Friday, February 25, 2011
Ass#@$%! Finish First
I found out about this book while looking at the bestseller list. It makes one mad that somehow one could succeed without the hard work and decency required from most people. It’s like hardship, dedication and perseverance is not important. One can be an asshole with boorish behavior and still come out on top. The author by the way is a college student who took law at Duke University. I guess the author is self-aware about himself which shows some hope towards redemption. Strangely one goes about preparing oneself by reading books, learning new skills and joining self-help organizations like Toastmaster but suddenly someone comes along and succeeds without really trying. Is life unfair? Is more about luck than hard work?
These days one seems to be filling up one’s spare time reading too many books and watching the latest movies in DVD. All for the sake of self-improvement and being updated on the latest trends. So one spends time completing speeches and trying to be the best that one can be by doing meaningful work. But along come someone who may or may not be an asshole and seems to show that life is really a piece of cake. Someone who has not exerted the same diligent effort towards self-improvement or leading a meaningful life by doing good tasks. So the hardworking fool loses all his motivation and wonders if all is worth it. Does the hard work and dedication really matter? Does it provide any meaningful results?
Last night I happen to watch an excellent movie ‘An Education’ with Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan. It asks the same questions. Whether one should study diligently and go to college in Oxford and get a college degree. Or does one have fun having met someone (an asshole?) that goes to classical concerts and jazz bars, vacations in Paris and does some silly things like buying rare prints from old people in order to make money and live the lifestyle. The heroine chooses to quit school and go with the asshole and plan to get married while the girl’s parents mistakenly assume the asshole boyfriend is rich and well connected. The school teachers also admonish the young lady to no avail. But it turns out the boyfriend is married and been doing this peccadillo to other impressionable young ladies.
The heroine goes back to school, resumes her studies and makes it to Oxford and gets a degree in English. I guess these types of movies tend to insure that hard work and study does matter and one should not get distracted by assholes. But there are other assholes that are well intentioned and decent who just strives to make it through the day without exerting themselves, earning a salary with no intention of providing a deeper meaning to their lives. I guess a trivial existence is fine with them but they seem light weight and empty and one gets a bit angry with their presence. It seems their only existence is to make money and slightly boast about them to other people whose lives are not that easy. Of course, it’s not intentional and nothing is done in malice which makes them an asshole.
But there are bigger things in life and one should not get absorbed by such folks. One should not spend one’s life in envy but fill it with worthwhile activities. It’s the best antidote to an idle mind and everything lifts out and troubles disappear. I gave 2 speeches this week and I think have done good based on audience feedback. One is stressed with these challenges and compounded by the fact that there’s a project problem yesterday that caused further delay. But after completing the challenging speeches and relaxing at home and sleeping early restores the mind back to its serenity. One is ashamed of calling his mates assholes and perhaps the story is not finished yet. Maybe in the long run assholes don’t really finish first but an equal dose of problems occurs to everyone like that phrase in the Bible used by Hemingway in his book ‘The Sun Also Rises’.