Monday, May 29, 2023

On striverly instincts......................

 In my field of economics, we have something called "Stein's Law," named after the famous economist Herbert Stein from the 1970s: "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."  Obvious, right?  Well, when it comes to their own lives, people ignore it all the time.  But you ignore this about your professional success at your peril.  It will leave you falling further and further behind, shaking your fist at the heavens.

     There is another path, though, instead of denying change in your abilities, you can make the change itself a source of strength.  Instead of trying to avoid decline, you can transcend it by finding a new kind of success, better than what the world promises and not a source of neurosis and addiction: a deeper form of happiness than what you had before; and in the process, true meaning in life—maybe for the first time. . . .

     A word of caution, though: This path means going against many of your striverly instincts.  I'm going to ask you not to deny your weaknesses but rather to embrace them defenselessly.  To let go of some things in your life that you worked hard for—but that are now holding you back.  To adopt parts of life that will make you happy, even if they don't make you special.  To face decline—and even death—with courage and confidence.  To rebuild relationships you neglected on the long road to worldly success.  And to dive into the uncertainty of a transition you have worked so hard to evade.

-Arthur C. Brooks, From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life

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