I blame the vain for what we wear
And I blame the blind when we can't see
I blame it all on someone else
'Til there's nobody left, then I just blame me
I blame her mind for the thoughts we share
Whoa, and I blame her heart for the time we cared
I blame it all on how we used to be
'Til she's finally gone, then I'll just blame me
So go ahead and blame
Anything that you want
'Cause it all ends up the same
When everything that you've been claiming is wrong
Oh, and don't you know that blame
Is always never enough
It just keeps you in the game
'Til you've only got yourself left to bluff
So I blame the vain for what we wear
Yeah, and I'll blame the blind when we can't see
I'll blame it all on someone else
'Til there's nobody left, then I'll just blame me
'Til she's finally gone, then I just blame me
If you're not familiar with TED and you'd like to see and hear extraordinary people of the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandella, Seth McFarlane, Cthulhu level of genius, do yourself a favor and check it out.
The above referenced piece is from a presentation by Larry Smith a Canadian economist at the University of Waterloo in Canada. It's a lot of things, but what I primarily found it to be was sort of self-affirming, if you can find a negative, arrogant, hopeless negative-inspirational talk about career, jobs, life and the likelihood of complete and other failure positively exciting and self-affirming.
The thing is, most motivational speeches are absurdly self delusional and positive to the point of nausea. Interestingly, most self-talk is either that or totally enervating and hopeless. We bounce back and forth between ecstasy and despair like deranged gerbils in a maze. This mirrors a lot of negative self-talk and says basically face facts and ignore your tendency to make excuses. As Smith says early in the piece, "I'm an economist, I do dismal..."
I've been in a lot of conversations -- internal, external, overheard, playing a role -- that mirror some of the ideas in this piece and wish I'd had the wisdom to say, "What the hell am I/you/they talking about." Still, there are some things to be conscious of that I took from the piece.
"If you want a good career, you'll fail because all the good careers are gone. There are great careers and then there are awful soulsucking, high stress low rewards hate you life careers. There are very few great careers and there are a lot of really awful careers, and then there are a very few in between." A lot of current research in career management indicate that most folks will have multiple careers in their lifetimes. Why the change? Reality intrudes' mistakes were made; you get old; you have kids. Don't expect to validate yourself with a job. Look for that in other places. If you are happy and enjoy what you do to make a living, you're lucky. If not, you can decide not to make it a curse.
"Do you want to look at your spouse and kid for the rest of your life and see your jailer..." This is sort of the Terry Malloy dilemma. You remember Terry, the Brando role in On the Waterfront. "I could have been a contender but..." and someone else is at fault. I'd be happy if I'd never met you, if I never had you, if I never did X, Y, and Z. You know, that reminds me of a line from an old Lewis Black routine from I think Bush's first term. He was sitting in his health club, the local "I-Hop" and overheard a pair of young women talking when he heard the oddest and craziest and dumbest statement he every heard, "If is wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college." It drove him crazy when he heard it and he still has flashbacks...what can that mean? Well, poor horse. Well, we've all heard that comment or it's equivalent.. Many of us have had to escape it... My wife, for example. She heard it from her mother for 30 years; she's been gone from her home for 40 years and her mother's been dead for 20 but she still hear's it in her head. And, if anything goes wrong in the world, it's obviously her fault. Well, it's not. Blaming herefor my problems, of which there are a few, is absurd and I don't; but I blame other things. We all do -- if we are radically honest with ourselves, there are things done by chance and there are things done by other people but most of our problems are a result of our own bad choices. It's called existential freedom. Live with it; you may be as miserable as you are now, but you know, you'll spread less misery and maybe even feel better.
So, watch it, and let me know what you think. Better yet, let yourself know what you think.