Boring flights induced verbage.
You hear tales of great success everyday. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice a commonly recurring theme which begins to emerge. They usually start with this person who was handed very little to them when they first started (to make an exaggerated point, let’s say they were born blind), went through exceptional struggle, and came out on top to be the best they could be – in whatever avenue they chose to pursue. Truly inspiring, yes. What they fail to articulate is another aspect of this tale.
I, like most other people I am sure, have let a lot of this go into my head. I fail to see what’s blatantly obvious. You set the origin point for such folk (due to their unfortunate circumstances or whatever) so low, that any point they end up can be construed to be a great success. Any path they tread will involve hurdles most other people (you or I) will not ever get to experience. But before you realize it, you’ve tuned yourself into believing, unless you’ve started WAAAY LOW and/or STRUGGLED REALLY HARD, you haven’t really achieved anything.
Now why am I bringing this up seemingly out of the blue? I was having this conversation earlier and well, it really wasn’t much of a conversation. It was just me bitching about how easy everything’s apparently been for me. That I’d been feeling terribly jaded and didn’t really feel like I’d amounted to anything. That anything I bothered to try, I ended up being better than most people at with little or no real toil. Picked singing — won every single contest I’ve been at and performed at a lot of cool places and national radio. Pick instruments, do similar things. Start complicated research, get enough interesting things to talk about within a short while, and be let out alone to handle myself in this kid state. Get asked by different people when I’m getting done with my studies, so I can work with them? Start publishing pictures, get noticed by reporters in large news papers and get interviewed. You know what I’m talking about. I had this large list, but rather than attempting to sound proud or stroke my ego bullet-listing life accomplishments, I was sulking and generally depressed as to how little of a challenge any of these have been. How I haven’t really experienced a thrill of achievement or success.
That on top of this, (or because I oft sounded this way) I’ve even been accused in the past of being ungrateful for all that was “handed” to me and I took for granted.
After patiently listening to me go on and on for quite a while in this manner, she said a couple of things that seem so obvious in hindsight. Whether or not my life changes tremendously as a result of these words, I am forever indebted to the effect these words had on me. She said:
1. You’re glorifying struggle and failure. I seriously doubt it will be as fun and rewarding for someone who goes through them.
2. Why does everything on that list, everything you’ve tended to mention so far base itself on intellectual or creative pursuits? Why not you try something totally different, something physical for instance. Because you don’t try things that you’ll find hard.
I was obviously floored, I don’t like being told obvious things of this sort to my face.
Whatever I say about not being ambitious or being totally content, whenever something matters to me, I never aim below extreme greatness. Whether I get there is a totally different issue. I need to be there at a point, a point most people would regard as tremendously ambitious, and yet feel just “average” about it.
Screw you world, if you design the system the way you want to, I will circumvent it the way I want to. I am going to try something hard for me, fail, try again, end up mediocre and nowhere close to greatness, and yet feel like I’ve made a huge accomplishment. So, for now, my immediate goals are set. I pick two activities I am guaranteed to suck at. Any two — I am now leaning toward something which involves some manual dexterity and creativity like painting or pottery, and another which is more physically demanding, like a sport or dance.
If neither of these seem to do the trick for whatever reason, I know something that will. I will aim to sculpt my body, a quest that does not end until I’ve matched up to the square jawed homunculi of Calvin Klein ads which threaten to make every day an existential holocaust.
Sweet sensation of relative success, here I come.
It feels good to be able to write again. I don’t even particularly care if you liked it.