Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Do you have the courage to be a nobody?

From Jim Perskie in the Washington Post:

I figured out early on that I wasn't cut out to be a neurosurgeon or fighter pilot. So I kinda aimed low my whole life. It worked for me. Sure, the world needs some ambitious people. But it's worth noting that ambition has given us products like New Coke, men like Donald Trump, and war after war. Ambition certainly doesn't seem to make the ambitious particularly happy. By definition, they cannot be content with who they are and what they have. And the world seems to encourage them to inflict their desire for advancement on the rest of us. So to all you ambitious folks out there: Enough. I'll gladly concede that you all 'win.' Just leave the rest of us alone.

How you doing compared with your neighbor? The people you went to high school with? How much money do you make? What kind of car do you drive? Are you famous?

Those are a lot of questions I know I've asked myself through the years (and come up on the losing end with my answers), but now I'm reconsidering even asking those questions anymore.

Does it matter how I compare with anybody else? It can, in a negative sense. I know that much. Time and time again I've made myself miserable asking them. So why do I do it?

Good question.

Which leads to another question: Can a person live without comparing himself to others?

Yes. But from my experience it's very hard to do. But oh, the results are so worth it.

Because when I don't compare myself to anybody else I am fine! Yes, fine. Just the way I am. It's a remarkable thing. My job or my car or my significant other, whatever they may be, are just dandy. It's so freeing.

Give it a try. I promise you it will feel good.


  1. Interesting topic , largely due to the fact that it goes against the grain of just about everything that is thrown at us.
    I suppose the struggle for me or question is where do we draw the line? Is how well we develop or "hone" our skills,considered ambition, or is that being a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.

  2. Thanks Martha. Yeah, where is the line? But the thing is most people don't even ask that question. It's all just Go go go.


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