Friday, March 24, 2006

Greetings from cloud central.

On a spring training-related note... Getting lots of interesting feedback on the Barry Bonds piece, which has now been variously reprinted here and there. Apart from the accusation that I'm "endorsing steroids" (which I'm not, per se) the most common observation is one we've tackled in this blog--on and off, implicitly and explictly--many times: Exactly what is the "self"? That is, what makes you you, and how far should one go in one's effort to become "fully actualized"? Someone remind me to revisit this topic when I return from the non-sunshine state (at least since I've been here).

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've had a lot of success in my life by supressing my true "self" in order to focus on doing what I need to do to be productive in fitting the box of what the job market wants. It's enabled me to find a good career that has enabled me to marry, buy a home, take vacations, and build a resume as many of my peers are still finding themselves. To me getting started in life is finding a niche in the market that somewhat overlaps with "you" meaning your skills interests and what you can tolerate or handle physically. I am still finding myself and seeking new opportunities, but from a solid foundation. So, yes, for me supressing my true self, which I will not elaborate, has enabled my success over the last 11 years since I chose a career.--posted via mobile phone by Case

Steve Salerno said...

What's interesting about this post--and thank you for taking the time to weigh in, Case--is its implication (if not its outright declaration) that he needed to deny his "true self" in order to be successful. So in a sense, at least for Case (and I hope he'll correct me if I'm wrong, or amplify on his remarks), "self-actualization" translates to "being something besides what you really are." Myriad implications here about life, living, and SHAM, which I think will be worth exploring when I get back from Florida....

Case said...

Yes, realizing my potential has been a long road of expanding the productive aspects of my "true self" and supressing other tendencies. If any one of us looks at our "true-self" dead in the eye, I think we would all realize that it is not something to be fully actualized. SHAM often takes a limited view of the self being as a whole positive. It's obvious this is not the case.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points, Case! God knows, realizing my "full potential" would mean winning the lottery and spending the rest of my days enjoying myself, not slaving nobly away for the greater good, and I suspect that's true for many of us. Kudos to you for your honesty!

Steve Salerno said...

Yeah, but folks--we're missing something here. Doesn't the self-help movement contend that (a) it's SUPPOSED to be "about you"? and (b) if you "suppress your true self," as Case admits to doing, how do you ever know what you could have been? and (c) there's a certain resentment that begins to creep in when you realize you're sacrificing inner impulses/urges in the name of "fitting in" or "doing well." (I think some people would call it "selling out.") Yes? No?

Case said...

a.) Much of SHAM stresses individual happiness and success without placing equal weight on life, marriage, or family stability. SHAM principles can be destructive for society because they tend to convince otherwise successful and productive individuals that they are somehow not as happy or successful as they could be, which is about as easy to do as convincing someone that the sky is blue. The result of following SHAMs principles can be abandoned marriages and productive careers in the pursuit of SHAM's definition of individual "happiness”, which is uncompromising .

b.)SHAM advocates following dreams and passions and assumes that doing so will lead to the realization of your full potential. While this sounds enticing, and it is true in some cases, the fact is that society does not support every individual doing whatever it is they want to do. There are only so many jobs and career directions out there that pay well. For me there was no "could have been" because I followed the absolute best option available to me at the time to ensure my future success.

c.)I think the resentment of failing your family would be much stronger than any resentment that occurs as a result of “selling out”, defined as doing what it takes to land a good paying job. Don’t think that I am against going full out for success. I give kudos to individuals that take a shot at greatness, but they do not do so in a vacuum or without sacrifice. SHAM tends to gloss over these topics and that is a real danger. I actually found that when I followed SHAM’s principles of self-actualization and empowerment that it created resentment against my job and family, like they were somehow holding me back from success. Thankfully, I asked the question, “Am I following the best option available to me right now or is it possible to create a better situation for success while providing for the stability of my family?” When I, or anyone I asked, was not able to come up with a better answer, the resentment created by following the SHAM principles faded away and I learned a lesson about blindly following advice from so called success experts.

Steve Salerno said...

Case, if you get this comment--as I suspect you will--please contact me through my web address, steve@journalismpro.com. I'd like to have a chance to chat with you a bit--to hear more about your personal path to such insights.