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"The only thing stopping you from getting what you want, is the excuse you keep telling yourself about why you can't have it." - Tony Robbins



I don't know what to say to that. It seems like uplifting but empty advice, the kind of stuff you'd expect from Tony Robins. Not everyone grows up to be an astronaut.


My father-in-law was an astronaut. He's a smart guy, but he grew up in some podunk town in Virginia, his family was decidedly middle class, and he went to a public high school. But he worked hard, got accepted to the Air Force Academy, and eventually became an astronaut. Then the Challenger blew up and NASA and the Air Force parted ways, so he was no longer an astronaut. Instead, he's spent the last 25 years reaching his current position: 3-star general who will most likely be promoted to 4-star and end up running Air Force Space Command or something similar. The trait that I've observed most in him since I met him ten years ago is his unshakeable belief in his ability to get the job done. He's probably the most quietly confident person I know.


Agreed. Sometimes being borderline delusional about your ability to accomplish complex things is crucial to actually getting them done.


Agreed. Self-doubt has gotten me nowhere.


Well...not everyone can grow up to be a 3 or 4 star general, either.


I think you're missing my point. He didn't "grow up to be" anything in a passive sense. He worked his ass off and earned it.

And yes, not everyone can do what he did (as there's not room for n generals in a world of n people). But can anyone do what he did? How do you know that anyone can't be an astronaut or a 4-star general or a fortune 500 CEO or a Senator, or whatever?

Or is this some bizarre form of pessimistic trolling?


No, I'm just being realistic. Not everyone has what it takes to do just whatever they want.

For me, dealing with people who think they can do anything (vs people who really do) is like dealing with religious people: it's a process of non-thought and faith almost.

Your father-in-law is one of those rare people who can make it happen. If it was as simple as working hard at it or being determined then everyone would be doing it. This is why it's so hard to find good programmers.

It's also a good way to lead people on to guaranteed failure, deluding them into thinking if they work hard enough or try hard enough they can accomplish something.

Most of us are not physically capable of understanding certain things that others do understand, are able to work at, etc. I happen to be one of those people who can't understand.


If it was as simple as working hard at it or being determined then everyone would be doing it.

Ummm, no. Most people seem to be determined, but only to do as little as possible to get by.

We clearly just disagree, but I reject your premise that most people are not physically capable of greatness. I don't know you but you're on HN and you express yourself well in writing, which already puts you ahead of 99% of people. The main thing holding you back is that you're determined to not succeed.


What if Gretzky had been born with no legs? Or an aspiring physicist wants to invent a grand unification theorem but was born with an IQ of 90?

I think my situation is obviously not so extreme. See my reply to rick888.

I don't think you know what it means to be a failure with no real recourse -- NO recourse short of a radical alteration to my biology. Have some compassion for people for whom things simply don't work out. Everyone seems to think that if you aren't the best it's 120% your fault and in a way it's true. However, sometimes people just get bested and it's just the cards that were dealt to them with the biology they're given.


"Most of us are not physically capable of understanding certain things that others do understand, are able to work at, etc. I happen to be one of those people who can't understand."

I don't believe this. Most people aren't willing to put the time and effort into understanding certain things others do understand.

"This is why it's so hard to find good programmers."

It's hard to find good programmers because many just want a paycheck and they don't care about the quality of code they are churning out.


> I don't believe this. Most people aren't willing to put the time and effort into understanding certain things others do understand.

I disagree. Let me give an example. I remember my networking course in university. The professor had a sort of teaching method by asking questions and then giving logical conclusions. I never could logically explain engineering decisions in networking protocols like my classmates. He would ask a question about some feature or design situation and ask a random person. They always got it. It was not in the book or any where readily available.

He could ask crazy design questions, that to me seemed more like a parallel thought puzzle, and my class mates got it. Always. Professor learned to not ask me after a while because I never could do it. I'm like a dog, everyone else was like a human. They have insight that I don't and I never could get it; a potency in their mind that I lacked. I never got it like they did. I flunked my way through that class at dead last but passing, just like I had done for all the years I spent in school since I was a child.

Maybe I could recite things by memory about network protocol design but I could never really understand it like everyone else in that class did.

I don't think you know what it means to be a failure with no real recourse. I mean NO recourse short of a radical alteration to my biology. Have some compassion for people for whom things simply don't work out. Everyone seems to think that if you aren't the best it's 100% your fault and in a way it's true. Sometimes people just get bested and it's just the cards that were dealt to them.


If it was as simple as working hard at it or being determined then everyone would be doing it.

No, this is precisely why almost most people are not doing it: they don't want to work hard and keep at something that isn't easy for them.


"It's also a good way to lead people on to guaranteed failure, deluding them into thinking if they work hard enough or try hard enough they can accomplish something."

There is only one route to guaranteed failure: don't try.

"Most of us are not physically capable of understanding certain things that others do understand, are able to work at, etc. I happen to be one of those people who can't understand."

That attitude is precisely why you can't.




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