Author Topic: Realising you arenít going to do anything particularly great with your life  (Read 38984 times)


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Somebody mentioned being a rockstar.

I have a friend who was a genuine rockstar in the late 60's early 70's (I won't mention his name). We have had several conversations about that lifestyle and how great it must be.

Over lunch one day he explained just how "great" it was... NOT.. yeah, made millions of dollars, snorted millions of dollars, slept with lots of girls he can't remember and its a wonder he is still alive.

He is now happy but broke... Most of his friends from that era died pretty young.

He told me that during that time of the constant grind of touring and living on a bus that all he wanted was to have a little house in the country with a wife and family!.. What??

I guess the moral of the story is the grass is not quite as green as you might think on the other side. Of course as a MMM, if I was a rockstar there would be no way I'd end up broke (at least not through poor financial choices).
LOL, this reminds me a lot of a friend of DH (who played/toured with some famous bands in the 70s-80s). He had a lot of trouble getting work after that because he had no real work history! He went into credit card debt because of it, and had to take a job "working for the man." He spent his 40s and 50s slogging the way a lot of us talk here (but in our 20s and 30s). I remember talking to him on his 60th birthday and he was like, "I've done some cool things, but now I just want to meet a nice girl and settle down." It's always felt to me like he's living in reverse... :)


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The way I look at it, the goal of all life on earth is pretty simple. You are successful if you help keep the species alive. For humans today that means:

1. Reproduce and create humans better than yourself
2. Contribute your unique skills to the world. Don't be selfish. It doesn't matter if it's great customer service at a retail store or you discover the cure for cancer. Give what you have to offer.
3. Live by the golden rule, don't judge people, and be polite. Kindness can really make people happy which is a powerful emotion.
4. Advocate your ideas for shaping our society in the future. If you believe everyone should stop driving cars for a better tomorrow, get out there and try to influence other people to create significant change.

You quickly realize that people that achieve amazing things can fail at the most simple tasks of a successful human. How many great CEO's and inventors get caught up in greed and actually make the world a worse place? Maybe that famous athlete is a total a$$hole to their fans, family, and friends. There are the superhumans in this world who do it all in great ways but if you follow the advice above you can rest assured you are doing more than average.


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I've been a CEO and a CEO's boss. I've been a successful athlete and had friends win Olympic gold. I've achieved success in government and academics. I've known self-made multi-millionaires. I've met celebrities. I have more money at my age than 99%+ of people on this planet. I have a lot of accomplishments.

But I also feel like I haven't lived up to "my potential". And won't. Even with the accomplishments, I don't feel like I've done enough. I wonder if I ever will.
I've heard some investors say that they look for that drive in entrepreneurs - people who "succeed" at business because they can never live up to their own potential. They just continue to keep pushing and driving themselves harder because they have to prove to themselves.

The thing is... isn't that unhealthy? I used to have that mindset and it put me on a fast track to being at the top of my industry. Then I burnt out, which was when I realized that the voice in my head was 1. perfectionism, and 2. self-doubt and shame.

So it's funny - I used to think I'd never meet my potential cause I wasn't working hard enough, and it was driving me to work harder. Now, I accept that I won't meet my potential, but because it's ok, the drive is gone. I enjoy what I do, but I sorta don't care anymore. It's strange.

Yeah. I think most people who "succeed" tremendously at something have some significant and insatiable drive to do that particular thing, and they just can't do anything else but dedicate their life to that thing. It often seems somewhat unhealthy from the outside, but who knows. A good example is someone like Steve Jobs. The only thing that mattered to him was what he was doing in business. I'm unable to characterize exactly what that drive was since I can't get inside his head. Maybe it was to be "insanely great", or to produce products people loved, or to produce products he loved, or to be incredibly successful at business, or something like one of those. But the result was that he was a workaholic and an intense personality and pushed everyone around him really hard. But he's just one very public example. There are so many scientists, researchers, politicians, small business owners, etc, who are just as singularly focused. Often the rest of their life is neglected or nonexistent.


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I’ve uncovered I’m never going to be an a CEO or Olympic athlete. I’m 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. I’m 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 20’s at university, I used to be a bit naive and think I would do “something great” 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.

I’m having a quarter life crisis almost.

Anyone else been in the same position? How did you deal with it? What did you do?
Hm.  Well, I have a couple of decades on you (turning 45 soon).  All my career I've done whatever I wanted - learn new things, advance, get promoted...until a couple of years ago, when I hit the glass ceiling.

Wow, that was painful.  At one point then, I had to make a decision.  If I wanted to move up, REALLY move up, I'd have to fight tooth and nail for it - and fight against some pretty big prejudices and pre-conceived notions and just general thoughts on where women do and don't belong.

Boy, a younger me would have stormed the castle, so to speak.

I realized, though, that if I did that - there was still no guarantee that I'd get anywhere in the male engineering establishment.  And it would take a lot of time, and effort, and pain, and suffering, and 60 hour work weeks. I had to make the specific decision to NOT do that.  To drift along in my current job where I can spend time with my kids.  Maybe I can move up later, when they are older and I'm 60.  Oh wait, I'll be retired then.

It's not about being "great" or doing something awesome - it's - what do YOU want?  What do you REALLY want?  And know that there are always compromises to me made.  Rarely do you achieve some definition of "greatness" without giving something up.  Always a tradeoff.

It's still difficult, not gonna lie.  I've seen men who can get promoted without having to do 60 hour weeks.  But what is "great" anyway?  Is it solely career/ work related?  Does it matter if you make it to the top of the career ladder if your kids don't even know who you are?

Man, when I sit down and have these crazy conversations about WWII or the Japanese tsunami with my 9 year old, or when I have full conversations about squirrels with my toddler, or when I finally figure out how to program something at work (I am NOT a programmer!!), I get such pleasure.  That is success to me.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 12:34:22 PM by mm1970 »

Kiwi Mustache

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I'm just re-reading this post that I did three months ago in March. An update on what has happened since then;

After lots of research and conversations with many people I've decided that my current career path is the one I want to be on. Supply chain/logistics is something I've built up "career capital" in and that is where my study and skills lie. I enjoy the type of down to Earth people the industry attracts. I've analysed many different levels of people in my company and the higher you go up the company, it seems that more the more money/prestige people get, they have more hours, more stress and less time to pursue health, family and hobbies. I think I've got to the point where I realise what I achieve inside of work and outside of work both matter considerably. As long as I've got a challenging role that I'm not bored in, have work colleagues that I get along with and that isn't too far away commute wise from where I live I'll be happy. I still want to be a distribution centre or transport hub manager one day. However, if I reach this milestone by 40 or 50 years old it isn't a big deal as long as the journey I'm enjoying what I'm doing.

I'm thoroughly enjoying commuting to work. Health and fitness and being able to get outdoors are big priorities for me. I'm prioritising this much more and focusing on reducing stress, reducing how much I fit into the day and just being content with commuting by bike, doing stretching and a few exercises at home. I'm also joining a gym chain to improve my muscle and feel stronger (I've never lifted weights before). I'm simplifying what I eat and cutting out anything that isn't natural or healthy for me. This will improve my overall health and well being and I enjoy cooking it.

I've got pre approval all sorted from the bank and am in line to purchase an investment property (with the help of equity through my parents). I've tried shares for several years but my interest has always been in property investment. I'm feeling really confident about this and love learning more about it. I've put into place a budget in Excel which I've been very slack about recently so am going to track all income/expenses and net worth. I'm really enjoying keeping track of this. I've also joined a property investor association who holds weekly meetings on information and case studies which I'm finding incredibly helpful.

Since my original post, I've done a skydive, done a fly fishing and day hunting trip, joined a few groups on areas that interest me such as personal finance and hiking.

I'm also clearing out a lot of things that I own that give me no satisfaction. Selling them online and freeing up space and stress of owning them has been liberating. I'm basically focusing on everything that makes me happy and ruthlessly getting rid of anything that doesn't. This has involved things like reducing my Facebook friends list from 300+ people down to 50 of my closest friends and family, reducing the amount of things I fit into each week, the amount of books I skimmed through, the commitments I got no benefit out of.

I've also moved house. I live in shared accommodation (just rent a room) and felt that a new suburb and new house-mates would get the cycle of living a new breath of life kick started.

I put so much pressure on myself to be super successful in the money, fame, power sense that I was just driving myself into a sense of depression and anger for not having things that others had that I'd compare myself too.

I still haven't figured everything out. But I feel like the path I'm on is getting clearer by the day. Not putting so much of my self worth into my career and rather just trying to live a full and intentional way of life is making a big difference.

Bob W

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Good for you


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I put so much pressure on myself to be super successful in the money, fame, power sense that I was just driving myself into a sense of depression and anger for not having things that others had that I'd compare myself too.
Very well stated. I remember after having a similar crisis (at 33) my mom said to me, "aren't you glad you figured this out at your age - and not at the end of your career? You could be looking back at decades and regretting all the things you missed out on."

There's a great book by Gail Sheehan called "Passages" that talks about the different priorities we have at different stages in life. Sometimes we have a crisis when we're moving from one stage to another.