"Driven", "motivated", "passionate". I've always thought they were positive qualities.
Various people have said I have these qualities and looking back at my life I'd agree. But I also see something wrong. Here's some things I've done:
- I've found it easy to devote time to accounting, but not any other hobby.
- I took time off for the first time in a long time last week. I spent a sizeable chunk of it updating my resume.
- When I take time off I worry that my loved ones will think I'm lazy.
- I built Shmeppy so I could work much harder and more directly at positively impacting the world.
- I got a part-time job teaching CS and tried to start a business in college, despite my mom supporting me financially at the time.
- I study and work hard to learn from failures at almost everything I do, even super intangible things like "being a good listener".
- I discredit almost all positive validation I receive, and if it does get through to me I immediately forget about it. Whereas I remember vividly almost all percieved invalidation I've received.
Some these actions seem fine in isolation. They seem like "driven" actions. But there's something that really unsettles me: I don't know why I do a lot of these things.
Of course I know some reasons. I'm a real human person, so each action I take has lots of motivations. For example: I cared about getting a professional career going so starting a business in college made sense to advance that goal.
But there seems to be a part of my motivation and drive that is also causing me pain, and I don't quite know what it is. Like why did I work on my resume in my down-time last week?
I think all these actions are connected. I think they're motivated by some kernel of myself.
I suspect I'm insecure about something: success, worth, skill… And that I'm trying to get external validation through these actions (despite knowing that I won't really internalize any of that validation 😅). But I don't really know.
I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to upgrade to "healthily driven", "healthily motivated", and "healthily passionate". That I'll be able to continue taking actions toward goals I care about, without taking actions that just hurt me. But I don't think I'm there yet.