Why We Do It


I’ve been thinking about this lately – there’ve been many days when I feel like a salmon swimming upstream. Going against the tide, remaining steadfast against the current. When you run the finances of a large global company, you’re always on your toes, fighting for the greater good. It’s exhausting. But then you leave work, and your personal life is no different. When it’s easier to say yes to your kids, you say no to protect them. You fight for your marriage. You fight for your job. You fight for your happiness.

You’re constantly fighting.

When you can easily give up and just go with the flow.

I know a lot of people who go with the flow. And they seem to turn out fine. Life seems to bounce back for them. They seem to skate through hardships and come out unscathed.

And then there’s us.

The ones who fight. The ones who live to change the status quo. We get beaten up, we get punched down. And still we do it.

We fight.

Why do we do it? Why do we keep fighting?

In 8th grade, I was sent to Canada to study high school abroad. It was a time and a place where diversity wasn’t even a notion. I was bullied for my race. Verbal abuse, exclusion – a teenager’s worst nightmare in the quest to fit in – they were a daily part of my life. For a while, I accepted things as they were. Until the summer of 10th grade when I secretly took on a summer job to buy me a one-way ticket back home. F this, I told myself – I’m in the wrong country! I wanted to dance to my own song, sing my own words and create my own music. But then I fell in love and took a little detour from that purpose. While he took away my identity, the one I married gave it back.

I guess I was born to fight.

Twenty years later and nothing much has changed. Every single day, I wade through the BS and try to make the right choices. Most times, I make the wrong call. Some of the consequences have been negligible, but most of them have changed the way I view my life. There’s just so much to say, so much to do. And the level of respect and influence you have on other people’s lives, grows significantly as you succeed. There’s no right or wrong to having a strong conviction. But believe me, sometimes you wonder if it’s all worth it.

Amidst the doubt and exhaustion, you take a glance at your surroundings.

Your children have taken their own view of life. They voice their opinions, pursue their own goals. At work, you notice that the decisions you’ve made are beginning to bear good fruit, even if you’ve pissed off quite a few people by sticking to your guns. You become a trusted partner and are known as someone who takes calculated risks. Your friends love you more because you bring truth and authenticity. The fake ones run for their lives because you’re just too real.

Living for your truth and fighting for it, is what keeps us going, makes us feel alive. It may not always be easy, and sometimes it may take the life out of you. When you’re downtrodden and beaten, let your energy come from within. Let your convictions fill you with purpose and rejuvenate you. Be brave and know that you have something to impart to others. Set a good example. Fight for goodness and equity and love.

Next time you ask yourself, “why bother?” Look around at the people who love you, who’ve taken your words and actions as gold. Look at the changes you’ve made, the lives you’ve protected, the hearts you’ve influenced. Hold your head up high and know you’ve done the right thing.

You’re living your truth.