We live in an era of absurd ambitions
Giving our goals and failures proper historical context
I’ve been reading A Job to Love to figure out what I’m going to do with my life. Haven’t quite gotten concrete answers, but the book does make an excellent point that stuck with me—our modern expectations of success are historically, weirdly inaccurate.
Modernity never ceases to emphasize that success could, somehow, one day be ours. Yet there is unwitting, exhausting cruelty in this narrative…the data is clear that only a very few of us will succeed. And yet, despite all the evidence…[modernity] has made the ideal the norm and internalized the burdens of failure.
There’s a dictum among great predictors that, when trying to guess an outcome, the first step is to get a baseline range based on similar cases. The baseline for estimating the likelihood of success, for most of us, comes from media that only shows us success stories (as opposed to, as the book points out, Greek tragedies from eras past).
For more sanity, we should recalibrate, remember most people in the world are just as frustrated as we are, and savor small wins much more.