Sometimes, being here and still trying to be better is all the victory you need… Dwayne Johnson, who fascinates me with the weird position in the culture he’s taken, recently gave a talk in which he said, “at some point you’ve got to be fucking tired of not being number one.” Which is fair, and motivational. But, at some point, you’ve got to decide what you’d have to give up to be number one and whether it’s worth it.
Warren Ellis, on his blog
I didn’t become a writer because I wanted to be famous or win awards. That’s hard for some people to wrap their heads around. If you’re not going to be a New York Times bestselling author or win an ENnie award, why bother? The inability to see that making a modest living doing something you enjoy can be reward enough frightens me.
If I wanted to emulate the traditional publishing model, or launch every book with a Kickstarter campaign, I could make more money. The trade-off wouldn’t be worth it to me. Beyond the added expenses to produce and ship the books, which would severely curtail the profit margins, the stress would do me in. Being able to create what I want, the way I want, at my own pace, is more valuable to me.
A book doesn’t sell as well as I’d hoped. A project doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I just plain run out of spoons. All I can do is accept it and move on. I’m not beating myself up because I’m not number one. I chased that dragon in the corporate world, pushing myself harder to impress people and make things damn near perfect, and it ruined my health.
Being Here and Still Trying to Be Better
You need to know your limitations. Respect them, and work within them. Your boundaries need to be enforced, because giving up yourself to get ahead carries a cost. Realize that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Do your best and figure out how to do better, but realize the lasting change is incremental. You don’t have to sacrifice yourself on the altar of fortune and glory in order to be successful. There is always tomorrow. When you reach the point where there isn’t, you’re past the point of worrying about being number one.