Dear Ascetic Youth and Mid-Life Crisis Ppl: Quit Dreaming

by phil on Saturday Apr 24, 2004 3:16 PM
asceticism, self-acceptance

Quit dreaming, because that's what I'm going to do. No, but look, I have a friend who is in his thirties and still pretends he's going to be the CEO of a great company, or that he's going to date a supermodel, or that his art career will have a turn-around.

I think I need some sense of probabilities. Just because I have the desire and just because it's "possible" that doesn't mean it's likely to happen. If the only hope you have is that its "possible" then maybe you should switch. And so, I'm going to go through all the things I ascetically hold on to and calibrate them to reality.

what are my limitations?

first, absolutely, if everything is possible for me to do, nothing is possible.


some things are probable, somethings are impossible.

so let's see

impossible "ultra contingent" (~.01%)
improbable "a small 'might'" (~5%)
unlikely "maybe" (~25%)
uncertain "may or may not" (~50%)
likely "maybe it won't" (~75%)
probable "be surprised if didn't happen" (~95%)
certain "pre-determined (~99.99%)

yeah, okay lets' embrace my limitations.

its improbable I'll be a good writer someday. cuz I don't consume literature, nor do I care enough about it, I have only developed slowly in one year of active writing, not enough popular in that time, nor intrinsic talent, nor none noticeble growing up.


yeah, you gotta make clear stands.

it's impossible I'll win a nobel prize
// no academic/scientific
// nor writing
// nor political leaning
// small number of nobel prize winners exist

it's uncertain whether I'll have an upper-class networth

it's likely I'll have middle-class wealth likely

it's improbable I'll make it as an artist.
// cuz I don't consume art, nor do I care, and that was a short-term fling with it.
// nor do I have internal artistic talent

it's unlikely I'lll be an academic in a niche field

// after massive exposure @ stanford to it, haven't been energized by it. not improbable, on account of my syenthetic exposure, my success in an academic setting, and my recent interest in anthropology

it's improbable that I'll get a PhD.

// I don't even care about grad school, but I _could_ a small could get an interest later, but I doubt it. I'd be surprised.

if it's a might, then it's at least as unlikely as "unlikely"

it's unlikely that i'll ever be athletically fit without allergies issues or something.

it's unlikely that I will date a model

it's uncertain whether I'll end up with a hot wife/girlfriend

// I want a girl with a nice personality and one I can spend time (requires intellectual faculties) according to one of murphy's laws' corrolaries, of good looks, good mind, and good personality, you can only get two, but not all three
// on the other hand, I have the desire and I have the social/sexual capital that enables me to catch it should I become motivated

wow, these are ind33d hard truths to acceptarish

mental limitations, come on.

it's likely I'll start a company some day

it's likly I'll get back into web design.

mental limitations.

it's unlikely I'll get recognized as a thought leader
// after one year, little recognition
// i do have recognition for some thinking patters that i have
// I could gain communicative power
// or I could NOT gain it as I get busy
// I didn't move mountains in a year of philosophistry nor any interesting papers, nor turn heads in academic circles
// but ppl like my thoughts
// accounting for bias, yeah, unlikely maks sense 1 in 4 chance, I could be like Seth Godin, but that is a _could_

holy fuck these haven't sunk in yet.

okay, what else, lay it out, and lez digest.

// ah yes, and now we got the contingency thingy, IF I DO this reality-check thing and it makes things MORE likely too happen. yeah, i've said similar things before. well, then it's a matter of how much confidence/humbleness will factor into it, and how likely your personality will change. and it could change in the other direction, so it doesn't matter.

it's uncertain that I will have success relative to others similar to like what I had in high school
// dot-coms were a rare event
// your co-incidence with the movement was chance
// however I have a pattern of defying standard deviations

it's improbable that I'll be an actor or director or photographer or something
// basically no inkling in any of those fields in 20 years of existence despite desire being there. not all fields I haven't tried I won't be in, but all fields that I have thought about trying but never got around to doing, those I won't become

it's uncertain whether I'll be famous someday
// I have gotten press for stuff, dot-commish thou
// have a tendancy to get greedy for attention
// I hate speaking nor do I want to be charismatic to the camera
// social groups also hate/reject me, could be a ++

go ahead, and defy odds though. if you pick one though, all the other probablities hold true, so that's like one in a 20 chance that it could be off. so these probabilites are relatively fixed

okay, I wrote that out fast. I have to digest them. this is just the beginning.


Answering some internal issues with this kind of thinking:

Isn't the hope what drives us to suceed, shouldn't we keep the hope alive? The truth should be independent of emotions in general. In specific, if the sucking of the trophy at the end of the road the prime motivation for movement, then maybe you shouldn't do it. It's contingent if you make it, so it'll suck if you don't get it, and also there are many other "positive motivations" that spawn success besides wanton desire.

Creative Commons License