There’s no greater example of absolute futility than building a sandcastle on the beach. It may be safe, for a time, but eventually the tide creeps in and it’s game over for hours of work and sweat.
And yet we do it again, and again, and again. I have never thought to even count but the amount of sandcastles that I’ve built and then watched as it was destroyed must be in the hundreds, easily.
The same with you as well, right? Every single time you go to the beach you’ve built one of them and made vain attempts to make bigger levies, larger walls, and even more intricate funneling systems to move water out of the castle and back into the ocean.
Utterly useless at the end of the day as there is simply nothing you can do about it. It begs the question, then, of why we even begin to do it in the first place? Why do we spend an incredible amount of time on our knees, building and meticulously crafting that which is and can never be immortal?
We do it not because we can (although we do, at times) but because there is joy in the toil, excitement in the possibility of lasting one more cascading wall of water, and satisfaction of working with others.
I find this to be true of many things that we do – from building businesses, leading startups, and even blogging at times.
I am not deceived as there is very little guarantee that anything will come out of anything that we do and certainly no guarantee of a necessary return (especially financial) but I (and you) continue to do it, day-in and day-out.
It’s because we believe in the world of possibility where things that aren’t are and where the invisible is made visible. We toil because we like the work of our hands and those that we get to work with. We invest our most important, limited, and valuable asset for such endeavors that may or may not last beyond us.
And we love it.
Just as I love making sandcastles with my two daughters I love building “stuff” with my partners and those that I get to do business with. What a joy. What an honor.
Futility isn’t hopeless; it just means that there’s no obvious and practical result. More often than not, as a creative, entrepreneur, and business leader, you live in a world of the impractical and not-so-obvious. There, futility can be fun.