Skip to content

Why Am I Doing This?

  • by
  • 4 min read

“Why are you doing this?” People ask me this question a lot. And for good reason, because it’s very important! If our reasons for doing something are poor, we often run out of motivation before achieving our goals. Well, because I abhor articles and videos that force you to wait until the end for something, I’ll tell you: it’s so that I, personally, can connect with people more easily.

This is our mission statement after all… to help people connect through art. But it’s really a continuation of me working on a solution to a personal problem. I’ve always found it very difficult to cultivate relationships with people. Growing up, I was very good in school and somehow came to believe that I could get by on just book smarts, ignoring all other aspects of life. Let others pursue popularity. I chose to get really good at solving difficult problems instead. But that in and of itself became a big problem!

As I was graduating from college with a BS in Chemical Engineering and a very high GPA, I discovered that I was very limited from having chosen to never work on soft skills. I had one job offer that didn’t pay very well and decided to take it because I was too afraid of, and clueless about, seeking out other options. I felt totally trapped.

I then experienced the truth: that Hubris leads to Nemesis firsthand. During a difficult period in my personal life, the company I had joined ran out of money. I had only been working there for about a year. I found myself totally heartbroken and unemployed, with few friends or prospects. This period of heavy depression and internal agony led to some serious self-reflection.

I realized that I had been motivated by ugly desires. I had never seriously considered why I do what I do and was horrified to realize my true motivations. I read many books during this time that helped me figure things out. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were my closest friends. Simone de Beauvoir introduced me to a new way of viewing the world. Homer inspired me. And eventually, I was able to identify and crystallize my purpose into a single phrase: to see the Beauty in all things and to create it around me to the best of my ability.

The funny thing about that purpose is that it’s still so vague. How am I supposed to know what is beautiful? How can I create Beauty if I don’t know what it is? I realized that it isn’t up to me, Jake, to define what is beautiful. I needed the help of others. This is where art started to really become important to me.

I could have studied the theory of Aesthetics, but I’ve always been at my best working with my hands. I needed to create something that was both aligned with my purpose, and serving those around me. I found myself in this strange building on South Main Street in Gainesville, surrounded by people who were creative and technically knowledgeable, but all struggling in some way just like me. 

Version Zero of ERAS (then called the SIE) is a reflection of this time. I was working on relationships with the people around me, but they were still all rather problematic. I was doing my best, but the outcome was still not very exciting.

Now, things have improved quite a bit. I’ve gotten to a point where my soft skills are at least passable. I actually enjoy meeting new people and going to events! It’s still very taxing though, which is why it’s often nicer to interact with people over the internet. It requires much less energy than to interact with someone in person.

I think that now ERAS also reflects this dynamic: it can be a lot of fun to make paintings with people in person, but it can also be a way for people to interact over the internet when they otherwise would not. I’m excited by the possibility of other people building relationships this way! I’m sure there are people out there like me who are intimidated by the thought of going to a group painting event, but still craving some form of socializing. My dream now is that ERAS can serve all sorts of people, with all degrees of interpersonal skills, who desire to connect with each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Paint By Motors

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading