“As you “read to lead” remember that this is the time to put the pedal to the ground. All “great” people take the time from laurels to actually use the paranoia of not winning to assume that you are losing even while winning.” -The Executive*
The best part about working under people who have been we’re you have been and understand how you think is that they are able to articulate concepts that you are just coming to terms with. With both Tucker and TheExecutive, I’ll find that they will say things or encapsulate feelings that I’d thought were unique to me. Literally, exact words and phrases that I’d been too self-conscious to open up about.
The one above, I remember discussing with the girlfriend months ago–as though it was a bad thing. I was attempting to make sense of what I felt was a serial lack of satisfaction. That at each of my last major crests during the last year, the enjoyment was fleeting. It wasn’t recognition that I enjoyed but the chase. And that when I could have been coasting or tasting the fruits of labor–all I felt was it slipping away. So you can use that to your advantage, let that drive you. At my age–at 20–do I deserve laurels? Where would I get off coasting? Such a sense of entitlement is no different than the selfishness that propels people to laziness and lethargy.
In never taking the heat of, you press on harder while everyone else is resting. When the “scared to death of reality” crowd is spending their parentally funded year in Europe, I’ll be out doing what I love–setting the framework for a lifetime of it instead of taking a deep breath before going under. As the self-congratulators stop moving in order to pat themselves on the back is exact moment at which you can sprint ahead. It’s sort of an internal Peter Principle that infects people. They rise to the equilibrium where accomplishment and a diminished fear of failure meet and find comfort and insulation. It’s what creates 35 year old assistants and permanent middle-managers. The allure of security is there for those that want it, but if you want to rise to a position of power, connection and wisdom then listen to the quote from a man who has been there.
I’ve felt this way for a while. I finally realized that it was that tendency–to never stop and say “It’s safe now, I can walk.”–that has separated me from others. But the benefit of the mentor/protégé relationship is the ability to have these conclusions validated. Or in other cases, to have mindsets corrected and paths set straight. I like to be very cognizant of the fact that I could have easily gone the wrong way. What if I’d decided that I had a problem, was too driven for comfort? Instead of being here in Hollywood, writing I’d be at home like every other summer, having worn out my welcome in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As you gravitate towards those who understand you–whatever you happen to be–you’re able to eliminate much of the trail and error aspect of it. When Aurelius said that we ought to look at time and how little we have of it, I think he had this in mind. Cut waste ruthlessly, always look for ways to avoid dead ends, and when you do fuck up, learn all you can from it so you don’t have to do it again.
Of course there is a very fine line between being driven and being obsessed. If that sense inadequacy never goes away then you are chasing an addiction. If accomplishment is the only cure for depression then it is the depression that is the problem. I have been there. Sometimes I feel like I am still there. But that fear is healthy, for there is nothing noble about being a dressed up endorphin addict. You don’t want to be Sammy–you want to know why you’re running and be proud of it.
*I’ve been scarce on the details of my new job, but I got permission to write about some of it. My boss doesn’t want to be named so we’re going to call him TheExecutive and we’ll call the company TheAgency.
Ah, so you’re going to continue chasing until you take over the world huh? ;-]
I’ve been reading your blog since its inception and I must say it keeps getting better and better. I can tell that the move out to LA has been good to you. That is when the content and style of your writing really changed. Its clear you are growing exponentially as a writer and a person.
I would agree that fear of failure can be a driving force, maybe it is THE driving force. But what propels me onward also is anxiety and worry about not having everything done, about taking things too easy.
The people who tell me to take it easy, that I take things too seriously, or that I should relax, smoke a joint or whatever – they are ALWAYS the type of people you describe, 35 year old assistants and the like. They can be cool people, but they don’t understand the fire because they never stoked it.
An aside: I’ve been catching up on your posts, reading the archives. I never used to actively look for comments on your posts until I began to see that you participated in the discussion. I’d just like to validate your post about good internet PR by a woman with her blog, and how she would email readers and such. I only really post here with the hope of engaging the writer of the work, or validating them for a good peice (knowing that they read their comments). A validation point and a comment on the RMMB was all it took to make me a devoted fan of some already great work.
Qwan–You’re right. I have LOVED the move. Maybe it’s just because I’m from a shitty place, but I actually like Los Angeles almost as much as New York City.
Joseph–That’s a good point too. I think the fear of failure would include the fear of leaving something on the table, of not getting everything you could have gotten. And thanks for noticing, I try to respond to everything I can. Keeps you sharper and forces you to elaborate on the ideas from the post which I like and need. It’s also a large section in a big PR doc I’ve been working on for the Rudius authors–if you aren’t going to bother contributing to a community based around you, why should anyone else?