Nerd in the Country: The Desire to be Great
In case you’re unaware, my regular job involves working with developmentally disabled people. Of course, I can’t get into much more detail than that due to confidentiality purposes. The only reason I bring it up is because I was having a discussion with one of the clients that I work with about my extra curricular activities, especially when it comes to blogging and developing games. This particular client is very much a product of his upbringing. He has a very traditional idea of what a man’s place (and a woman’s place, for that matter) in the world is. This conversation carries a lot of weight with me because, due to this clients disability, he is not going to question the world as it was presented to him by his parents. His parents told him the way it is years ago, and he sticks to that. That being the case, he’s very conservative and blue-collar… He always will be. He has no idea that people can do things other than what they’ve been instructed to do their entire lives. Also, due to his disability, he has a way of being very straight forward. He doesn’t sugar coat things and tells you exactly what he thinks. I share a common background in that I was encouraged to just go along in the world without questioning things or going against the status quo when it comes to working. As a man, I should have a man’s job where I construct or repair things. I chose to go to school for a psychology, which didn’t make my mother happy at all. I gave up religious beliefs because I couldn’t make them jive with my scientific mind. I could go on for days about the ways that I turned out differently than planned, but I will just say that what my mom and dad had planned for me and what I wanted were, sometimes, vastly different things.
A few days ago, this client saw me sitting in the common area at the house where we care for these clients and tapping away on my iPad during some downtime. He asked me what I was doing. I saw no point to lie or tell him its none of his business, so I told him I was writing a review for an app so I could post it on my blog. He asked what a blog is and I told him that its my website where I post articles for people to read on the internet. He then asked me why I do it. I told him that it’s fun and I like to write. He asked me if anyone cared what I thought about anything. I laughed, knowing that he isn’t meaning to be an asshole, just asking questions. I told him that there aren’t a whole bunch of people who do, but some do. He told me that he thought that was pretty cool.
This was an interesting conversation, because his perception was unfiltered and got my attention in a way that wasn’t like some dickramp trolling my blog for the sake of being a fuckface, he was generally curious. He didn’t understand why anyone would be interested in anything I say because, from his perspective, I’m just a guy that helps him get to doctor’s appointments on time and makes him dinner. It never occurred to him that being a care provider is something that I wouldn’t want to do for my entire life… That I may be pursuing “other options”. He also has no idea that I would be interested in anything other than taking him or the other clients to and from doctor appointments or serving them dinner. Why would anyone be interested in what I do? I greatly enjoy my conversations with this client, as it has that unfiltered perspective without being condescending. It provides a very interesting angle on things that one doesn’t usually get. That made me start thinking about why it is that I create content on the web.
Sure, I greatly enjoy writing. It seems to focus my thoughts about a given subject by allowing me to ramble on about it and then I get to read my thoughts back to myself. I end up cutting a lot of stuff out in the editing process, as I can get a little tangential sometimes… I know, you NEVER would have guessed. I do have an ulterior motive, however, and that motive is what I want to discuss here. I have a feeling that I am supposed to be great. I think most humans have something in them telling them that they can be great. It’s that feeling that drives people toward competition or to get a promotion. Some people call it drive, determination or ambition, others refer to it as a “calling” or their “destiny”, and still others call it narcissism or delusions of grandure. Call it what you like, I think most of us feel it. I think it’s an innate quality in most of life as we know it; almost an instinct.
There are many phrases that are used to describe this feeling that come from the animal world. Being the “Alpha Dog”, the “Leader of the Pack” or the “King of the Hill” are all phrases that we’ve used in one way or another. That being the case, I’m less likely to call it narcissism or delusional. Referring to it as a “calling” or “destiny” has a religious connotation, in my opinion, so I don’t like using those terms either. Why is it that some people strive for greatness, while others are willing to go with the flow?
By no means do I look down on the “go with the flow” people, but I will never understand the mindset. I have this constant feeling that I could be doing “something more”… Whatever the hell that means. I have, only what I can describe as, a biological need to strive towards greatness, in some way that offers me fulfillment. That’s probably not a huge idea for anyone. Most people want to be good at whatever it is they like to do. I want to thrive as a creative person. I’m told that I am a good writer, and some people say I’m a great writer, but I want to be better. So I’m constantly writing things. I tried writing a novel, but I didn’t feel like it was going well, so I scrapped it. I thought I might do well as a stand-up, after attending a few open mics in my area, I wasn’t so sure. So what is it that is going to bring me creative fulfillment? I do get a great sense of pride from writing on my blog, so I try to do it as often as possible. I love playing board games, so I’m developing a board game. It really is a lot of fun and the cost/reward ratio always seems to fall in the reward category. That doesn’t explain the difference, it just justifies why I do it.
Maybe it has to do with fulfillment then. How would I define fulfillment or success at being a blogger? I guess the easy way to define it would be making a living at blogging. Some people could say that fame is what I’m looking for, but I don’t think that is the case. There are plenty of unsuccessful famous people, Snooki is famous… The only thing she is successful at, however, is making an idiot of herself on national TV and managing to market that stupidity. I guess what I’m saying is, other than the pure enjoyment of it and the feeling that I am contributing to something that is larger than me is the reason I do it. I have a great sense of pride that the ads that I run on this blog are ads that support the things that I use and the services that I love and support. I don’t use that spammer software that goes around to a bunch of sites and blogs and leaves spam comments just to drive traffic to my blog. I let the people who like my content spread the word about my little blog. I’m doing my thing on my terms. So when people ask me why I do this, I am happy to answer them, “Why not?”
That leads me to my question of the day; what motivates you you to be great?
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Posted on November 19, 2012, in Geek, My Nerdography, Nerd, Nerd in the Country, Personal and tagged albany, alloy matt, blogger, corvallis, geek, greatness, lebanon, matt jacobs, my nerdography, nerd, nerd in the country, oregon. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.