Why I give my time and energy for free

2014

There’s this thing in Lithuania called MIDI Roko Operos (Rock Opera). It is organized by my faculty and has been happening since 2000s. What they do is find talented people, form a unique team of performers and organizers (usually ~100 people), then make exclusive, one-time performance. It’s about non-professionals doing quite professional thing. Pretty cool, check it out on youtube.

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I got into this more than 2 years ago, started as a director’s assistant. Last year I was the director myself. This year I’m the producer of the whole thing. I lead the team of 13 team leads. Each of them has his/her own team. It’s an incredible privilege to be in such position. It’s also a huge responsibility and it takes big chunk of my time, thoughts and energy.

And it pays nothing.

Why do it then?

I could tell you about this being probably the biggest opportunity in my life to create (at least so far).

I could tell you about the incredible experience working with so many talented people.

I could tell you about premiere night, when this thing that you and your colleagues have been obsessed with for the last ~9 months comes to life for just a bit more than an hour and then it’s gone.

Or I could just say it’s all about people, people and people.

We are social beings by nature, right? Most of us thrive among other people. As hard as it might be to admit in individualistic culture that we live in. “Everyone is unique and special”. Yeah, well, they forgot to mention that you should also be useful and interesting.

Maybe this is common sense to you, but I made this discovery only a couple of years ago. Being a part of something bigger than you is good. Of course, you have to make sure that you are not part of something stupid. You also have to be certain that this thing is not only pretty awesome, but something you believe in. When you got that sorted out - it’s a breeze.

It offers external motivation. I would argue that in this age of internet, work-at-home employees and self-help books we rely too much on our inner motivation to do shit. And frankly, we are terrible at motivating ourselves. An old fashioned external kick in the ass goes a long way.

To get better at probably anything you need to do something unpleasant. It’s hard because it hurts. And why would you ever want to hurt yourself?

This is where other people come in. They just don’t give a fuck where your comfort zone ends, they have their own problems to worry about. They need you to shut up and do your job. And you better do it, because letting them down will hurt even more.

And so you do. And you become better at it. And it’s not even that bad.

Get someone to push you as hard as they can. Or at least become a bit of an asshole to yourself.

Or don’t, I’m not a cop. I just know that it worked for me.