A few weeks ago, I made a vlog. I filmed myself walking around and making dinner. It was fun and pointless. Someone asked me why I did that, and I didn’t have a good answer. I settled on, uh just because.
Every now and then, I interview people on this here blog. They are incredibly interesting (for me), but it takes a long time to set up the call, think of questions, record it, and transcribe. Sometimes I get asked why I go through all the trouble. And the answer I usually give is, uh I don’t know, just because.
The other night, I was walking down the street. I decided that walking was boring, so I skipped. I skipped for a good thirty seconds, and it was awesome. Why did I do that? I don’t know.
The theme here, if you couldn’t already tell, is that I like to do pointless stuff. And I think we should all dare to be a little more pointless.
Not everything we do or create needs to have a purpose, or an end-game, or a massive audience. We can just do stuff for the sake of … doing stuff.
Take blogging – I’ve seen a lot of friends, a lot of writers, a lot of people start a blog. And the vast, vast majority of them do not last more than a few months. This is, I think, due to one of three reasons:
- People have something building up in them that they want to say. So they spend a week writing, like, five posts a day. And then they get everything out there and they have nothing left.
- Other things come up and it just falls by the wayside.
- No one reads their stuff, so what’s the point?
When you start a creative project, you want attention. That’s just human nature. And when you put your heart and soul into something, and you start to realize that no one cares, then it’s very difficult to press on.
But here’s the thing – pointlessness shouldn’t be a deterrent, or a criticism. As long as you enjoy doing something, and you’re not committing a crime, then you should embrace pointlessness.
And sometimes, pointlessness turns into something really amazing. Like smart phones. I remember explaining smart phones to my parents:
So, like, you can download all of these apps, and you can browse the internet, and check your email.
And they were like: But you still have your laptop, so what’s the point?
And then I remember explaining Twitter to my parents:
It’s, uh, this thing where you write Tweets, but they have to be 140 characters or less, and you can follow other people who also write Tweets.
And they were like: That sounds stupid, what’s the point?
And then I remember explaining Uber to my parents:
You can order a cab on your phone and it gets paid automatically.
And they were like: But we have regular cabs, so what’s the point?
Basically, any time I explain something to my parents and they think it’s pointless, I immediately invest ALL OF MY MONEY into it.
I imagine similar things were said about radio (what’s the point, we have live theater) or cars (there’s no need, we have horses), or written word (this is stupid, we can pass on our stories orally!)
Luckily, there are people out there who first embraced the pointlessness of something, and shared it with the world.
But yeah, most of the pointless stuff we do doesn’t turn into something that changes the world. And that’s OK. I think we all need to be pointless a little more. That’s really the whole point of this blog. Which is to say, there’s no point. As the tagline says, I write about stuff. Why did I write about James K Polk that one time? BECAUSE HE IS A VASTLY UNDERRATED PRESIDENT. And also because I just wanted to. I don’t have an end-game. I don’t expect James Polk’s ancestors to phone me up and personally thank me (though I would love it if they did). I don’t expect millions of people to read my crap and shower me with compliments. That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m just looking to enjoy my time the best way I can. I like creating stuff.
If we stop asking why, maybe we can do a lot more things.