Better Said In A Quote

The title is exactly what I’m thinking right now. Although I’ve only written two blog posts, I have zero comments on both of them and I doubt anyone except a dozen or two friends from Facebook have even come to look at this blog. Some people might say, “You didn’t promote your site via Digg or StumbleUpon or any other social media sites – of course you have no comments!” Those people are exactly right – I haven’t done any of those things, so nobody knows about this blog. Frankly, I don’t care. I mean, I don’t think it’s wrong to promote your site – that’s the whole point of having a site, so others can see it – but I’m writing this blog for myself. Every post here is for me to look back upon and remember what I have done in the past, what has worked in the past, and what my aspirations once were.

Cyril Connolly once said, “It’s better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” A lot of other blogs on the internet seem to do the exact opposite, and many of them are successful. Now I’m not saying that ignoring your audience is a great idea; I’m saying that sometimes we need to stop feeding people what they want and instead teach them how to find what they want. Experience should be what we pass on, not knowledge. As an ancient Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Likewise, the reasons behind things are much more important than the concrete facts, although both are needed in order to fully understand something.

Work Hard For Little Recognition

Peer recognition seems to come too easy nowadays. Words like “amazing” no longer have the same connotation they used to. Instead, it seems that you don’t have to do anything to be “amazing” (except exist) – if people tell you you’re amazing then it must certainly be true. Consider Alexander the Great: From birth his mother told him he was part of a lineage that descended from the gods. He fought dozens of battles and won them all without taking any major injuries. His men continually told him he was a god. By the time he died, he believed (based on written accounts) that he was a living god. Clearly this must be because of what everyone told him, yet he died in a rather ungodly fashion.

I believe people should work hard for little recognition. Contrary to what most people think, recognition slows people down. Recognition satisfies people, and the more satisfied we are, the less likely we are to reach our full potential and create the best works of our lifetime. What we need more of is constructive criticism, words that make us realize we will never reach perfection because there is always room for improvement. With this thought in mind, we have no choice but to try to improve, instead of realizing satisfaction and stopping where we are.

There Are Good Men… And Then There Are Great Men

A few days ago, I watched the newly released Prince of Persia at our local Warren Theater. Following the Persian raid of the city of Alamut, the King of Persian speaks to Dastan about how their attack on Alamut was unjustified. Dastan remarks about how he tried to stop his brother from raiding the city, and the king tells Dastan that the attempt made Dastan a good man. However, the king immediately follows by saying that a great man would have stopped his brother from attacking, even though his brother was the rightful one in charge. Before leaving, king tells Dastan that a great man follows his heart, listens to his heart, despite the regards of others.

I believe we should take the king’s advice. Life is not about proving things to others, and it’s certainly not about keeping score. Life is about ourselves: who we care about, what we believe, and what our dreams are. We should live life in a way that satisfies our own aspirations, which will in turn inspire others and help others realize their own dreams. We should aspire to be more than good, we should aspire to be great.