Repeat until second nature

Spent the weekend in Ottawa with the family. Normally I go down to Montreal, but this weekend I had tickets to Disney On Ice presents 3 Jungle Adventures.

Sitting there, all I could think off was, “Why do the performers do it? What satisfaction to the get from repeating the same sequence of events, in the same manner, over and over again?”

Clearly, some people do it for the money – they get a paycheque and put food on the table. Which, incidentally, is what motivates me to go to work in the morning – the realization I have a good job, rather than any deep satisfaction in what I do.

But then I think of other coworkers who show no interest in moving onto other projects or aspects of the project, who are content to work on their small piece.

I had commented that people are really good pattern matchers. I also attempted to show that we employ several shortcuts to aid us in pattern matching. Another thing people like is routine: eat the same food, take the same route to work, hang out with the same people, write the same blog topics over and over again ;-)

Why is routine rewarding for some people? And a rut for others?

Is a rut simply a routine that is not generating any sustained sense of pleasure?

And is it not generating pleasure because it is not fulfilling dreams / desires?

Certainly, my job fulfills my needs (well, some of them, anyway – like food and shelter – fairly important ones at that), but … there is always something lacking. I always feel I can give more to the world, but my job (or maybe the excuse I label my job) holds me back. Without the job, lack of security and substance would hold me back.

Sometimes I wish I could just let go and let necessity be the cornerstone of my blooming, but … necessity is what drives me to work and pay bills.


I would like to think most performers did what they do not out of routine, but rather out of passion.

If you are into acrobats and stunts, Cirque du Soleil would be the life you wanna lead. If you get high on creating and playing music, being in a band is like a dream come true.

Just like me, and probably you - if writing is in our blood, it's just therapeutic to write - and not just writing to fulfil obligations.

Passion pushes people forward and continues to spur and motivate. Where work is concerned however, because the reward may not necessarily lies in the work itself, hence to do the same kind of shit everyday - well, that's routine. The ultimate satisfaction may not be what you are doing, but what you would be getting to survive high-paced, high-cost lifestyle. Take away that, work has absolutely no meaning.

But if you are driven by passion, even if the reward is minimal or none at all, you would do it cos you simply love what you do.

Of course, like you and everyone else, I secretly desire to pursue what I love doing and wanted so much to just turn a blind eye to material and practical needs. But alas, it's not possible. Too many burdens and responsibilities rest on our shoulders, and it's always easier said than done.
I feel a bit the same way. Although I do enjoy my job (I could think of many worse ones), it certainly isn't my passion. In fact, I must admit that one of the things that makes me like my job so much is the people I work with. If I were doing the same work in a different group of people, I might not enjoy it near as much. In my mind I always imagine "retirement" as when I get to start living a purely (or mostly) passionate life, filling my time doing the things that I really want to do and in a place where I really want to do them. (I hope it's an *early* retirement.) :)
busybee said…
hmn... passion can be anything actually. We can also be passionate about earning high income (w/o compromising moral or ethic), isn't it?

Since young I have learnt to be very practical and down to earth in terms of career. Therefore, in any type of jobs I do, I worked whole heartedly with all my passion and energy so that not only I can be proud of my works but also earn higher income to help at home. :)
Richard said…
Thanks for your comments (gee ... how curt is that?)

Is it passion? or is it obsession?

I can be very absorbed in what I am doing for short periods of time (maybe upto 3 or 4 months).

I know what I like - learning about the world and how things work(from astronomy to zoology and pretty much everythign in between).

Once I understand something or see the solution to something, completing it becomes of no interest to me.

I remember the most fun I had working was when I got to just troubleshoot problems and had others who would actually fix them.
Say, that does sound like a fun job (diagnosing the problem instead of fixing it)! :)
Richard said…
MIO: Yes, diagnosing and troubleshooting is much more fun than having to do the grunt work of dissembling, replacing parts, reassembling, and testing. (That was back in my electronic days).

As a software developer, I actually enjoy debugging - which most people don't. But, I think this is more to do with the fact that they write buggy code or code they don't understand.

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