Why Do We Do What We Do

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I just watched the movie Work It Starring Liza Koshy and Sabrina Carpenter, which is the story of a girl who aspires to go to a prestigious university in hopes of finding happiness and perhaps even purpose. She is the ideal high school student. Her marks are very high, she volunteers in the community through her involvement in the old age home and the library. She even plays the cello (that apparently no-one likes).

After an interview at said university, she learns that none of this is enough. She learns that so many other students are ideal as well and that she needs to find something that makes her different so she can be accepted into this institution.

She then begins to learn how to dance (after lying to the admissions office saying she could dance and that in fact she was a part of a dance team, an award winning one at that).

In the process, she learns to let go of her rigid routines and need to control everything. She also lets go of the idea that going to this university will make her happy. She learns to find freedom in the now. And although everything was going downhill, like the actual marks she needed to get into this damned university, the very distraction that dance was developing into was also the spring board for Quinn (the ideal student) to actually walk down a path of living a life that brings genuine joy and meaning to her life.

Although the movie may not completely encompass the difficulty of finding ones passion paired with the struggle of actual finding a university/higher education institution that accommodates this passion, it instead brings something interesting to light. Why do we do what we do? Why do we aspire to achieve the things we want to achieve? It leads the viewer to ask themselves; why do I want what I want.

“What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”

Emma Stone

Even in primary and high school, we were taught to believe that the greater the achievement one receives, the more worthy they are of belonging and appreciation and the more valuable they are. We learnt to look down on a life based on simplicity, a life which is focused on enjoying each moment, whether it’s recognized by others or not.

Perhaps, like Quinn, we might learn to let go of the rigid hold we have on getting that thing and going to that place and instead focus on remembering that what we have now used to be the goal. Where we are now used to be the destination.

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