What’s the point?

Understanding the “point of life” unlocks all its mysteries and treasure, or so we think.

That’s why the internet is littered with people asking this question.

But it’s really very simple.

Points aren’t real. They’re just how we make a mark on the world.

The point of a pen is to make a blot.

The point of a sword is to make a cut.

The point in an argument is to distinguish between ideas.

The point in sports or games decides who wins.

The point of a compass tells you which way to go.

The point is dimensionless. It’s merely a particular moment in time or space or a particular thought about a specific time in space. And yet, everything seems to hinge around the point.

“What’s the point of life?” isn’t the right question.

Living is the point.

It’s the instrument we’ve been given to change the Universe. 

The question is: “What mark will you make with it?”

 

Bald Bezos and His Big Hairy Goal

Everybody knows ol’ Jeffers — Head Honcho at Amazon and richest man in the world when it’s not Elon Musk.

If you ever wondered what Bezos was doing with all that cash, it’s Blue Origin (great name) and a space ship that looks like a sex toy.

What I found out recently was that Blue Origin isn’t a way to get richer or save humanity.

This guy really has 300-year goals to ‘build a road into space.’

He said, “I’m going to use my lottery winnings from Amazon to make it easy for some kids in their dorm room to build a giant space company in 100 years.”

It’s his ‘calling’ to empower the human race to take the next step and he doesn’t even expect to see it happen.

That’s one big tree to plant. One massive hairy goal.

And one that — quite frankly — I’m happy to donate to.

Getting toilet roll delivered to my door in 36 hours is like, a bonus.

 

Making Mayonnaise

A few months ago, I tried making mayonnaise.

It was a miserable and messy process, but it unexpectedly taught me something about life that I think about every time it comes out of the fridge.

Like doing anything worthwhile in this life, making mayonnaise takes time.

You can’t just sling some oil and eggs into a blender and blitz it. You could try. But you won’t get delicious mayonnaise; you’ll get a gross, fatty mess that’ll never quite wash out.

To make great mayonnaise, you have to mix the oil in ever so slowly, drip by drip. It takes effort. It takes patience. It takes measured, deliberate progress and a wrist with some stamina [insert masturbation joke here]. And you have to screw it up at least once.

Most people just fling their hopes and dreams in a blender, zhush it up, and then go back to buying Hellmann’s when it doesn’t work out.

And that’s fine. Not everyone wants to spend their time making mayonnaise. 

But if you do want to make your own special sauce, get ready to make it slowly.

Don’t mind the gap

If you’ve ever ridden the Tube, you’ll have heard a robotic voice reminding you to ‘mind the gap’ as you leave the train. 

Ignoring these words could delay the train, one of the worst crimes you can commit in the capital.

But there’s another kind of gap that we shouldn’t mind at all because it makes us unhappy.

Most people make the mistake of measuring how far they’ve come by how close they are to achieving their vision. We measure the gap between where we are and where we want to be, which is usually not as close as we’d like.

It’s far less depressing if we take the time to measure how far we’ve come from where we started; we measure our gains.

If we’re too busy fretting about the gap between where we could be and where we are, we’re missing out on enjoying all the gains that got us here now.

Don’t mind the gap, except on the Tube.

Raising the bar slowly

The current high-jump record is nearly two and a half meters (8.13ft) — a superhuman leap. 

But when Javier Sotomayor took his first jump, he set the bar much lower.

Each round, he raised the bar a little, sometimes as little as a quarter of an inch. Jump by jump, he pushed his body slightly further from the ground, until eventually, he achieved something remarkable.

Set the bar too high and we’re bound to bump into it.

But if we focus on raising the bar just a tiny bit higher at every attempt, we can go higher than we ever thought possible.

Finding motivation

What we think of as motivation is actually inspiration.

The problem with inspiration is that it’s fleeting — that’s just how it works.

We might watch a movie or read a book and be uplifted or watch someone else doing what they love, and that inspires us: “I want to do that.”

Sometimes that inspiration trickles into action. But pretty quickly, the reality of the task ahead squashes the inspiration out of us because inspiration alone isn’t enough to get motivated.

We get motivated by being specific about what we want and then going after it. We get motivated by taking small, specific actions towards our goals.

Choose to take action, and you’ll find that your motivation isn’t too far behind.

There is no finish line

A few years back, I surprised myself by getting into running and discovered something strange.

There’s a race for masochists down in Tennessee called ‘Big Dog’s Outdoor Ultra.’ It’s a four-mile loop that you run until everyone else drops out. This year , Courtney Dauwalter, ran 283 miles in just under 72 hours, non-stop.

Running an eternal loop seems crazy, but many competitors say it’s easier than running a ‘standard ultra.’ 2018’s winner said, “Because there’s no predetermined finish, you can’t think in terms of ‘how many miles do I have left? It’s always just the next loop, the next loop, the next loop. You’re never overwhelmed by what you have left to run because you simply don’t know.”

Strangely, setting a ‘finish line’ can be detrimental to growth, especially when you’re just getting started.

The best thing you can do is choose a direction and focus on putting one foot in front of the other; running today’s race as best you can.

Worry about tomorrow when you cross that starting line.

How do I figure out what to do with my life?

“How the fuck do I figure out what to do with my life?” my little sister asked the other day.

I laughed. Then I text her: lol

“Or maybe that’s just me,” she replied at the same time.

I think she knew that wasn’t true before she finished typing it.

How many people do you know who have figured out ‘what to do’ with their lives?

I know a few. But most people don’t have a clear picture of what they want to do with their lives. We have ideas about the things we want, sure.

But apart from that we just sort of trundle along waiting for something great to happen to us. I have for years.

I remember in school, it never seemed there were very many career options. As kids, you only really think of the obvious professions; doctor, lawyer, teacher, dentist, vet, fireman, policeman, postman…

Some of us head down those paths.

Most of us end up ejected off the conveyor belt education system with a stack of debt and zero clue about what to do next.

My current job wasn’t on the careers list at school. Neither are most of my friends’.

But you’ve got to pay the bills.

Don’t Look for Your Passion

In the knowledge that we have to do something, we bounce around on a rough sort of career trajectory, often in a field only generally related to the things we actually have a passion for.

I probably shouldn’t use ‘passion’, it’s a little misleading. It’s more just something you actually care about.

The point is, the pressures and demands of modern life lead most of us into jobs, rather than vocations.

And everyone knows what they want to do with their lives.

We usually just haven’t given it the thought. Or we’ve made so many excuses over the years why we can’t do it, that we’ve forgotten what it was in the first place.

Or, maybe you’re scared that doing something exciting or fun or beautiful, something that you actually give a fuck about, will never work for you.

So, we just give up and do something easy or comfortable that pays the bills and gets you the things you want to buy.

“Yh it’s quite a depressing thought tbh” my sister said.

“It could be,” I replied, ever argumentative 😉

“Gotta use it as motivation I suppose” she countered. She was right, of course.

Give Yourself Space to Figure Out What You Want to Do in Life

Everyone knows what they want to do with their lives. If you’re not sure, you’ve got to give yourself the chance and the space to figure it out.

What did you want to be when you were a little kid?

What did you enjoy?

Who did you pretend to be?

If you’re like most people, there’s maybe even a few things you love doing. The things you can talk for hours about. Or things you always wanted to explore.

But even if you still don’t know, and you’re not sure, you can always figure it out. That’s kinda the point.

“But it’s hard, coz I actually don’t know,” said my sister.

“Look at that sentence,” I said.

You Don’t Need to Choose Forever

You just need to give yourself the chance to. If you’ve been telling yourself something for years, you’re actually making it a reality.

But YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE FOREVER!

Passions can be flakey. You might think you should be doing and find you don’t actually like doing it. That’s fine. Try something else you like the look of. Life is long.

It doesn’t even have to be a career – think of it as a side hustle.

But you have to give yourself the chance to be happy.

You have to give yourself the chance to work it out. In your head.

Instead of saying, “I don’t know”, try, “I’m figuring it out.”

Or, “I don’t know, yet.”

Or, “I’m working on it.”

I promise you this is not some wishy-washy bullshit. Words are powerful things.

It’s an old saying that your thoughts become your words, become, become your actions, becomes you. Like many old sayings, it’s true.

As soon as you tell yourself something, you’re making it real.

Your brain starts looking for ways to make it a reality, and your body follows. It’s just what your body is supposed to do.

It’s the same mechanism as when someone tells you about something and you start to see it everywhere.

Two Steps to Figuring Out What You Want to Do in Life

So, step 1 is to stop telling yourself you don’t know. Instead, start telling yourself that you’re going to figure it out.

Step 2 is to stop asking ‘how’ and actually start figuring out.

Start asking yourself the key questions;

‘What do/did I like doing?’

‘What am/was I good at?’

‘What do/did I want to know more about?’

Think about the things you loved doing as a child. If you’re not sure, ask your friends and family what they think you’re good at. What questions do they ask you?

Whatever you do DON’T LISTEN to the voice in your head telling you that you’re being silly even thinking about it, that it’s impossible, that it’ll never work.

They’re wrong. They don’t know. They’re not even you.

Keep asking yourself every day. You’ll get an answer.

And if you’re still not sure, let me know and we’ll figure it out together.

But you probably already have an idea, haven’t you?

You just don’t believe you can do it.

I believe you can.


Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash