We are tickled by great names

The failure is, we are over impressed by the success of others. 

We mythologize, idealize, elevate and freeze individuals on this pedestal. 

Forgetting, that most successful people are the same mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses we are. Forgetting, that success and failure are not giant isolated events. Forgetting, that comparing somebody’s studio polished sixty second highlight reel with our indie crowdfunded documentary isn’t helpful or healthy. 

And forgetting, most importantly, that all we consider success can be physically taken away from us. 

Emerson wrote about this issue a few centuries ago:

Society is under a spell. We dote on the old and the distant. We are tickled by great names. 

And so, for those of us who find it harder and harder to keep in touch with people’s idealized facsimiles, perhaps it’s time to refocus our gaze. Perhaps it’s time to stop making comparisons that put us down and start taking a look at the worthy people we really are. 

Popova, the great inventorist of the modern meaningful life, made an insightful point about the tug of war between ambition and mental clarity. She wrote that the root of whatever we call success is really this affirmation that we long for, which is that we are okay. When someone tells us that we are successful, essentially they are telling us that we are okay, everything is okay. 

It’s time to eliminate the middle man. To cut out the intermediaries to okayness. 

To make the decision for ourselves that we are amazing creatures who don’t need to use other people’s success as a whip to our back. 

May we be tickled by our own great name. 


Are you over impressed by the success of others?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  



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