Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career
Why will you seek refuge in human relationships as your excuse not to find and pursue your passion? You know why. In your heart of hearts, you know why, and I’m being deadly serious. You know why you would get all warm and fuzzy and wrap yourself up in human relationships. It is because you are — You know what you are. You’re afraid to pursue your passion. You’re afraid to look ridiculous. You’re afraid to try. You’re afraid you may fail. Great friend, great spouse, great parent, great career. Is that not a package? Is that not who you are? How can you be one without the other? But you’re afraid.
And that’s why you’re not going to have a great career.
Letter to a Young Gentleman who Proposes to Embrace the Career of Art (II), R.L. Stevenson
But even with devotion, you may remind me, even with unfaltering and delighted industry, many thousand artists spend their lives, if the result be regarded, utterly in vain: a thousand artists, and never one work of art.
But the vast mass of mankind are incapable of doing anything reasonably well, art among the rest. The worthless artist would not improbably have been a quite incompetent baker. And the artist, even if he does not amuse the public, amuses himself; so that there will always be one man the happier for his vigils. This is the practical side of art: its inexpugnable fortress for the true practitioner. The direct returns — the wages of the trade are small, but the indirect — the wages of the life — are incalculably great. No other business offers a man his daily bread upon such joyful terms. The soldier and the explorer have moments of a worthier excitement, but they are purchased by cruel hardships and periods of tedium that beggar language.
In the life of the artist there need be no hour without its pleasure… [The artist] may have enjoyed many things in this big, tragic playground of the world; but what shall he have enjoyed more fully than a morning of successful work? Suppose it ill paid: the wonder is it should be paid at all. Other men pay, and pay dearly, for pleasures less desirable.
“Perhaps the reason you haven’t done it yet, is that you weren’t meant to. Might achievement, as a goal unto itself, be pointless? Could this need to have done something notable, simply be greed in a more socially-acceptable form?”
Fate or Fight: Exploring the Hedonic Costs of Competition http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597812000945
We compared participants’ hedonic experiences between a free-competition condition (in which participants could equally and freely compete for the superior resource) and a binding-assignment condition (in which the superior and inferior resources were unequally and irreversibly assigned to different participants). We found that individuals in the binding-assignment condition – even the disadvantaged ones – were happier than those in the free-competition condition.
Can a Victoria’s Secret Bag Make you Feel Glamorous? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621151129.htm
“Consumers most affected by their experience with Victoria’s Secret held certain beliefs about their personalities,” the authors write. “They believe their personal qualities are fixed and cannot be improved by their own efforts at self-improvement. Therefore, they look for ways to signal their positive qualities through other means, such as brands.” People who were not affected by carrying the Victoria’s Secret bag believed that their personal qualities were more flexible and could change for the better by their efforts to improve themselves.
The More Secure You Feel, the Less You Value Your Stuff
Lemay and his colleagues found that people who had heightened feelings of interpersonal security — a sense of being loved and accepted by others — placed a lower monetary value on their possession than people who did not.
To Become Truly Rich, You Need to Stop Acting Like It
86% of all luxury vehicles are driven by people who are not millionaires. $16 what most millionaires pay for a haircut (including tip) There are many words to describe how so many people end up in financial trouble, but one stands out.
High productivity and high earning rates brought about by modern technologies make it possible for people to work less and enjoy more. Yet many continue to work assiduously to earn more. Do people over-earn—forgo leisure to work and earn beyond their needs?… We found that individuals do over-earn, even at the cost of happiness, and over-earning is a result of mindless accumulation rather than reasons such as uncertainty about the future or enjoyment of work. Supporting the mindless-accumulation notion, we showed that prompting participants to consider the consequences of their earnings or denying them excessive earnings could disrupt mindless accumulation and enhance happiness.
‘All Work’ won’t help ‘No Play’
“Researchers investigated the idea that employees who are dissatisfied in their personal lives seek ‘compensatory rewards’ through work, but found that this is hardly ever successful.
The Credentials Trap
“So, aren’t you glad you didn’t get that Supreme Court clerkship?” It was a funny question. At the time, it seemed much better to be chosen than not chosen. But there are many reasons to doubt whether winning that last competition would have been so good after all. Probably it would have meant a future of more insane competition. And no PayPal. The pithy, wry version of this is the line about Rhodes Scholars: they all had a great future in their past.
Kill Your Heroes
I think it’s a good thing to study and admire the work of others, but I think it’s counter-productive to have heroes. I say “Kill Your Heroes”. The people that we look up to are no different than we are. They still wake every morning with their own routine and their own ambitions for the day. They have the same fears, challenges, set backs, and epiphanies.
The difference is that they ship. Even if it’s something incremental, the people that we admire ship some form of work almost daily. They write, code, build, make, paint, draft, and anything else related to producing something of note.
The irony of all of it is, that once you start to be known as someone that makes, ships, and creates, your heroes will eventually come to you.
Pride is a sense of worth derived from something that is not organically a part of us, while self-esteem derives from the potentialities and achievements of the self. We are proud when we identify ourselves with an imaginary self, a leader, a holy cause, a collective body or possessions. There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising. The less promise and potency in the self, the more imperitive is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection.—– It is true that when pride releases energies and serves as a spur to achievement, it can lead to a reconciliation with the self and the attainment of genuine self-esteem. -Hoffer
The passionate state of mind is often indicative of a lack of skill, talent or power. Moreover, passionate intensity can serve as a substitute for the confidence born of proficiency and the possession of power. A workingman sure of his skill goes leisurely about his job, and accomplishes much though he works as if at play. On the other hand, the workingman who is without confidence attacks his work as if he were saving the world, and he must do so if he is to get anything done. The same is true of the soldier. A well-trained and well-equipped soldier will fight well even when not stirred by strong feeling. But the untrained soldier will give a good account of himself only when animated by enthusiasm and fervor… Where there is necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains. -Eric Hoffer
It seems that we are most busy when we do not do the one thing we ought to do; most greedy when we cannot have the one thing we really want; most hurried when we can never arrive; most self-righteous when irrevocably in the wrong. -Eric Hoffer
We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. -W. James
The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That — with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success — is our national disease.
-W. James, To H.G. Wells (09/11/1911)
Our minds thus grow in spots; and like grease-spots, the spots spread. But we let them spread as little as possible: we keep unaltered as much of our old knowledge, as many of our old prejudices and beliefs, as we can. We patch and tinker more than we renew. The novelty soaks in; it stains the ancient mass; but it is also tinged by what absorbs it. -W. James