this is just the beginning.
Here it begins.