The other day I had coffee with another editor and magazine writer. Toward the end of the conversation a few names came up of guys I think of as some of the best magazine writers alive today. He actually knew them. I just stalk them on social media and via their articles in Esquire.
We were discussing prizes in the profession and he made the point that even those guys—the very best—will tell you that they’re not as good as others. They’ll point to problems in their writing and insecurities with their creativity. They see all the flaws.
This really struck me. The people at the very top of my profession aren’t satisfied.
One of my favorite writers, Donald Miller, actually wrote an entire book about this. He called it “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” but he could have called it “I Got Everything I Ever Wanted and Then Realized That Wasn’t the Point and That Was Really Hard So I Had To Reevaluate My Life and Make Some Major Changes.” The title wouldn’t have been quite as catchy, but I think people could relate.
Anyway, Miller makes a lot of good points in that book (can’t recommend reading it enough), but my general take away was that it’s really important to intentionally set the right goals in order to live the right story. I constantly realize I’m doing things that are exhausting me, but not working toward my true goals. I have to reevaluate a lot. And sometimes I forget to for long periods of time.
I see those writers as the best. The pie in the sky goal. But for me it’s a good reminder to know that they’re not satisfied at the top. Because it reminds me to enjoy the ride, stop and smell the roses (with word plays like this, I have no idea why Esquire isn’t banging down my door), and other brilliant metaphors for relishing the moment in which you’re living.
Yes. I have had this conversation like 127 times in the last month. No one ever warned you about this stage of life. My Facebook feed is the weirdest conglomeration of potty training toddler tips and drunk bar photos. I ask one friend to grab dinner and she’s like “Can’t get a babysitter in time” and another is like “I’m still hungover from that concert on Wednesday night.” I feel like this has some kind of Huffington Post listicle material all over it. “Top 30 Things No One Tells You About Your 30’s.”
I’m at that awkward age where half my friends are engaged or having babies, and the other half are too drunk to find their phones.
Read this article yet? Because it’s kind of amazing. Basic idea: People who are more confident (not mere bravado, but truly confident) are more successful across the board in life… There are an increasing number of studies showing that women are less confident than men… I think you see where this is going.
It’s fascinating. And ultimately, hopeful. The writers point out that confidence can be self-perpetuating. As in, feel confident and you’ll be confident. And you’ll ultimately be more successful. I like that plan.