The Act Of Doing Things Sideways

Why do you do what you do? Money. Fame. Glory. These are stereotypical answers and true to varying degrees for many people, but if you are not one of those people, why do you do what you do?

I watched one of my favourite films ‘Sideways’ last night. Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it! At the very end of the film and after having made several mistakes trying to impress a woman he wants to be with, the lead character, a failed novelist, knocks on her door because he wants to have a relationship with her. He’s unsure of what the outcome will be. Essentially, he’s taking a chance as she may not be interested and he may well be rejected. Again.

And yet, the truth is that he is not there because he is expecting a positive response but because the point is for him to put himself ‘out there’ and say ‘This is who I am. I want to be with you. What do you think?’ He does it because he needs to. Regardless of the reaction.

Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones has earned a lot of money doing what he does, but after having heard an interview with him recently, such was his passion still for the guitar, I sense that he would still be playing it today whether he had been successful or not.

Maybe you love singing but perhaps you don’t have the best voice in the world, what does it matter? You don’t have to be a multi-million album selling artist to sing. If you enjoy singing, then that is what you need to do. Equally, you don’t have to be the best cook in the world to enjoy having a lovely meal but if you enjoy the act of cooking, then go ahead and cook. And enjoy it! Ideally, you may want your friends and family to like it, but if they don’t, then they don’t. That’s not why you do it. You can still enjoy cooking.

My point here is the result can be important, however, it is not everything and it is certainly not the most important thing to consider. A writer writes because they want to write. they need to write. A rock guitarist plays guitar because they need to play guitar. The act of doing, in itself, is the true motivation.

With this in mind, what do you need to do?

4 thoughts on “The Act Of Doing Things Sideways

  1. Totally understand. I run the odd workshop and was asked tonight if I made a good living doing comedy(I have at times made great money) over the last few years I’ve changed my comedy, gone political and lost a lot of work for being niche….but now new doors are opening and I’m busy again. I walked away from the money because I had to do the comedy I believed in. Never been happier. Don’t need money to achieve this. 😉


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