Tag Archives: success

Romanticizing the Underdog No More: A New Approach to Turning 30

The other day, I was reading a blog post written by a 30-something about how being 30 means that you can no longer allow yourself to fail heroically. The author was not any 30-something 9-5 worker or woman spending her days sending out resumes while getting by on unemployment. The blog post was actually written by the beautiful, extremely successful Erin Foster, a television actress and writer on the site Hello Giggles.

Foster’s blog title sums up the feeling:

She writes in her post “Dirty 30: I’m Freaking Out” how she worries about getting her next written opportunity, about her next failure, even though she’s very successful for her age. “There is a period of time when we are allowed a free pass,” she writes. “We fail a math test because we’re in eighth grade and who cares. We sleep in until noon because we’re sixteen and just leave us alone. We get lazy at work because we’re twenty-three and it’s a job we aren’t passionate about. But at a certain point, we’ve run out of free passes and we have to be accountable for every single decision we make. There is no room for error. No one is asking you what you want to be, they are asking you what you are doing. Right now. What are you doing? Are you great at it? Are you making a difference? A lot of people are doing something important. Are you? Are you productive every day? Are you always working towards something bigger?”

Even Anne Hathaway, Oscar winner, who happens to also be 30, is quoted as saying she’s not impressed with herself, only what was created around her, and she constantly worries about where she’ll work next. “I’m still the underdog,” she said of her Oscar win. There’s something deeply romantic, falsely humble, and egregiously motivational about putting oneself in the bucket of never good enough which kicks our insecure yet confident asses into doing really great stuff. But it’s also kind of painful to the soul. It’s not a good way to live. Continue reading Romanticizing the Underdog No More: A New Approach to Turning 30

I Can’t Get No… Dun Nuh Nuh… Satisfaction…

Yesterday evening I met up with a friend of mine from jobs past for an insightful chat over tea. He’s one of my few friends who is also a professional in the technology industry, so it’s always good to share stories and dual-crowdsource our own advice. One of the themes of the conversation this evening was defining success, and the reason behind what makes those definitions so different for each of us.

My friend, we’ll call him John, is very analytical in his approach to happiness. He buckets each area of his life – career, romance, friendship, hobbies, and keeps a mental tab on the progress he has made in each of these areas. He is completely satisfied working a 9-5 job, as long as it’s stable. Working for a large tech firm, he’s accepted that churning out materials is more important than perfection. He enjoys the work, but isn’t personally invested in the success of the company. Today, he is extremely satisfied in his career progress, and he wants to focus now on developing his romantic relationships, since that area has suffered in the past decade when he earned two graduate degrees, including, most recently, an executive MBA. Continue reading I Can’t Get No… Dun Nuh Nuh… Satisfaction…

Who is Superior? Response to a Comment…

“John M said… I can relate to Ivy envy. I live near Boston on the East Coast (Harvard, MIT, etc.). It shuts you out of some really special positions. Most of suffer from not living up to our expectations. We percieve others as being superior to us, and that we are failures for not being perfect. I look at decisions that I have to make in the future and I realize that compromises have to made. There are many people with ADD who are successful. There are many people who aren’t book smart who are successful. Our perception of success may seem difficult because of the challenges we face. I am not perfect, but that will not stop me, nor should it stop you from being successful.”


Thanks for leaving me a comment. I’m not sure if you’ll return to my blog or not, but I figured I’d respond to our comment in a new post.

I figured that the Boston area is similiar to the Bay Area in the way that either you’re “one of them” or you aren’t. I can’t complain about the whole situation much, though, because I just love being around smart people. It inspires me. I’d rather live here than in middle-of-nowhere hicksville, where 50 percent of the population doesn’t know how to multiply past single digits. But I’m also glad I’m not the only one who feels such Ivy Envy.

It’s interesting that we all view other people as being superior to us. I guess everyone does that, even people who are extremely smart with… proper pedigree. I realize that success is not defined by what school you attended, and that there are plenty of people who are successful sans any degree at all. Yet I feel trapped by my understanding of myself and my abilities. I’m terrified of risk, even though compared to some I’m quite a risk taker (I moved away from home for college and never looked back, I live on my own now, support myself, etc, etc). I figure one thing required for success is the ability to see failure as a byproduct, albeit hopefully a temporary one, of any opportunity worth chasing.

I’m sure ADD isn’t what will hold me back in the long run. So I have a hard time focusing and It’s in my nature to be terribly disorganized. But I’m a big idea person, and when I put my mind to something I’m always the person that puts in 200 percent.

I’m now tempted to write an entry on age in the workplace, so I’m going to sign off here for this entry and move on to the next.

Again thanks for your comment John. I hope you return to my blog. I love comments. 🙂