Contributing to the world, as myself

What would not get done if you were not here?

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be myself, to actually have things that I stand for and believe in. I fell upon this question while reading Improv Wisdom this morning, and was wondering that if I were asked this question in high school, I wouldn’t have had an answer. I think this is an important question to think about too, so you should take some time right now to think about it! If I was not in high school, people would have continued prepping for standardized test, doing extracurriculars, etc. I think that I can now pinpoint this to a specific thing – competition. Competition is a rat race, if somebody drops out, that’s just one less person to worry about, right? So let’s go back to the question, when you are competing in something (college admissions, interviewing for internships, etc.) you’re not really adding anything unique.

Consider your unique vantage point, your talents, your loves, what you have been given to do. What are you here to do?

Competition is a zero sum game. Not many people remember the losers, which sucks. For myself, I think that if I continued competing, climbing some corporate ladder for my whole life, I would never be able to answer the question: what would not get done if I were not here? But I do have answers to that now. For one, this blog. If I were not here, nobody would be writing this blog. To show my unique vantage point, talent, passions, loves, my purpose, I have to create. In my philosophy seminar this semester, although everybody was reading the same texts everybody would contribute different and unique perspectives every class. Depending on how we were raised, what environment we put ourselves in, different things are more apparent to us. So by participating in a class discussion, posting your thoughts on the internet, filming YouTube videos, making a movie, or whatever creative medium you choose, you are doing something that nobody else could do.

So here’s my idea: Don’t compete, create.

I’m going to adapt this from an answer I read on Quora. Let’s say that 100 people spend 100 units of energy each competing for some award. In the end, there is only winner, so only 100 units of energy (out of 10,000 units) are recognized. If everybody decided to go out on their own and try to create something, they could’ve each spent the 100 units of energy making something unique. That’s an overall win win, adding 10,000 units to the world. The effort that you put in will still count for something, even if you don’t win. Furthermore, since everybody was raised differently, everybody has value to add to the world. 

So this is a challenge for myself next year. To spend more time creating, spend more time writing content for my readers because that is something unique to me. And I’ve been practicing a lot of piano improv lately, so I might start uploading my improvisations onto YouTube to I guess make my dent in this world. Writing this, I’m starting to realize I’m mainly using the internet to publicize myself, which might change or grow in the future. Also another big thing I will plan to do is not search and compete for any jobs this coming summer. This is a pretty big jump for me, since I would love to land a nice internship so I can more easily find a job in the future. But I think creating something by myself, making something I can be truly proud of of is more important to me right now than spending time competing for an internship.

So you know what, I’ll go with it. With this mindset, I’m interested to see what kind of future I can pave .

Advertisements

Author: Sam Shih

Hi I'm Sam! I'm from San Francisco, California and am currently a sophomore at Swarthmore College interested in Computer Science, Philosophy, and Religion. On campus I sing in the choir, give massages to stressed students, and lift weights. You can catch me crawling the interwebs or writing about positive psychology, self improvement, and my college experience on my blog (samshih.me)

What are your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s