The Edge of Greatness Friday March 11, 2005, 5 comments

I’m feeling very introspective today, so if you’re not in the mood to walk down some of the twisty, marginally lit paths of my mind, feel free to skip down to the cartoon girls from yesterday’s rain.

I have always felt that I exist on the edge of greatness. Sure, most people are told by their parents from a young age that they are special, that they will be brilliant, famous scientists that cure the common cold or make space travel cheap, or find a better way to make lipstick, but that’s not what I am talking about. Most people grow out of that by the time they hit highschool.

I’ve always known that I am capable of amazing things. That sounds bloody egocentric, but it’s not intended to be. I know I am capable of greatness. There is nothing I cannot do for the first time and have a natural affinity for. Positively dripping with talent, I am constantly told. Disgusting, in fact, I’m told.

The thing is, I’ve never really felt inspired to do anything with all that alleged talent. Never inspired to explore music as a serious pursuit. Never driven to make something of my artistic abilities. Never really stimulated to make something of what I am told is a unique and fresh literary style, excepting the dabbling I’ve done as a reporter of Macintosh computer news and this blog.

Someone close to me, someone I consider very smart and observant, once noted that I am without a role-model. There is nobody in the past or present that I look up to, that I aspire to emulate. And it’s true. I’ve actually looked for a role-model in the past, in hopes that the act of emulation would somehow infuse me with a desire to achieve and accomplish. But I’ve never been able to find someone that I both admire and consider role-model material. That’s either a major condemnation of history from my point of view, or a some sort of deficiency in my mental process.

As I’ve noted before in these pages, I’ve slowly come to the realization that I have been idling for a significant (maybe as much as 75%) portion of my life. At the risk of again sounding egocentric, it’s like my mind is a very powerful engine governed by a complete lack of desire to do anything. To go about my daily life takes such an insignificant effort, and has for so long, that it’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how to put myself back in gear and just do things.

I’ve been told this is the dominant aspect of the classic Type B personality. And we live in a society where being an overdriven Type A personality is considered a fundamental requirement to success. As an aside, I’ve often felt that our society is seriously unbalanced and exhibiting a decided lack of foresight. Nonetheless, I feel that I should feel guilty about being unmotivated, about lacking the ambition to put all this potential into motion and stun the world.

I feel that way despite the fact that I also often feel that this whole thing is an exercise and really doesn’t mean anything. Does it really matter if I don’t collapse the waveform on this potential and turn it into something spectacular? One one hand, I don’t think it does, but on the other, I can’t help but think it’s what I am supposed to be doing.

More psychologically minded readers will raise the twin spectres of Depression and Dysthemia, and that’s a definite possibility. I do demonstrate several of the more noticeable symptoms of both, most obviously a lack of interest in things. I don’t suffer from the hopelessness or despair associated with depression, and while the jury is still out on dysthemia, I don’t believe I am so afflicted. This is not a call for armchair psychologists to offer analysis and therapy. Just a difficult observation.

When I think about it, I find I often feel that I am on the edge of great things, standing in the shadow just outside the empty circle cast by the spotlight of brilliance. Sometimes, when I am feeling metaphysical, I wonder if this is the “All Created Equal” clause coming into effect; 100 percent talent and 0 percent desire to do anything with it equals 100 percent just as sure as 50 percent and 50 percent or 25 percent and 75 percent do.

Interesting, to me at least, is that for the first time in my life, I am actively questioning this, and doing so with an open mind. Self-exploration can be difficult. It is hard to be honest with yourself sometimes, especially after years of sloth.


Comments

caerulea Friday March 11, 2005


mmmmm….. sloth.
Actually, your self-analysis sounds painfully familiar. Maybe after you find a few potential role models, then narrow it down to one, you can give me the list of “left-overs”. At least you have a few years to go to catch up to my level of sloth.
~c

jeff Friday March 11, 2005


dude i’d love to comment more but this all hits close to home for me. i kinda like einsteins genius as a sort of role model for me

K Saturday March 12, 2005


sorry, again in german:

Ich denke, es ist schwierig, den für sich richtigen Weg zur persönlichen Zufriedenheit in seinem Leben zu finden – mir geht es jedenfalls so…

Es gibt Tage, wo einem aus lauter Langerweile die Decke auf den Kopf fällt, aber man sich trotzdem einfach nicht aufraffen kann, etwas zu unternehmen… dann hängt man stunden- oder auch tagelang in dieser Lethargie fest. Man hat Angst etwas zu tun, weil man befürchtet etwas zu verlieren, falsch zu machen oder einfach nicht den erhofften Ruhm zu ernten…

Meiner Meinung nach ist es Quatsch nach einem Vorbild zu suchen und zu versuchen es nachzueifern – vielmehr sollte man sich selbst ein Vorbild sein – nur so kann man Zufriedenheit in seinem eigenen Leben finden.

Ich hab’ das bis jetzt noch nicht geschafft und deshalb werd’ ich weiterhin versuchen, nicht in der dunklen Langenweile des Alltags zu ersticken – ob ich jemals Erfolg haben werde, steht wohl in den Sternen.

Physics Boy Wednesday April 20, 2005


No role models, but I must say, I’ve run this German car at 8000 rpm for years now. There’s no satisfaction in that either. But I dig the oil changes.

You’re one of the smartest most charismatic people I’ve ever known. Go do something you want to do.

el tigra Tuesday September 6, 2005


I learn a little more about myself every day…

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