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Age can both help fix the problem of feeling well-off and exacerbate it.

It's easy to be among the top in something in the little group that a kid in high school is exposed to. Even in a big district, there are enough things to be good at that you can be the best at something esoteric. Then you go to a good college for that thing, and come in thinking you're all that, and suddenly realize that you're average. But college exposes you to the fact that there are innumerable niches in that thing, and you can pick one and be among the best at that niche from your graduating class. You then go off to work, thinking you're hot stuff with your new top-of-the-line special credentials, and think you know more than everyone else in your field. Surprise: You don't. You meet someone who's been in the field for 30 years and can solve the special problems that you're uniquely good at in their sleep. And that guy has someone he calls when he can't figure something out.

It's sort of like looking for records in a baseball game: There are so many possible records to set and precedents to break, that there's something new for the announcers to go on about in most every game. There's a lot of room to be unique, special, and valuable.




This is one reason I think training kids in any 'classical' discipline is really beneficial.

You will almost certainly never be as good a composer as Mozart, as good a pianist as Horowitz, as good at dancing as any company you can see on TV or as good at singing as even a mediocre performer in a talent show. But you can learn from the best and always get better through hard work.

Being exposed to the idea that 'no, you're not the best and probably never will be, but the real reward is seeing yourself improve step by step through hard work' is invaluable.


One looks for nothing but safety and happiness. Being No. 1 is a lonely business. There is so much one must sacrifice to stand on that narrow peak. I'd rather take someone's hands and brave that world together, creating the happiness and bearing the bitterness. The thought of being No. 1 never crossed my mind again.

I think Ip Man said that. Not sure.




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