I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. Probably the best I’ve felt in two years. I’m once again going out of my way to interact with people, as I haven’t been for the last six months or so; but I’m also not fully dependent on the interaction for my self-satisfaction, as I had been for the year or so before that. I’m interested in doing things again instead of just passing the time. I want to learn again. Programming is fun again. Video games are fun again. I’m getting more done at work. I look forward to every day and I put off sleeping as long as I can because I don’t want it to end. I feel like I did in high school.

There are probably several reasons for me feeling this way. I’m actually unsure if I’m doing more because I’m happier or the other way around. The main one, probably, is that I’m focusing primarily on myself instead of primarily on others. It’s no coincidence that I started rereading my favorite book, Atlas Shrugged, again recently. Really I mean listening, the Scott Brick narration on Audible is fantastic; his sure, simple, matter-of-factly tone fits the novel perfectly. It’s reminded me how important it is to focus on doing what I enjoy, and valuing myself on what I do and think instead of how others think or feel about me.

I came across a Cracked article today that has a similar message, though with an important difference. Its focus is on providing value for the sake of others, so that you can get others to like or appreciate you. I think that the points listed are valuable, but you should provide value and better yourself for your own sake, not merely as a means to get others to appreciate you or to become successful in others’ eyes. Dagny runs Taggart Transcontinental in order to make a profit, but the money itself isn’t her motive, it’s the action of making money, of doing her best and succeeding simply because she can, and so she must.

I don’t plan on the rest of these being this ranty or purposeful. I just really like Atlas Shrugged.