Why we do what we do
Identity. I believe whatever we do is for an identity. What identity one may ask. Right from the time we are born, we strive or are made to understand to strive in the rat-race of existence. Is it a self-generated consciousness or an inherited thought, that is to an individual decision.
Right from the time we set foot into kindergarten, and wish to draw a straighter line than our peers and draw a better house and a tree, more profound and colorful and exact than anyone else to be acknowledged and appreciated. It is not inheritance, it is an innate human trait, to be recognized, to be given an identity. As I grew older, I’d like to run faster, or jump longer, or hold my breath longer than the other person, to be identified as the boy who did it better. I would attempt on doing whatever I could do better, not for the sake of recognition but for the fact that if I did it better, it became my identity. It never was or is envy. It was and will always be synonymous with ego and attitude.
But does it always work. I don’t think its possible to be perfect all the time and not err. That is why from being a 90 percenter to a 70 and back to a 80 was a normal thing. From being the best student in class, to being a back bencher, and ultimately being at another strata, it has been more than a sin curve and already hitting a few crests and troughs in less than three decades, only tells me that its only has just begun.
Getting back to identity. What I do, what I strive to do is in my mortal life is to set an identity for my existence. We know all the great minds of the world for the identity they left behind. A famous revolutionary, a great scientist, the great adventurer or the super athlete, may not be remembered for their background, their qualification, their theories or hard work, but their name will survive the tyranny of time, just because they achieved their “identity”.
Moving around a lot of schools every now and then, making new friends at the blink of an eye, losing them sooner than was expected, life has been a run, an interesting, exhilaration, learning run. The few pauses and breaks should only be taken as breathers and procrastinated decisions. Hitting college was a low, as it was not what I wanted, but how does anyone know what they want when they’re barely out of puberty and teenage love. I would not generalize for I have known some fantastic people who did know what they wanted to be and have stuck to it and become exceptional at their skills. But I was not one of them. I was the one, who bought a ticket at the theatre counter depending on what life had to offer.
Fast forward a little through the “grown-up” part of life and I am here today, writing my thoughts on what we do and why we do it. This thought struck me as I watched a rendition of Neil Armstrong spiralling down to earth in a X-15 from an altitude of 145000 feet. Did he do it for the extra pay, did he do it for his country, did he do it for an identity. What is that makes us, us. Perseverant personalities, individuals who push themselves to do, what others might consider foolhardy.
I aspired to be a fighter pilot, and have achieved some level of it and wish to go through the rest. Does it come at a cost? Yes it does. It comes at a cost of living each day one at a time, comes at the cost of losing friends, family and more. Hitting the apex might be tough, staying there is tougher. Knowing what not will befall you the next morning but voluntarily forgetting the rest of your life every time you climb that ladder and not for a fraction of a second thinking whether you’ll be climbing back down at the end of the day. Locking up the worse of your fears in one corner of your mind and pushing every ounce of confidence and courage into ever limb, muscle and mind, to achieve that one mission.
Some experiences, become friendly banter, the rest you lock up inside and never wish to face again. It becomes a part of us, and stays that way. It is personal, it is precious. Living one day, at a time. And probably the whole concept of having an identity in this myriad crowd of minds and faces, will justify this self-generated risk-fraught recklessness, as my parents would term it.
Why do I do what I do. Cause I can. And if I didn’t who will.