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Thread: Ambition to succeed or pathetic excuses to fail?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Ambition to succeed or pathetic excuses to fail?

    Let’s face it, we don’t do achieve what we don’t want, even if we say we want it. Instead, many of us (as humans) just try to take the easy way out and go down the path of least resistance in the short term. However, ambition is only fuel and needs to be used correctly to achieve greatness. Much like hi-octane gas, it can be used to power a racecar or burn down a school. Ambition through physical activity such as practice or education is the only way it can be helpful. Otherwise, it is just fueling insanity.

    Author Geoff Colvin talks about this at length in his book, “Talent is Overrated”. He talks about how so many people have overcome amazing adversity to achieve greatness through pure ambition and determination. It is the only way to explain people like Roger Banister, Jerry Rice, Steve Jobs, and countless others.

    I fear that there is a lack of it in parts of society today. There was a homeless guy who is a bit notorious in our neighborhood who will has a bag of lies he tells to others for money. Sad thing is if he were half as ambitious about making something out of his life, he would be tremendously successful. Instead, he spends so much time working to deceive people to get what he wants.

    Too many of us just use the pathetic excuse of “I can’t” instead of “I will.” More often than not, the only difference is the ambition that we put forth. Over Christmas season, I heard a person say “I can’t afford to get out of debt, as they are sucking down a cigarette with a beer in their hand.” Another said, “I don’t have time to learn a new trade” when they know that if they had more knowledge, they could get a better job that does not require as much overtime to pay the bills.

    How do we control our ambition? Ask yourself if there is something that you wanted to do, but have not, and be honest with yourself as to why you have done achieved it yet. What drives your ambition? Is it your spouse, your children, your faith, your community, or something else?
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Let’s face it, we don’t do achieve what we don’t want, even if we say we want it. Instead, many of us (as humans) just try to take the easy way out and go down the path of least resistance in the short term. However, ambition is only fuel and needs to be used correctly to achieve greatness. Much like hi-octane gas, it can be used to power a racecar or burn down a school. Ambition through physical activity such as practice or education is the only way it can be helpful. Otherwise, it is just fueling insanity.

    Author Geoff Colvin talks about this at length in his book, “Talent is Overrated”. He talks about how so many people have overcome amazing adversity to achieve greatness through pure ambition and determination. It is the only way to explain people like Roger Banister, Jerry Rice, Steve Jobs, and countless others.

    I fear that there is a lack of it in parts of society today. There was a homeless guy who is a bit notorious in our neighborhood who will has a bag of lies he tells to others for money. Sad thing is if he were half as ambitious about making something out of his life, he would be tremendously successful. Instead, he spends so much time working to deceive people to get what he wants.

    Too many of us just use the pathetic excuse of “I can’t” instead of “I will.” More often than not, the only difference is the ambition that we put forth. Over Christmas season, I heard a person say “I can’t afford to get out of debt, as they are sucking down a cigarette with a beer in their hand.” Another said, “I don’t have time to learn a new trade” when they know that if they had more knowledge, they could get a better job that does not require as much overtime to pay the bills.

    How do we control our ambition? Ask yourself if there is something that you wanted to do, but have not, and be honest with yourself as to why you have done achieved it yet. What drives your ambition? Is it your spouse, your children, your faith, your community, or something else?
    It's very easy to be judgemental, which is the tone of your post, when you have never faced real adversity.

    Not everyone is born physically and mentally healthy or into loving and supportive families with enough resources to enable children to achieve success. Not everyone is born into a culture that encourages individuals to acquire the skills needed for success in today's society. Not everyone has the psychological strength to overcome the adversity that life can throw at people. How much of your "success" can be attributed to your being born a healthy, white, middle-class male?

    Moreover, there are lots of different definitions of "success". Many supposedly "successful" people in terms of career and/or wealth have disastrous personal lives.

    Specifically, to your examples:
    • Many homeless people, especially the long-term homeless, suffer from various mental illnesses or from alcoholism, which is a disease not a "choice" or a moral failing.
    • Tobacco is probably the most addictive drug in our society, and tobacco advertising has been pervasive and insidious. Any addiction takes significant will to break, and not everyone can do it.
    • If someone has to work lots of OT to make ends meet, how is he/she supposed to find the time and the money to learn this new trade? It sounds easy to you because you don't have to decide between working OT and paying the gas or electric bill.

    Not everyone who struggles in life is deserving of sympathy and understanding, but neither is everyone who doesn't live up to your high personal standards deserving of your sanctimonious scorn. You need to walk a mile in somebody else's shoes before you criticize how he or she lives. You might take the phrase, "there but for the grace of God go I" to heart.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    It's very easy to be judgemental, which is the tone of your post, when you have never faced real adversity.

    Not everyone is born physically and mentally healthy or into loving and supportive families with enough resources to enable children to achieve success. Not everyone is born into a culture that encourages individuals to acquire the skills needed for success in today's society. Not everyone has the psychological strength to overcome the adversity that life can throw at people. How much of your "success" can be attributed to your being born a healthy, white, middle-class male?

    Moreover, there are lots of different definitions of "success". Many supposedly "successful" people in terms of career and/or wealth have disastrous personal lives.

    Specifically, to your examples:
    • Many homeless people, especially the long-term homeless, suffer from various mental illnesses or from alcoholism, which is a disease not a "choice" or a moral failing.
    • Tobacco is probably the most addictive drug in our society, and tobacco advertising has been pervasive and insidious. Any addiction takes significant will to break, and not everyone can do it.
    • If someone has to work lots of OT to make ends meet, how is he/she supposed to find the time and the money to learn this new trade? It sounds easy to you because you don't have to decide between working OT and paying the gas or electric bill.

    Not everyone who struggles in life is deserving of sympathy and understanding, but neither is everyone who doesn't live up to your high personal standards deserving of your sanctimonious scorn. You need to walk a mile in somebody else's shoes before you criticize how he or she lives. You might take the phrase, "there but for the grace of God go I" to heart.
    I have worked with the homeless off and on for the past few years with church groups and you are correct in your statement that some people do not have the mental capacity to overcome their illnesses. However, having come from a family that has had multiple alcoholics, smokers, and people that for a period of time, have had no ambition what so ever, including myself, I have walked miles in the shoes that you are referencing. Especially when it comes to dyslexia and ADD.

    However, you are correct in one aspect of my post. I am being judgmental, but it is not against those with the issues that you reference. I am being judgmental towards the "successful" banker who works 90 hours a week and has a terrible home life, but needs to because he lives WAY beyond his already excessive means. I am being judgmental to the recent high school grad that mooches off his parents and has never bothered to go get his drivers licences and is too lazy to hold down any stable job. I am being judgmental towards any person who knows that they can do better in life but does not even try, but instead settles for the "good enough" illusion. Success is not being wealthy, but knowing that you are doing the best that you can in every aspect of your life, all the time.

    There is a story about an older contractor who was leading a crew working on a house in a new subdivision that his boss owned. He put in the minimum effort everyday and frequently cut corners on the construction of the house thinking, "oh, that is good enough" and not doing much beyond that. When it was all finished and he went into his bosses office to pick up his pay check, and along with the check he found the deed to the house. His boss had given it to him as a bonus for years of service to the company. All that time he had been cutting corners on what became his house. Too often this is a common occurring as no one has the ambition to achieve excellence anymore since "good enough" is easier to achieve.

    When I was 15 and working on my first car, someone would comment "Oh, don't worry about that, it is good enough for your first car." But for me, knowing I was going to be the one driving it, good enough was not acceptable.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:1-5
    Last edited by kjel; 02 Jan 2012 at 9:57 PM.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    You play yourself out as a "Christian" but OMG you are so judgemental. It apparently hasn't occurred to you that not everyone out there has this burning (non-Christian) dsiere to be RICH RICH RICH which seems to be your only (again,non-Christian) goal. Get off the RICH life-floaty, MIke. When you're not so freaking obsessive,llife is a lot nicer. You need to put more effort into advancing in your job/career instead of amassing those riches which are probably not a good thing Bible-wise...It is good to be financially responsible,but not to preach crap when you are parroting someone and if you were so "right", shouldn't you be retired on your RICH RICH investments by now:

    Lucky for you the wife has a good job.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    You play yourself out as a "Christian" but OMG you are so judgemental. It apparently hasn't occurred to you that not everyone out there has this burning (non-Christian) dsiere to be RICH RICH RICH which seems to be your only (again,non-Christian) goal. Get off the RICH life-floaty, MIke. When you're not so freaking obsessive,llife is a lot nicer. You need to put more effort into advancing in your job/career instead of amassing those riches which are probably not a good thing Bible-wise...It is good to be financially responsible,but not to preach crap when you are parroting someone and if you were so "right", shouldn't you be retired on your RICH RICH investments by now:

    Lucky for you the wife has a good job.
    I appreciate your comments, but I am not sure what I said got you all worked up.

    As I referenced in my response to Linda_D, success has nothing to do with money. In fact, I specifically say that success is not being wealthy, so I am not sure where you are getting that idea. I know plenty of people who are "RICH" but are total failures. Money does not equal success. I don't know any way to explain it any way other than that, and success is something different for everyone. It is just so sad that in today's society, there are so many people who don't have the ambition to achieve their own personal idea of success, only to settle for something that they could have achieved if they worked harder for it.

    As an example of what I am talking about, Patrick Henry Hughes and his father are examples of people who are successful because their ambition was far beyond their limitations. Patrick Henry is in a wheelchair, is an exceptional musician, and a trumpet player in the University of Louisville marching band. They found a way for him to participate regardless of his disability. His father works nights so he can attend practice with Patrick Henry during the day. His father learns all the movements to the routine so his son can participate in something that most people take for granted. The success of these two amazing people have nothing to do with making more money, but giving a kid in a wheelchair a chance to follow his dream and be part of the marching band.

    kjel, I acknowledge my error in being judgmental. I am also working each and every day with a specific purpose to achieve my own personal success which include becoming fiscally responsible and debt free, a better father, a better husband, and a better catholic, than I was the day before with deliberate and measurable goals, steps, and processes. I have ambition to be a better person in every aspect of my life and will not let my personal limiting beliefs (pathetic excuses) to hinder my process. It however appears that there is a good part of society out there that is just willing to settle for far less than their dreams.
    Last edited by michaelskis; 02 Jan 2012 at 10:48 PM.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    It however appears that there is a good part of society out there that is just willing to settle for far less than their dreams.
    And that is their choice, it is part of free will that God gave us. You tend to paint with a broad brush, over generalize and over simplify. People and their reaction to their to their circumstances is a complex issue. Further, ypu do not know what lead the person to that point.

    FWIW, my dream was to be an assitant director in either Michigan or the Chicago suburbs. I also planned to have a house, family and dog. As it is, I have a great job with a great boss in a great area that is not the Midwest, things change. I have been to places I never thought I would go, seen things I never thought I would see, and done things I never thought I would do. I have contributed to people's lives in way I never thought I would.

    People may have plans, but God has the final say. All things work toward His ends and His goals.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I'm going to answer your question - what drives my ambition? Raising my children and being as available to them as I can at this time drives my ambition. There's some history behind this that I won't go into, but I work at a job that I enjoy, and that is flexible enough that I get time off when I absolutely have to be with one or more of my kids. It doesn't pay much, but that's the trade off. So, I'm not rich, and live mostly pay to pay, but my kids are turning out well; so far, I'm successful.

    I'd be careful labeling peoples' excuses as pathetic. You don't know their stories, and, frankly, they may feel as though they have to offer some kind of excuse to people with the attitude that you described. Some people are happy achieving just what they need to get by. Some people don't have the ablities to do more than getting by, but the jobs they fill are usually jobs that need to get done for the benefit and convenience of the rest of us.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I am being judgmental towards any person who knows that they can do better in life but does not even try, but instead settles for the "good enough" illusion. Success is not being wealthy, but knowing that you are doing the best that you can in every aspect of your life, all the time. (snip)

    It however appears that there is a good part of society out there that is just willing to settle for far less than their dreams.
    Mike, as I think was already mentioned, not everyone has a dream of being a successful banker or a rich business person. Some people are content with their lives as they are, and while maybe you or I or whomever doesn't understand that, it's their choice and so it's ok (see my caveat below ). It's also ok that you yourself strive for more than that. Everyone has different priorities and different things that motivate them. I think it's awesome that you have the personal goals you have established for yourself. In all honesty, they are a lot like my own. You listed the goals that you are working on each day; what's important is not what motivates others, but that you keep working toward your goals. Trust me, it seems that sometimes (more often than not lately ) I get frustrated with others close to me because I don't get what they are thinking/doing, but at the end of the day if it doesn't affect me I have to learn to not worry about it (which hasn't been easy, but I'm working on it). I'm trying to reinforce to myself that if I worry about everyone else, that is time spent not doing what I can for myself or my daughter.

    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I am being judgmental, but it is not against those with the issues that you reference. I am being judgmental towards the "successful" banker who works 90 hours a week and has a terrible home life, but needs to because he lives WAY beyond his already excessive means. I am being judgmental to the recent high school grad that mooches off his parents and has never bothered to go get his drivers licences and is too lazy to hold down any stable job.
    Don't forget there are two sides to every story - the parents need to stop enabling their kid to be lazy and the wife needs to step in and be an advocate for her family to help create a better home life. What I personally get judgmental about is the family and the wife in the above example that would complain about the situation but do nothing to try to change it. Maybe this makes me a complete jerk but I don't have a lot of sympathy for people that constantly complain about a situation that they themselves have the power to change so I totally get Mike's frustration with people not doing for themselves (again, absent any mental/physical issues). For me, I'm sure it all stems from a chip on my shoulder because I have had to work very hard to get where I'm at with little to no support and it hasn't been easy and at times it was downright horrible, but I still did it.

    My biggest source of frustration as of late is when a certain family member has only one person working in their household when there are three other able bodied people in the home not working (no mental/physical illness, no addicitions, etc.) They all have smart phones and the most expensive cable but yet they call my 98 year old grandmother for money for their electric bill and rent each month, and now my grandmother has no money left in her savings. My grandmother complains about it but still goes without in order to help them; if I called and asked her for money she would probably give it to me. Does this directly affect me - absolutely not. But it angers me so much that they have the ability to improve their own situation yet choose not to, and instead take advantage of someone else in order to sustain their preferred quality of life. I really don't understand the fact that most of them don't work, but it really isn't up to me to understand - it's up to them on how they choose to live as long as they can manage it themselves (that was my caveat from above!).

  10. #10
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    Mike, as I think was already mentioned, not everyone has a dream of being a successful banker or a rich business person. Some people are content with their lives as they are, and while maybe you or I or whomever doesn't understand that, it's their choice and so it's ok (see my caveat below ). It's also ok that you yourself strive for more than that. Everyone has different priorities and different things that motivate them. I think it's awesome that you have the personal goals you have established for yourself. In all honesty, they are a lot like my own. You listed the goals that you are working on each day; what's important is not what motivates others, but that you keep working toward your goals. Trust me, it seems that sometimes (more often than not lately ) I get frustrated with others close to me because I don't get what they are thinking/doing, but at the end of the day if it doesn't affect me I have to learn to not worry about it (which hasn't been easy, but I'm working on it). I'm trying to reinforce to myself that if I worry about everyone else, that is time spent not doing what I can for myself or my daughter.

    Don't forget there are two sides to every story - the parents need to stop enabling their kid to be lazy and the wife needs to step in and be an advocate for her family to help create a better home life. What I personally get judgmental about is the family and the wife in the above example that would complain about the situation but do nothing to try to change it. Maybe this makes me a complete jerk but I don't have a lot of sympathy for people that constantly complain about a situation that they themselves have the power to change so I totally get Mike's frustration with people not doing for themselves (again, absent any mental/physical issues). For me, I'm sure it all stems from a chip on my shoulder because I have had to work very hard to get where I'm at with little to no support and it hasn't been easy and at times it was downright horrible, but I still did it.

    My biggest source of frustration as of late is when a certain family member has only one person working in their household when there are three other able bodied people in the home not working (no mental/physical illness, no addicitions, etc.) They all have smart phones and the most expensive cable but yet they call my 98 year old grandmother for money for their electric bill and rent each month, and now my grandmother has no money left in her savings. My grandmother complains about it but still goes without in order to help them; if I called and asked her for money she would probably give it to me. Does this directly affect me - absolutely not. But it angers me so much that they have the ability to improve their own situation yet choose not to, and instead take advantage of someone else in order to sustain their preferred quality of life. I really don't understand the fact that most of them don't work, but it really isn't up to me to understand - it's up to them on how they choose to live as long as they can manage it themselves (that was my caveat from above!).
    This is exactly what I am talking about. You did not accept excuses and thus far, you have been able to succeed! As for the person you reference, I think many of us know someone similar to that. I know someone who is brilliant and her husband has unbelievable potential but for a long time they were messed up with drugs, always broke, and there was a risk of their kids being taken away. Today they are both working, they live in another city away from the bad influences, and are talking small but progressive steps. The fact is it took them hitting bottom before they had the ambition to improve their lives. Will they ever be able to buy a Bentley with cash, doubtful, but I believe they will be able to put their kids through college.

    Can someone point out in any post that I have ever put on here that where I said that the only definition of success is being wealthy? People keep bringing it up and I would like to better understand why they believe that I think that.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  11. #11
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Can someone point out in any post that I have ever put on here that where I said that the only definition of success is being wealthy? People keep bringing it up and I would like to better understand why they believe that I think that.
    Your OP set the tone.
    I fear that there is a lack of it in parts of society today. There was a homeless guy who is a bit notorious in our neighborhood who will has a bag of lies he tells to others for money. Sad thing is if he were half as ambitious about making something out of his life, he would be tremendously successful. Instead, he spends so much time working to deceive people to get what he wants.

    Too many of us just use the pathetic excuse of “I can’t” instead of “I will.” More often than not, the only difference is the ambition that we put forth. Over Christmas season, I heard a person say “I can’t afford to get out of debt, as they are sucking down a cigarette with a beer in their hand.” Another said, “I don’t have time to learn a new trade” when they know that if they had more knowledge, they could get a better job that does not require as much overtime to pay the bills.
    Note, all of the examples you gave were monetarily-related. It was only after you were put on the defense and had to scramble to salvage that you attempted to provide some other definition of 'success'. Plus, it seems many if not most of your threads seem to have frugality, piety, or wealth-building as dominant themes, suggesting these are the dominant concerns in your life and form your world-view. Am I wrong?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Note, all of the examples you gave were monetarily-related. It was only after you were put on the defense and had to scramble to salvage that you attempted to provide some other definition of 'success'. Plus, it seems many if not most of your threads seem to have frugality, piety, or wealth-building as dominant themes, suggesting these are the dominant concerns in your life and form your world-view. Am I wrong?
    My original post also mentioned Jerry Rice and Roger Banister. Both were athletes and one did not make much if any money but both worked against the odds to achieve greatness. I also believe the two examples had their priorities out of whack. The second was more about time than money. That person lived a very basic life and worked a contractor. He hates his job and is always complaining about it. But he is unwilling to do anything to change it.

    Yea, you are kind of wrong. My posts are more about personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility including my constant hatred of debt, influence of faith, history, and real freedom.
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    If you are really interested in this issue of “success,” I really encourage you to read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” which is about exactly that. He looks at a wide range of scenarios that result in true excellence – people who stand out (outliers) from the crowd because of some type of “success.” Success is defined as meaning many things in different situations – from athletes to airline piloting – but he does an excellent job of identifying the factors that lead people to excel.

    The two central aspects that stood out to me as key ingredients to success (whatever that is, as defined by the people themselves) are practice and opportunity.

    Practice means perfecting a skill, or set of skills, over a long period of time. At something like 10,000 hours of any task – shooting hoops or practicing a specific type of law – people achieve a level of fluency that generally distinguishes them from the crowd.

    Opportunity means being in situations, and being able to take advantage of situations, that forward your goals. This is a tricky one because it is very much the case that many people with tremendous raw ability or even ambition never become the great success people may suspect. Just being a genius is not enough (and one such example is profiled in the book). You need opportunity as well. Some opportunity is self-made and others are circumstantial. But it has to be there for success to occur.

    People do not succeed entirely on their own, even though we like to recount stories that seem to suggest as much. People have help, opportunities, and if they are lucky, have the time and chance to practice, practice, practice. But so much can get in the way, and we are fallible and corruptible humans. People grow up in dysfunctional home settings, making it very difficult to take advantage of or even see opportunities that do come their way. People do suffer real hardship. People get pregnant, lose their jobs and are unsure whether they should move or stay where they are. Or they make decisions they believe will lead to some form of success, only to find that the situation has changed once they get into it (imagine being a builder in Florida – maybe you even go to school, get a degree to be a General Contractor, and then find that the market is self-destructing).

    I can see that your OP was perhaps driven by being around a bunch of people at the holidays who seem unhappy in their lives, but are seeing themselves more as victims of circumstance that empowered actors in the world. Its true that people become passive and even crippled by what they need to do to turn things around, try a different direction, identify an opportunity, etc. If a good sector of the population is going through all of that at the same time, it can be even harder. It can also be hard to see in people who you know have skills and potential but who for whatever reason are not up to the task of bettering themselves. The question for me is what to do about that. Are those people losers? Are they to be pitied? Something in between? Can they be cajoled into making a move? Are they depressed?

    For me personally, I try to err on the compassionate side because, as folks have noted, you don’t always know what someone’s situation is and how they got to where they are today. If this is a indelible aspect of many peoples’ behaviors, maybe there is more going on than I realize and I try to be careful not to assume I know what course of action will be best for them. People have to make their own decisions and sometimes people have to sink pretty low before knowing how to improve their life. And some people will never get it together and exist on the fringe of society. But I can’t make them be more than they are willing to be on their own. If so many people are failing to do what seems obvious to me, it seems prudent to ask myself if there is more going on than I realize. Because either I am missing something, or everyone is an idiot but me. As much as I would like to feel like the smartest guy in the world, I know I am not, so I am probably missing some pretty important factors.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Your OP set the tone.

    Note, all of the examples you gave were monetarily-related. It was only after you were put on the defense and had to scramble to salvage that you attempted to provide some other definition of 'success'. Plus, it seems many if not most of your threads seem to have frugality, piety, or wealth-building as dominant themes, suggesting these are the dominant concerns in your life and form your world-view. Am I wrong?
    At the risk of piling on, I'd have to agree with Maister on this one. The over-all tone of your posts deal with material success or lifting up people who have. Success is a subjective idea that means different things to diffrernt people, like happiness
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  15. #15
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Yea, you are kind of wrong. My posts are more about personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility including my constant hatred of debt, influence of faith, history, and real freedom.
    Fair enough. The question, however, that you didn't ask (and maybe hadn't gotten around to) was 'why is everyone opposing/criticizing on me when all I was trying to do was bring to their attention the objective truth that everyone has the capability to succeed with the right attitude, knowledge, and some hard work'

    I suspect the reason for getting so much flak was rather bluntly alluded to by LindaD when she said
    Not everyone who struggles in life is deserving of sympathy and understanding, but neither is everyone who doesn't live up to your high personal standards deserving of your sanctimonious scorn
    . The key word here is sanctimonious, which means "making a show of being morally better than others." It's possible some may find you are hitting a little close to that tone. Particularly when in the very next post you write:
    When I was 15 and working on my first car, someone would comment "Oh, don't worry about that, it is good enough for your first car." But for me, knowing I was going to be the one driving it, good enough was not acceptable.
    If a different (ie. less judgemental) approach were attempted, perhaps readers might be more receptive to what you're trying to convey. Just my two cents.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Fair enough. The question, however, that you didn't ask (and maybe hadn't gotten around to) was 'why is everyone opposing/criticizing on me when all I was trying to do was bring to their attention the objective truth that everyone has the capability to succeed with the right attitude, knowledge, and some hard work'

    I suspect the reason for getting so much flak was rather bluntly alluded to by LindaD when she said . The key word here is sanctimonious, which means "making a show of being morally better than others." It's possible some may find you are hitting a little close to that tone. Particularly when in the very next post you write:


    If a different (ie. less judgemental) approach were attempted, perhaps readers might be more receptive to what you're trying to convey. Just my two cents.
    Your comments are appreciated and I will work to be less judgmental in the future. However, that still does not address the comments that were most fervently made by ZG regarding being rich. Perhaps I should change my signature to say "Success has nothing to do with Money".
    There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. However, it is our choice to learn the lesson and change or not.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I've long contemplated the definition of success. It seems everyone has a slightly different, and often widly different idea of success. If I had to assign one thing to define the national narrative of success it would be financial wealth - it seems that is the benchmark the nation generally uses to define whether one is successful. My wife's in laws (her sister's husbands parents and associated family, whatever they are technically called) have publically stated that my wife and I are unsuccessful because I work in government and she works for a non-profit and therefore we don't make a large amount of money. It seems their deinfition of success is consistent with the national discourse on this issue. However, for me success has very little to do with financial wealth. I consider my life a success and I have no desire to accumulate wealth beyond what is needed to feed my family and live a happy life.

    Are there things people can do to be a success that they fail to do- certainly. Some of those reasons may be pathetic. But by the same measure someone who might be viewed as a success according to the typical national definition may very well be pathetic. A perfect example would be Donald Trump - by all accounts he is a very financially and professionally successful man, yet in my opinion he is a pathetic man.

    Ambition is good- but even using your examples, Bannister and Rice definitely had a physical talent. Jobs had a mental talent. What each of those people did was due to talent AND ambition. To suggest that anyone could accomplish what they did regardless of talent is somewhat unrealistic. However, it is true that they exploited the full extent of their talent through ambition.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    I would only point to graphs, easily found with Google.

    The first is the degree to which a person, born into a wealth class, remains in that class for life. The past, in this respect, is the past.

    Second is the wealth inequality, at record highs. The middle class, the group most affected, can't even be assured of being middle class, not anymore.

    Third is the effect of collective bargaining on wages, labor union or otherwise, on wealth inequality. In total, no effect at all.

    In short, meritocracy can't be bargained, educated into existence, or brought about by hard work. Meritocracy imploded, around 1980, or thereabouts.
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

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