“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.