A Timely Reminder

From G.K. Chesterton’s “The Fallacy of Success”:

It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways (in any special sense) of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating.

He continues:

In our society, temperance will not help a poor man to enrich himself, but it may help him to respect himself. Good work will not make him a rich man, but good work may make him a good workman.

It’s easy to get caught up in the desperate scramble for success, especially coming from a generation of young people who feel the need to scratch and claw for whatever they can get. We don’t know that unbridled optimism and hopeful expectation that our parents’ generation enjoyed (as hard as things may have been for them).

But the more time I spend thinking about the future, the more convinced I am that right now is preparation for whatever comes next: developing discipline, growing as a writer and observer, learning the perseverance and determination I’ll need to get me through the rest of my career.

I agree with Chesterton, that the idea of success is an idol we worship that offers little value to our lives. But what I want more than anything (well, almost anyways) is to do what I love and be good at what I do. Looks like I have a lot of work to do.

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