Author Topic: Realising you arenít going to do anything particularly great with your life  (Read 33427 times)

Kiwi Mustache

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Iíve uncovered Iím never going to be an a CEO or Olympic athlete. Iím never going to be a Hollywood actor, famous painter, inventor or scientist.

I'm 27 years old, in a standard role at my work earning 50k before tax. Iím in a relationship with my partner and we plan to do the standard get married have children and work to save and invest for retirement.

I feel a bit stuck. When I was in my teens and early 20ís at university, I used to be a bit naive and think I would do ďsomething greatĒ with my life. I read autobiographies of famous people doing amazing things and then compare them to my life which seems to just be bumbling along.

Iím having a quarter life crisis almost.

Anyone else been in the same position? How did you deal with it? What did you do?

BlueHouse

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There are many biographies of people who do amazing things, but there are also many of people who do many many small things, that when accumulated, become amazing.  Some of the people who do extraordinary things in small ways become famous for it, and many don't. 

I think you'll be surprised to learn that you touch so many people's lives and can have a very big impact on them. 

Coonz

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I definitely feel ya in the quarter-life crisis category. We are bombarded with way too many stories about 5yo artistic prodigies and 20yo CEOs!

I think it comes down to what you think is great. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what is important to me and what makes my life feel meaningful. For me, it boils down to having a positive impact on the people/world around me and being willing to challenge myself out societal/conventional norms. I feel "great" when I help a kid learn something new, make a friend smile, support somebody's hard work, or have nice conversations with strangers. I never want somebody to feel worse off for knowing me. The decision to live my life this way has opened up a great network of great friends that bring great adventures and great memories and great opportunities and great satisfaction.

Perhaps you need to find meaningful work- not necessarily in a 9-5 job sense, but in the sense of a life purpose. Do you have a mission statement for your life? I'm not religious, but I spent a lot of time pondering my mission statement when writing my grad school applications :).

Besides deciding to live my life as a positive and grateful person, this crisis (which I'm assuming will continue for several more years in my life) has caused me to explore new jobs, new activities, new friends, new adventures, new cities, etc. etc. I feel in "crisis" when I feel stuck. I feel stuck when I'm not enjoying life. Then I figure out why I am not enjoying life and either change my attitude or change my life.

I borrowed Wooden's "A Game Plan for Life" from my father awhile back and just started reading it a few days ago. It does contain religious notes if that is something that bothers you, but the subject is the importance of power of mentors- both seeking and providing mentoring. It ties in with what BlueHouse said about making an impact through small acts. You can do great things for other people and that may make you feel great :).

MDM

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Iíve uncovered Iím never going to be an a CEO or Olympic athlete. Iím never going to be a Hollywood actor, famous painter, inventor or scientist.
Never got to those levels either, although I did fairly well from the traditional perspective of career success.

Quote
I'm 27 years old, in a standard role at my work earning 50k before tax. Iím in a relationship with my partner and we plan to do the standard get married have children and work to save and invest for retirement.
But the thing that provides the most self-satisfaction now is seeing our children and the good judgments and successes they have.  They aren't world famous either, and we certainly can't take all the credit for what they have done, but I wouldn't trade any public award for the private satisfaction of having done "ok" as a parent. 

So, perhaps, your best is yet to come....

catccc

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I'm okay with this.  I'm just going to live for a living!  I mean, it isn't like I'm being horrible or anything.  It will be fine.  DH does not have this philosophy.  He constantly feels like a failure because he hasn't done anything really great.  I'm not sure how I can get through to him that this is okay. 

I do have kids and they certainly bring meaning to my life, but I don't kid myself that this is all that special in the grand scheme of things.  Lots of people have kids.  Am I particularly special to my kids?  To my spouse?  I'm sure.  Are they amazingly special to me?  Yes.  That's good enough for me.

I like to try lots of different things.  Jack of all trades, master of none?  That's okay with me.  I don't need to win a blue ribbon every time to feel good about myself.  At least not anymore.

Wings5

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There is greatness in the everyday ordinary. My grandfather was a great man who had hundreds of people at his funeral, but nobody will ever write a book about him (not even an article in the local paper when he passed away). He was genuine, friendly, always ready to lend a hand, and had a no-kidding money tree in his back yard with coins growing out of it.

I think the key to your happiness is re-evaluating your definition of greatness. Do not be defined by what you do, but by who you are. Maybe volunteering would help, or joining a new meet-up group. Up through your early twenties there is always something new and different just a few months or years away. You could conceivably be doing what you do today for the next 30 years. Maybe somewhere in the back of your mind the idea of having nothing new scares you and makes you feel like you are bumbling.

Yep, I was there at 22. I started a full-time job for $40k a few weeks after graduation. My first day on the job (as a fleet supervisor for a trucking company) the word I heard the most was "retirement", mainly from my well-meaning coworkers trying to give me advice. I went home thinking that everyone at my new company must hate their job if all anyone thinks about is the day it will all end. My mind was hung up on, "Is this all there is? This is going to suck."

1. I changed jobs. Part of my problem was job dissatisfaction. I hated my job and felt like it did not make a contribution to society. I did some soul searching and figured out what I enjoyed, then shifted careers. I have way more fun doing what I do now, but there are still days when I sit and wonder if I am maing the world a better place. But, we take ourselves too seriously as adults. Who says we all have to find a cure for cancer? It should be enough for us to make one person smile each day.

2. I found new hobbies. I took up Spanish, running, and things I thought were awesome as a kid, I went back into it. Mountain biking, making bike ramps in my driveway, pillow forts, animated movies.

3. I had kids. I mean, we had planned on having kids anyway, but when they came along, it helped the feeling of bumbling. New parents achieve greatness overnight (for dads, for moms it probably feels more like nine monhs). Everything you do can make their day.

It passes, and as a few have suggested it's just a matter of perspective.







Chuck

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I still think about this, from time to time. Even compared to some of my friends I feel like I haven't "accomplished" very much.

But that isn't what life is about for me. I have no desire to be a politician. Nor a CEO. I've known a couple of each, and their lives, while meaningful, tend to be filled with misery as a trade off.

I want to be free to do what I want, when I want. To spend the last 50-65 years of my life going where I please. That is the ultimate achievement for me, and it's something very few can manage, even among the more significant people out there.

lostamonkey

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I never really understood wanting to be great. You are quite fortunate and should feel satisfied.

You had parents who loved you (presumably given your naivite and feeling you could do anything), a university education, a good job, a significant other who loves you, and you will have have kids and a dignified and hopefully early retirement. You also live in one of the best countries in the world in the best time in history.

sol

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Everyone feels this way at some point.  Einstein and Obama and Bono have had these feelings.

If you are the kind of person who is only happy striving towards a goal, then strive.  Accept that no goal will ever be great enough, and strive anyway.  Then die feeling unfulfilled.

Or, if you're like most of humanity, try to accept that your purpose in life is not to meet anyone else's definition of success.  Only you get to decide whether your life has been meaningful or pathetic.  If you don't like what you see of yourself, you have the power to change it.

I almost barfed at my high school graduation ceremony when the speaker tried to convince the graduates that we were the next generation of doctors and lawyers and world-changing politicians.  No, we were a class of average white kids from an average school, and even at that age I could tell we all had average destinies.  Most of them are insurance reps or car salesman or housewives, and that is totally fine. 

What do I mean by "fine"?  Think about how awesome your life is.  You have hot and cold running water any time of day or night.  Your local grocery store contains a bounty far greater than any King or Pharaoh could ever muster.  You can fly between continents in great magical machines, and you have access to the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips and/or in your pocket.  Your life is better than that of 99.9% of humans who have ever lived.  You are immeasurably blessed.

But you don't have an olympic medal, and you never will.  And that's fine, because if everyone had one it would be just like hot and cold running water, and you'd find something else to be depressed about not having.

Tis human nature to be unhappy with what you have, no matter how amazing it is. 

humblefi

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You have already got amazing advice in the thread. I will add my small perspective on this question you have asked.

1.
First off, it is really really great that your conscience is raising doubts about your direction. This is the first step towards your personal growth. Out of this uncomfortable position will come a new beginning into a new direction.

2.
Second, adulthood brought out an interesting phase in my life. Right from kindergarten to when I started my first job, things were pretty much scripted for me...elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and finally work. I kind of had the same set of friends through high school and some new ones in college and all of whom kind of followed the same path. So, when I started work, I realized that the scripted path has ended. I need to decide which job to pick and decide my own future. I needed a new meaning for life! This was a bit scary at first since I was taking a direction which most of my friends were not...but, I took it.

3.
The important thing to realize is that I did not know if it would work. In fact, may of the decisions I have taken since then have *not* worked out. But, that is okay. The entire life is about picking a new direction and working towards it. After 5 years or some number of years, you may pick a new direction and work towards it. Every time your conscience complains, it is time to search for a new direction OR at the least exploring what is unsettling you in your current life...this is what I believe. Life is about the search for new meanings and the only way you know what it is is by trying out a few things.

4.
Every time you think you have a new direction, take 10% of your time in life and explore it. For example, I once thought a sales career was very interesting. I took some courses in sales and did very well and I figured I can easily do it. But, I wasn't ready for the people manipulations that one has to do in sales career. I.e. this new direction did not work out, but that is okay because I did not let go of my current work i.e. I am a conservative person. Some people let go totally and explore a new direction. It all depends on their personality. Try a couple new directions and see how it works out. Maybe you will discover the next direction for your life.

5.
One note about FI. FI is about building a platform to explore new directions, without worrying about survival. You need not wait for FI to explore new directions...use the 10% time to explore new directions before FI...as you get more FI, you can increase your FI towards 100% and at FI, you have 100% of time to explore new directions.

Hope whatever I said is helpful. Best of luck in your search for new meaning!

BCBiker

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I truly believe that anyone can change the world if they are motivated and have a meaningful idea! This is the pursuit of significance that I think is reasonable. You may not be successful but there is great pleasure to be gained from trying.

Many people pursue significance in inappropriate ways that actually can make you less happy.  Two that immediately come to mind are the pursuits of fame and fortune.  The pursuit of fame can make one terribly unhappy because success is difficult to duplicate and you create a craving within yourself that cannot continue to be satisfied.  The reason that facebook consistently makes people unhappy is because it often becomes a pursuit of more attention. 

The same can certainly be said of the pursuit of money for its own sake. 

Becoming Mustachian has taken me a long way from this pursuit.  Pursue money to allow you to do things with your life rather than pursuing money is one of the take-home messages I get from people in this community!

Here is a great essay I read several months ago related to happiness and the feeling of meaning in the world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/opinion/sunday/arthur-c-brooks-love-people-not-pleasure.html

2Birds1Stone

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Great piece!

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BCBiker-- many thanks for that link. Great article and very thought provoking read.


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deborah

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Well, I have had my moments of fame. I think anyone can represent their country in something - not the Olympics - but other things. I am not yet dead, so someday maybe I'll "make my mark" - even though I don't really want to.

I don't look like someone who represented Australia, and was on television world wide, seen by audiences in their millions, and was so recognisable from that time, that people stopped me in the street. The fact that they all asked me why I was singing the wrong words to a song in the finale, rather than commenting on my performance, shows you what people REALLY remember!

So don't worry about all this stuff - it's pretty silly really!

happy

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Our society is fairly obsessed with high achievement, and goal focused outcomes. The Guiness book of records has now taken this to ridiculous extremes. Three thoughts:

"Being" is as important as "doing".  (?more important).

Achievement can be measured in different ways : it might be adherence to a set of personal values in situations of adversity: e.g. integrity, honesty, courage, caring for others etc.

Many great achievers did not do too much till mid-life or laterÖit seems a little premature to decide that you aren't going to do anything particularly great with your life. You just don't know what opportunities will come up, or how you will respond to them. Heh even MMM is just some frugal retired dude "typing shit into the computer"ÖI'm sure he didn't envisage how it would all expand in advance.

Spondulix

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I've been there. I think the thing that helped me was learning what I would have to sacrifice to be significant. I have a friend who is in my field and I would call her work significant. I got to join her for a work day, and by the end of the day I was like, "I have no interest in this." When I took a step back, I saw that the people who were "significant" (in the way I wanted to be) sacrificed family (not seeing kids, divorces, etc), worked all the time, didn't have quality relationships. All they had was that "significant" work.

That shift really happened after I got married (at 27). Before then, I was totally career focused and things never quite went where I expected. I let go as I realized I was significant to the people closest to me, and that's more important now.

gooki

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You will do many little things that will make you awesome.

I'm not one for internal reflection, but found happier.com to be a great tool (in private mode).
https://www.happier.com/app/community

Mark Manson has some very good articles surrounding this subject. My personal favourite is:
http://markmanson.net/question
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 03:11:28 AM by gooki »

kaposzta

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I believe you can definitely achieve great things in your life:

- You can live a full, happy life with your family and friends
- You can write one or more books (everyone can write something good - I'm thinking about writing children's stories)
- And some minor but very important accomplishments: plant a tree, travel a lot (even to neighboring cities), give money or attention to the poor, read a lot, find one or more hobbies, etc., there are a million more things

Who would want to be a CEO, gold medalist or celebrity, if they can achieve something way more special?

steveo

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I believe you can definitely achieve great things in your life:

- You can live a full, happy life with your family and friends
- You can write one or more books (everyone can write something good - I'm thinking about writing children's stories)
- And some minor but very important accomplishments: plant a tree, travel a lot (even to neighboring cities), give money or attention to the poor, read a lot, find one or more hobbies, etc., there are a million more things

Who would want to be a CEO, gold medalist or celebrity, if they can achieve something way more special?

This is a good way to look at it.

hodedofome

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Plenty of people didn't do anything significant until after 50 years old. Keep plugging away, don't give up, and I'm sure something will come around that you enjoy and will be good at.

My grandpa got several patents for his inventions after retiring as a teacher. He never made any money from it, but enjoyed creating stuff and it gave his life plenty of meaning until his 90s when he couldn't do it anymore.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 11:07:05 AM by hodedofome »

Allen

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Iíve uncovered Iím never going to be an a CEO or Olympic athlete. Iím never going to be a Hollywood actor, famous painter, inventor or scientist.

I'm 27 years old, in a standard role at my work earning 50k before tax. Iím in a relationship with my partner and we plan to do the standard get married have children and work to save and invest for retirement.

I feel a bit stuck. When I was in my teens and early 20ís at university, I used to be a bit naive and think I would do ďsomething greatĒ with my life. I read autobiographies of famous people doing amazing things and then compare them to my life which seems to just be bumbling along.

Iím having a quarter life crisis almost.

Anyone else been in the same position? How did you deal with it? What did you do?

Welcome to average.

Watch Fight Club, have a beer, and then  decide what You want to do with Your Life.

Exhale

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Great piece in Leo Babauta's zenhabits on this titled "The Source of Contentment" => http://zenhabits.net/source/


SK Joyous

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Everyone feels this way at some point.  Einstein and Obama and Bono have had these feelings.

If you are the kind of person who is only happy striving towards a goal, then strive.  Accept that no goal will ever be great enough, and strive anyway.  Then die feeling unfulfilled.

Or, if you're like most of humanity, try to accept that your purpose in life is not to meet anyone else's definition of success.  Only you get to decide whether your life has been meaningful or pathetic.  If you don't like what you see of yourself, you have the power to change it.

I almost barfed at my high school graduation ceremony when the speaker tried to convince the graduates that we were the next generation of doctors and lawyers and world-changing politicians.  No, we were a class of average white kids from an average school, and even at that age I could tell we all had average destinies.  Most of them are insurance reps or car salesman or housewives, and that is totally fine. 

What do I mean by "fine"?  Think about how awesome your life is.  You have hot and cold running water any time of day or night.  Your local grocery store contains a bounty far greater than any King or Pharaoh could ever muster.  You can fly between continents in great magical machines, and you have access to the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips and/or in your pocket.  Your life is better than that of 99.9% of humans who have ever lived.  You are immeasurably blessed.

But you don't have an olympic medal, and you never will.  And that's fine, because if everyone had one it would be just like hot and cold running water, and you'd find something else to be depressed about not having.

Tis human nature to be unhappy with what you have, no matter how amazing it is.

This.  This.  'Average' in our privileged position is beautiful, fulfilling, and can be amazing every single day with the right attitude.  Thank you Sol.

I'm a red panda

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I think this is a common problem with the older millenials.  We were raised to believe in our dreams, and you can be whatever you want, and everyone is special.  Well, the thing is- not everyone is special. Most people aren't. Unless your dream is to be a mid-level office worker, you probably won't get to be whatever you want.  Imagine if the whole generation got to be astronauts and the president of the USA like we were all told we could be...it just can't happen.

It was hard for me to come to terms with this, because I was a bright overachiever as a child. I did a ton of volunteer work, I made a difference. And now, I don't.  It was especially hard because I had a near-death accident, and lots of people would tell me "God kept you around for something special."  You know how much pressure that puts on a person?  As far as I can tell, God kept me around because there was too much processing at the Pearly Gates that day, because I'm average and ordinary.

Maybe your mission in life is to smile at a person who was having a bad day, who will then go on to have a better day, go home and cook a nice dinner for their wife, who will then have "special time" and give birth to the person who ends up curing a rare form of cancer. You'll have never known that you made a difference, but perhaps without that smile the bad day would turn worse, and the cancer never cured.  The universe is weird. 

Just figure out what you want to do and go for it. Don't worry about being the best at something or being known and famous.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 11:52:26 AM by iowajes »

HenryDavid

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I remember the day my mother told me her expectations were fulfilled when I managed to avoid any jail time by the age of 30.
So, expectation levels differ.
Not doing anything evil is already better than some people.
Being a good friend. Setting a decent example for kids who know you.
That kind of stuff is way more valuable than all the celebrity success CEO by 30 BS our culture spews.
Ordinary living and appreciating life is plenty good enough. Don't let anyone tell  you different.

DSA

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I'm in computer science, and one big issue for many people, especially if they're part of the whole Silicon Valley startup world, is the obsession with "change the world!" "disrupt everything" and all that. There's a weird sense that if you're not some awesome 10x rockstar ninja programmer working on the Next Big Thing That Will Revolutionize X, you're not doing anything worthwhile.

I read a nice post about this concept a while back:
http://www.moreright.net/on-saving-the-world-and-other-delusions/

Quote

On Saving the World and Other Delusions
Posted on March 8, 2015 by Athrelon
1.

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who suffered a crisis of faith of sorts. His startup, which initially had an extremely ambitious, world-altering business plan, had to retrench and start to find a more modest product-market fit. He was upset, not so much because of decreased prospects for a big dollar exit, but because, as he put it, ďif Iím not trying to save the world, whatís the point of all this?Ē

[...]

For a long time I regarded the save-the-world thing as a basically harmless motivating delusion, the nerd equivalent of the coachís pre-game pep talk where he tells your team that, against all odds and in the face of all objective evidence to the contrary, you are a bunch of winners and are going to take home the division trophy. But seeing my friend having his motivational system semi-permanently warped was something of a wake-up call, and got me thinking about how to avoid being sucked into that attractor. Itís tough because the tools of quantitative analysis that underpin this change-the-world heuristic are valid and indeed valuable. But these observations suggest that we should be wary of how easy it is to smuggle in the assumption that our benchmark should be a totally unrealistic amount of efficacy. And at the same times they argue for keeping a diversified life-meaning portfolio Ė you should include things like family success, physical and emotional quality of life, human relationships, and even relative social status as part of how you measure your life.


Alim Nassor

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Be amazing to your wife and children and children's children.  That's way more important than being a CEO or an Olympian.

Gone Fishing

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Iíve uncovered Iím never going to be an a CEO or Olympic athlete. Iím never going to be a Hollywood actor, famous painter, inventor or scientist.

I've known some of these types, none of which seem very happy.  Instead, I'm looking for the deep satisfaction that comes from charting your own course on a daily basis.  On occasion, I do find myself wishing for just a little fame, especially when people talk about how successful so and so is.    But then I remember how fickle fame is. Today's front page is tomorrow's litter!

Pyrroc

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TL;DR

If making a difference meant that you had to make it with a big splash or fame, maybe you should look at why you thought you needed that.

You can make a difference without hitting "The Big Time".

Numbers Man

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Watch the movie "Big Fish". That movie might enlighten you.

RFAAOATB

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What great things do you want to do with your life?
I know I want to be a deca-millionaire, have a child, get promoted to management, and create a life of unbridled luxury beyond the typical median experience.  I also want to be Wikipedia level famous and have a statue of my image built. 

My athletic days are behind me.  If I train hard I might be able to win another local MMA fight.  If I invest all my mental energy in getting to physical condition I can get more bling for my National Guard career.  In a few years I might get promoted to management at my office.  And the power of compound interest should get my net worth to decamillionaire within 50 years.  Then I can afford my statue or do some internet famous worthy project like write about every town in some state or have myself elected mayor.

But first we need to get the money.  Once you've scratched and saved your way to financial independence, there will come a choice when you get to decide if that's enough, or if you want to go BIG.  Don't lament not doing anything particularly great until you get to that point and decide enough.

Killerbrandt

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I had the same mindset out of college! I wanted to be a CEO or big shot. Even when I joined the government, I wanted to make it to the top! But after seeing all the top people stress so much and work crazy hours missing family and friend events, I decided to just find a comfortable job that allowed me to have free time to do what I wanted. It took awhile to figure that part out, but I want to be able to travel the world with my wife and friends. I want to experience as many cultures as possible and see all the amazing natural wonders with my wife and friends. Therefore, I am staying debt free so I can travel right now and at the same time putting over 60 percent into investments, so I can retire early and travel even more.

Good Luck figuring it out!

MrsPete

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This.  This.  'Average' in our privileged position is beautiful, fulfilling, and can be amazing every single day with the right attitude.  Thank you Sol.
Yep, I think the "I am so unique and special that I will do something outstanding with my life" comes -- in part -- from the not-so-old philosophy of "every kid gets a trophy". 

I'm thinking of a teacher friend of mine who's about 30 now, and she laughingly says, "I'm a winner.  All my friends are winners.  Everyone in my generation is a winner.  Even when we compete against one another and someone loses, we ALL win.  We feel this entitlement to win, be right, be successful -- even when we aren't winners, aren't right, aren't successful -- deep down in our bones.  It doesn't matter that the facts are stacked against us -- in our minds, it is a fact." 

It sounds better when she says it -- humorous and sarcastic, and spot on truthful.


I'm a red panda

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Yep, I think the "I am so unique and special that I will do something outstanding with my life" comes -- in part -- from the not-so-old philosophy of "every kid gets a trophy". 


What is so weird is when I was a kid (I'm just a bit older than the OP)- we were taught we were so unique and would go on to outstanding things; but not everyone got a trophy, and often there weren't participation ribbons. You had to do something to be a winner. But everyone was encouraged that they'd find the thing they won at.

 Though I do remember M&Ms changing to "You are not a winner" instead of "You are a loser" on their awards packaging.  So the pandering was starting...

OR

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Great question and great reading material.  Thanks everyone.

gillstone

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The story of the Millennial Generation.  We were told we were so bright, so special, so wonderful that each of us could be a world-changing individual.  Unfortunately the reality of life and statistics is such that not every single person can be above average.  The message was well-intentioned, but poorly delivered.  It built up self-esteem, but it ignored self-efficacy. 

Rather than being told that you have control over your fate and that your decisions do make an impact on your life, we were told that we would all be super awesome special unicorn-riding CEO lawyer doctors.

I sympathize with the OP.  I've been there.  I came to terms with it by realizing that the messages fed to us as kids resulting in us holding goals that were unrealistic and to a certain extent, not really our goals.  If the mark of success is being CEO or President of the United States, then the goal of City Council or small business is too small to be considered a real goal. 

I realized that what I wanted was not a big job title before 30 (learned that by having it and promptly regretting it).  I realized that I wanted to have a job where I could say I did some kind of good over the course of my career while still being a present and active father and husband.  I wanted to be a part of my community, not leader of the free world.

Take a minute to think about what you really want to do with your time and put aside voices that say what you ought to be when you "grow up".  There is nothing wrong with having an uncool job if its what you find to be fulfilling and its at a place you can be happy.

mollyjade

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Here is a great essay I read several months ago related to happiness and the feeling of meaning in the world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/opinion/sunday/arthur-c-brooks-love-people-not-pleasure.html
Thanks for posting that.

MissMoneyBags

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The thing about the people who achieve these great things, is that they have incredible drive. They will do ANYTHING to achieve their goals, including selling their own grandmother. That drive usually comes from an unhappy place (bullying at school, bereavement, poverty, unloving parents etc).

I know a famous billionaire, and he's the most unpleasant man I've ever met. I seriously doubt he's in any way happy. The world will remember him, but everyone around him are there because he pays them - including his partner and family - he has no kids. I just don't see his life as being something to aspire to. Regardless of how much money he's made, and how much he's achieved, it looks empty to me.

Philociraptor

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Posting to subscribe so I can come back and read later. I too struggle with meaning issues. I don't really see the point in living, but wish to avoid pain and therefore death. I feel like I'm simple aimlessly wandering through life. I do like the idea of not having to go to work each day though, so I'm working towards that. Goals help.

EricL

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I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

- Sheakspeare

SK Joyous

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This is an interesting take on this topic (not sure of the various posters' demographic)

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html

arebelspy

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- Sheakspeare

Ozymandias was by PB Shelley, not Shakespeare.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Rural

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Normally I wouldn't post about Motgomery Gentry. But the concept of "a life you can hang your hat on" is worthwhile, I think.


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PXg8E0kzF1c

mozar

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You most certainly still have time to do any or all of these. People become famous by starting something and persevering for long periods. What's sad to me is people saying they didn't achieve something by 30 so it can never happen. Even prodigies often don't get famous until after 30. I had an acquaintance who wanted to marry her partner but she was 30, so it was never going to happen. WTF?

For the record I was famous for two years for being a CEO of a company that went viral. Trying to keep up with the demand meant working 40 hours a week on top of my 40 hour a week day job. I was interviewed often and at the height I was quoted in the NY Times.  On top of that I had constant pressure from my local community to keep doing what I was doing because I was a catalyst for change in my city or some bullshit. The city was changing anyway. It was so gross to have people throwing themselves at me because I was "famous" and I had these new "friends" who just wanted to "pick my brain." I got so burnt out that I quit everything and didn't leave my apartment for four months.

When I was a kid I was showing talent for singing. I performed in concert with Bobby McFerrin and performed on a studio album. I had no desire to continue in that unstable lifestyle of constant touring.

Sometimes I feel that drive to work towards something amazing again, but then I dial it back when I remember how much work it is with no guarantees.

I also want to point out that the vast majority of famous people had a huge head start in life. Beyonce's parents are involved in the industry and new who to introduce her to. Kerry Washington and Gweneth Paltrow went to the Spence school for girls. One of the most prestigious k-12 schools in the country. The point is these people were already rich before they got famous. So start now, and in 15-20 years you could be famous.

BlueHouse

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There are Olympic sports that you can learn know even at this late stage and still become Olympic material. Biathlon and curling are two that come to mind. I haven't given up on the dream of becoming a biathlete yet.

Annamal

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Iíve uncovered Iím never going to be an a CEO or Olympic athlete. Iím never going to be a Hollywood actor, famous painter, inventor or scientist.

I'm 27 years old, in a standard role at my work earning 50k before tax. Iím in a relationship with my partner and we plan to do the standard get married have children and work to save and invest for retirement.

I feel a bit stuck. When I was in my teens and early 20ís at university, I used to be a bit naive and think I would do ďsomething greatĒ with my life. I read autobiographies of famous people doing amazing things and then compare them to my life which seems to just be bumbling along.

Iím having a quarter life crisis almost.

Anyone else been in the same position? How did you deal with it? What did you do?

For what it's worth, you live in New Zealand...it's possible to do great things simply by virtue of the fact that we are in a small place in terms of the wider world (and to a certain extent we still admire those who dedicate their lives to others.

Look at Sam Johnson and the student volunteer army after the earthquakes or Sister Loyola in Wellington http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/gardening-with-soul-2013

I would count both of those people as doing great things with their lives.


Gerard

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I think you can be slightly world-changing or semi-famous, if you choose that path instead of some of the excellent ones that other posters have suggested.

Pick an area that's small or that doesn't offer the potential for great wealth, and you may find that you're better, or better organized, or more caring or thoughtful, than many other people who chase that particular goal. Then PERSIST. Most successful indie bands, or small publishing houses, or highly focussed charities, don't succeed because they're unnaturally awesome. They succeed by pushing on through difficult times, remaining true to their values, and being good to people around them for so long that they develop the skill and reputation to do wonderful (if not always gigantic) things.

MrsCoolCat

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but there are also many of people who do many many small things, that when accumulated, become amazing.

+++2!!!
Good luck. I had a "mid 20s crisis", too, but eventually got over it by focusing on the smaller things in life. I like animals. One day I want to volunteer at an animal shelter. This is just one example.

MsPeacock

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This is a great thread - made my evening.

I think a common (maybe) fantasy of early adulthood is the wish to be a "rock star."  Fame, recognition, changing the world, something...

And then things change - you maybe have kids, or you go to grad school, or your brain matures (sorry - but it is still maturing in your 20s), or you start to feel your age physically (get those marathons out of your system before you turn 40) - and suddenly you realize that the small things you do matter. That our world is made of up of individual actions. Some big, some small. Some few will get the chance to make gigantic impact - they will be presidents or Nobel prize winners, or inventors. But most of us will be average. Yes, it matters if you compost, or you give $10 to charity, or you are kind to a stranger who needs help, you are a good friend, or you "do the right thing" - even if it doesn't lead to fame, or wealth, or whatever. What you do matters. Who you are matters. It all matters and it is all something and it is all "great."
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 08:16:56 PM by MsPeacock »

aschmidt2930

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The real question should be, do you want to?  Many people "want" to be a CEO, or invent the next product as revolutionary as the iPhone, but these accomplishments typically come with a high price.   That price can be decades of your life spent in pursuit of a title.