Wednesday, July 5, 2023

"Kids! You can LITERALLY fly!"

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Here I am

Another incredibly beautiful song. This is from her pandemic "Songs from home" series. Song starts at 1 minute, but -- dog!

Saguaro after the blooms - "hats" of fruits.
(Click for larger)

Below is a section from Losing My Religions; however, this Key & Peele sketch says it all.

Passion, love, and/or dedication are not enough.

When you commit yourself entirely to the pursuit of something, that produces excellence, and that is intoxicating for people who want to be close to excellence.

–Jane FriedmanThe Business of Being a Writer 

Sorry, Jane, this is simply not true.

Same for Steve Jobs’ (in)famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”


OK, fine, you got me – this is probably not horrible advice for graduates of Stanford. They not only have a Stanford degree, but to even get in, they must have had both a privileged life with connections in addition to their vastly above-average talents.

But for the vast majority of the tens of millions of people who watched the speech on YouTube, following “your heart and intuition” is a path to disappointment and/or your mother’s basement. For every Steve Jobs or Serena Williams or David Sedaris or RBG there are countless – Hundreds? Thousands? – of people who passionately dedicated themselves to something and failed.

Yet this shit advice is so common. It feels like everyone who succeeds thinks it is just because they wanted it more. Fish-man Michael Phelps was on Colbert saying anyone can be anything they want. Sorry, but no one without once-in-a-generation physical skills will ever out-swim Phelps. And there was no way he could have then turned himself into a Tiger-beating golfer, or a Nobel- winning physicist, or a brilliant and insightful memoirist.

My life is a testament to this. In seventh, eighth, and ninth grades, I lived basketball. I ran, I lifted, I practiced before and after school. But as soon as other kids got close to my height, I wasn’t even good enough to play for a shitty school with a graduating class of 69.

And my passion to change the world, to reduce suffering? This book is testament to that failure as well.

I did meet my soulmate, but as is clear in this book, that was a lucky, unlikely accident, not as the result of passion or dedication.

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