Time anxiety: do I need a purpose?
|Felipe Molina||Sep 8, 2019|
I have a professional dilemma. Making a career in design or starting a business?
When I have free time, I sit in my chair thinking about startup ideas or how to grow professionally.
Time does not stop. I’ve spent months doing this. I can’t decide between one or another.
But there’s a problem. It always haunts me to think about whether making a career in design or starting a business will make me happy for the rest of my life.
Time anxiety seems like a simple issue: the opportunity cost. Is it really worth doing what I do? Am I wasting my time? What makes me happiest in life?
When I read "How to Do What You Love" by Paul Graham, I understood that choosing between making a career or starting a business should be something simple. Doing what you love should be something that you think is cool. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you have to admire what you do.
In my case, I love designing interfaces. But I also like to think of new ideas. And I am always in the constant dilemma about which decision will lead me to fulfill a life purpose.
Call it purpose, vocation, path. But this matter has made me an introverted and insecure person. The anxiety that I am not doing what I should be doing is exhausting.
Making a career in design until I make interfaces for Google?
Starting a business that becomes the next Google?
Why not do both?
When I realized that I have a problem with time anxiety, I decided to look for new answers. Something that helps me face it.
I found that nihilism is the opposite. In nihilism, life has no meaning and seeing it on the positive side, that eliminates time anxiety. Why bother me? What is the output of thinking all the time about the best decision I can make?
What would happen if, instead of questioning my decisions, I live them as they are?
The truth is that this approach sounds easy to practice. But I think time anxiety is somewhat more complicated. In our society, specialization is respected and honored. You have to be an excellent doctor, an excellent engineer, an excellent designer, or an excellent programmer.
What about people who want to be excellent at everything? It is then that polymathy made sense to me. In life, we can do what we want. Being excellent at the things that inspire us. Being excellent designers and being excellent businessmen. Being true polymaths.
In history, we have had polymaths like Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Galileo Galilei. People who were excellent in disciplines that today would seem impossible to master together: languages, musical instruments, art, science, anything.
If you are someone who has experienced time anxiety, specifically about a life purpose, there is only one thing that reassures me: reading.
Feeding my vocabulary and knowledge generates intellectual alternatives to what I think. Choose specialization (time anxiety)? Stop thinking about it, and just live my life (nihilism)? Or why not just do what I want (polymathy)?
Something might fit you. We will see what happens.