(PROGRAMMING NOTE: Big Quit Energy is on hiatus from regular essays on work culture and workaholism until the end of November. Until then, enjoy our backlog of Slacker film analysis and “Friends With BQE” podcasts episodes!)
Some people come to find that they have a “tremendously special gift.” For the rest of us, what are we to do in the world?
This is a question that Russell Smith (among other things: writer, business owner, husband, father, rucker, and friend of the blog) has wrestled with his whole life, as someone with a health history that, on paper at least, stacked the odds against him ever “taking over the world.”
As part of his excellent blog Solvitur Ambulando (“solve it by walking”), he explores this question in a series called “Silver Medalists,” which focuses one what we can learn from people who did NOT get to the very top of their field but who still thrived and “left a mark.”
So far, he’s covered Fox Conner–a virtually unknown general who, among other things, mentored Eisenhower–and June Carter Cash, a prolific singer and comedian who lived in the shadow of her husband Johnny Cash.
In a bit over an hour, we cover:
Why we benefit more from studying those who labored just outside the limelight than those who made it “to the top”
“Greatness” as a team effort, the honor of figures who lift up those who get the glory, and the joy of preparing for opportunities that may never come
The upside of not getting validation for what you do
The importance of starting where you uniquely are, not trying to copy other people’s circumstances
What it means to “leave a mark” and whether we should even worry about it in a world that’ll be swallowed up by the sun anyway
Why for most difficulties in life, going for a walk is a good start toward the answer