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The Thing You Can’t Not Do

Great Egret (Ardea alba) on Morro Strand State Beach, CAA lot of people want to know what their life purpose is. A lot of people want to achieve something great. And, a lot of people want to find out what it is they truly love to do.

So, they go looking for that thing.

But, they have it backward. They should look at the things they already do. And more specifically, they should identify the thing they can’t not do.

You probably do it everyday. But you probably don’t recognize it. Because you think that everyone else does this thing too. Or, you think that you’re not really doing anything.

But that’s only because this thing is so natural to you it doesn’t seem like you’re doing anything. But you are.

About six years ago, I realized that I did something that I couldn’t not do. I had been doing it for years, since I was 12 or 13 years old . But I never thought anything of it.

I realized that pretty much every day of my life, I would experience something or observe something or read something and then, no matter where I was, I would begin to think about it.

I would think about why it interested me. I would break down its parts and see how they all fit together. I would ask questions about it. I would examine all parts of it until it left me with a question, or an insight or a better understanding of why something is.

I would do this automatically, simply because I was so interested in what I had just seen. I was drawn to it. I never tried to do it, I just did it because it was something I couldn’t not do.

One day, I began to write down some of these thoughts. And those thoughts later turned into blog posts and then short stories and then novels. And wouldn’t you know it, all of the sudden, I was a writer.

And, to think, that for years I never even acknowledged what I was doing.

So, what do you do, every day, that you can’t not do?

Creative Commons License photo credit: mikebaird

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  1. Nice blog post! I’m a script supervisor on film and commercial sets so my job is to watch for continuity. I have to make sure everyone’s hands are in the right places, that people do the same action for each take with the lines. I also have to take down many other pieces of information. Anyway, my whole life I would always remember where people put their keys or exactly what someone did when they told me something. Growing up, when someone would be screaming around the house”where did I put my keys!?!?!” I would always tell them that they came in the door, looked over to the fridge, said we need to by more milk, walked over to stove, put the keys down next the spoon with their right hand and then went back to the fridge to see what else was in there. I would always see “moments” with action and words. This is exactly what I do for work and I love it so much. I never realized that people don’t think in “moments” like I do until I was older. Everybody has that one thing they think is normal but is SO not. Its a wonderful tool to realize 🙂 Keep up your great blog!


  2. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    Hi Jonathan – This is a great example and a really interesting story! Sounds like you are perfect for your job. Thanks for sharing.

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