When I dreamed up the idea for Revel In It Mag, I was reeling from years of having consigned my quest for meaning to the periphery of my life. I did yoga. I took up meditation. I dove deep into the kinds of deep and layered philosophical explorations that have played such an influential role in my life. I dabbled in neurobiology, psychology, history, political philosophy, spirituality and (sheepish grin) self-help, in an attempt to answer deep questions, about the nature of existence and the meaning of my own life. But always, these explorations took place under cover of darkness. They ran on parallel tracks with my actual, material life, the one I lived out in the world, where careers are built and moneys are made and families raised.
The time spent exploring my inner life, and the life of the mind, wasn’t wasted — my quest was fruitful, but eventually, I faced the polymath’s dilemma: I knew a lot, but what was it for?
Tags: Ambition, Descartes, Ego, Healing The Descartian Split, Success, TFRL, THE FULLY REALIZED LIFE
I’ve wrestled with ambition for as long as I can remember, alternately running towards it and away from it, as if, by outpacing the ghost of ambition, I could somehow keep myself safe. What was I afraid of? Of being seen only through the lens of my accomplishments I suppose. I never was sure how to square the big life I wanted with the deeper desires I harbored for the kind of love that doesn’t depend on accomplishment. I wanted to be loved “just for me,” and early on developed a suspicion that having my name writ large might interfere with that. My fears made a certain kind of sense. On Oprah’s Next Chapter, Steven Spielberg spoke about the challenge each of his children faced working out whether people liked them or their high-powered name. Jamie Foxx said something similar the year his Academy Award win catapulted him into the stratosphere. He opined that he’d never marry due to the difficulty of finding a woman who wanted him for him rather than for the shiny package he comes in. He gave the dilemma a different spin on Oprah’s Next Chapter where he talked about “the mist” and how, when you’ve got “the mist”, you look really good, but if the mist evaporates, you go right back to being a frog, in the eyes of the hangers-on at least.
Tags: Ambition, Jamie Foxx, Oprah, Stephen Spielberg, The Story Of Your Life, The Vision