Hobby or passion?

I was interning as a content writer in college since the past few months, and it all initially seemed so interesting and exciting to me. The thought that I would now be pursuing my favourite hobby and would probably turn it into something big only excited me more. And this was the time I would get to know how it would work out for me, I really looked forward to it and I can’t tell you how optimistic I was about it.
Well, I was wrong.
After about a month, I realised that it wasn’t really working out. It was a shock though, because I was doing what I loved, right? This was something that I had been dreaming of, and I was so happy that I could work as a content writer.
I guess I figured out what went wrong.
When I write, I like to write about any random thing I saw while walking, or write a poetry about some random thoughts that popped up in my head, and I really love doing that, even though there are little or no rewards that I get in return. It’s just something I love to do and just doing it makes me happy enough to continue writing. But the fact that I had to limit myself to the topics that not just interested me, but those that interested my superior. Dealing with deadlines, trying to impress other people, letting them judge everything I wrote was a definite pain. In the end, I realised that I was writing to please someone else, which I couldn’t do, and that was the bottom line.
Clearly, this internship did not really look appealing to me anymore. But I wouldn’t say that it was a complete waste. I did learn a very important thing: things that you love to do, that come to you intrinsically, when combined with extrinsic motivation like rewards, or certain guidelines, sure have an impact on your work. That could be for the good as well, but certainly it didn’t turn out that way for me.
I still do love to write, but I like it even better when I get nothing in return, when there are no barriers, no word limits, no guidelines, no pleasing anyone, and no deadlines. I can write when I want, about what I want and still get no appreciation, and I would be perfectly happy with that!
I know now not to mix my hobbies with my profession. But I don’t know if it’s the right thing, and I guess I have enough time to try more things and figure it out for myself.


The Comfortable Silence

It all happened this one random day..
An unexpected turn of events.
As if life, now uninterested,
turned in for experimentation.

For those of the lovely kind..
And I cannot tell-
if it was fortune, destiny,
purpose, or a simple accident.

Those faces- that only saw one another,
to greet each other
with a hello, or a good bye..
Now, could not stop speaking!

Just like those midnight dew drops,
or the optimistic morning hue,
they talked and talked
only separated by sleep.

As time played its part,
every moment became a memory.
And the faces grew,
to eventually adore each other..

To a point where no amount of differences
really mattered anymore.
And no amount of empty silence
could fill in any negativity.

Slowly, it became a task,
a liking, and a habit..
Finding the love hidden in insults,
and reading to one another so they could sleep.

As beautiful as it became,
like those delightful evenings,
and the perfect New Year sky..
the silence finally grew to be comfortable.

A Friend In Need, Not A Friend Indeed!

Consider this: A friend calls you and asks for notes just a day before final exams. You hang out with this particular friend regularly and you’re together in college as well. You both get similar grades and both of you have some sort of a competitiveness when it comes to grades. On the other hand, a classmate calls you, asking you for notes as well. You both are not that close and don’t hang out that often.

Considering the two situations, who are you more likely to help? Your friend, or a stranger?

Research suggests something very surprising in this case- that you’re more likely to help a stranger than a friend! The basic idea is that it hurts more to see a friend get more grades than you, with the help of your own notes than seeing a stranger do so.

But why does that happen?

Well, we all like to feel good about ourselves. A psychological dimension to this feel-good factor would include a constant comparison that we make between ourselves and other people. Of course, we are more likely to compare ourselves to people who are lose to us than those who are not. Therefore, a friend would turn out to be a larger threat to our self-esteem than a stranger would. This forms the basis of the Self-evaluation Maintenance Theory, according to which we would be much more helpful to a stranger than to a friend; because helping a friend would mean they might just get better than you and this would affect your own self-evaluation. Whereas, you would hardly care if a stranger did better than you, because you wouldn’t care to even compare yourself with them!

On a parallel basis, this theory explains why it hurts more to see a friend in a relationship with your ex, or why in-group competition leads to conflict in the absence of a superior threat.

On knowing this, would it be possible for us to ignore these factors and still help a friend, even though it might mean that he/she might just do better than us? I don’t really think so. Because this is where our priorities take a complete U-turn. Its clearly more important for us to maintain a good self-esteem so that we can function well on a daily basis. If helping a friend means that our self-esteem goes for a toss, we wouldn’t want to do that no matter what happens!

On the other hand, we would have seen people who genuinely want to help other people and would not mind giving everything they have, so that he/she does well in the task, even better. I think here (and correct me if I’m wrong), the collective self esteem plays its part. In this case, the individual does not measure their self-esteem on the basis of comparison with another; rather, its in association with another. Their measure of self-evaluation and self-esteem depends on, and is connected to, another person’s well being. Even though you are helping another person directly, indirectly, at some level, you are helping yourself as well.

So at the end of the day, we all want to feel good about ourselves, especially when a close one threatens our self-esteem. Even though we are naturally inclined to help others, helping oneself becomes a priority in such situations.