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Drop Ambition?

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Drop Ambition?

Postby CityMouse » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:13 pm

Some part of me is considering going back to school for a PhD in Math to become a mathematician. In the 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene said to inwardly declare war. I want to declare war on the normals.

I enjoy math to an extent and am pretty good at it. I like that it doesn't involve memorizing. It's distracting and mathematicians work in near total isolation.

I just fear sabotage. I feel like people will initially encourage me to pursue it and then throw a wrench in my plans to that I can humble myself and be a math teacher. To me, teacher is the ultimate admission that you gave in. You're interacting, you're helping others, you're working hard for no reason, and you're average. People say they respect teachers but I think people are only nice to you if they pity you. People like my mom because she's normal. She knows her place.

I also have heard that success is based on luck. Money doesn't bring happiness. I will feel the same way emotionally with 100K as I would with 30K.

My philosophy guide encouraged us to drop ambition and get what we need, not what we want, what we need. He said that the smartest people usually sink to the bottom and that the most successful people are the sociopaths. He says, "nothing is permanent, therefore nothing is important. Relax and float downstream."

I think I would be happy doing data entry. That's a solitary profession too. They say it's boring, but so are most jobs.

Other possibilities: accounting, computer programming, freelance writer, editor.

Thoughts please?
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby smirks » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:21 am

I don't know who Robert Greene is, but he sounds like an absolute ****. "War" is for children and idiots.

You like math? Do math.

Yeah, someone might screw you over. But you know what? Someone might screw you over at your data entry job, or your night janitor position, too. Those kinds of people are everywhere. If you pre-empt yourself from trying the thing that you want to do because of hypothetical worst case scenarios, then congratulations, you've cut out the middleman and sabotaged yourself.

I feel like your post is just ...misinformed.

I don't know if your disdain for teaching comes from. Is your mom a teacher? Or maybe you're American, and teaching is an underpaid profession. If you think about it within the grand scheme of things, teaching allows you to shape the mindset of a large number of the adult population. Compare that to a career as a math PhD where the paper that takes you five years to write will sit largely unread in an obscure journal somewhere, only skimmed through by other math PhDs. Will you have more esteem? Maybe? Among a few. Your circle of influence will likely be smaller.

Money for sure does bring happiness, and by and large, people who make 100K are much happier than people who make 30K a year, for many reasons, including access to better healthcare, housing security, food security, convenience, free time... there have been numerous studies. There is a ceiling of about 75K, after which, extra income does not boost happiness much.

Your "philosophy guide" sounds like someone who is bitter about lack of success, and needed to change his philosophy so that his diet of ramen noodles was more palatable. Yes, there are more CEOs with sociopathic traits than a normal population. But clearly there are also a bunch of smart people who are successful too.

All of this is just failure balm. People are afraid of trying sincerely and failing, because, yes, corruption is a factor, and yes, luck is a factor, and nobody can control either of those things, and that makes life unfair. But then people make up these elaborate arguments for not trying anything, thinking that they've outsmarted the system, but it's a pretty obvious rationalization of self-sabotage.
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby CityMouse » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:44 am

Thanks, that was refreshing. I shouldn't have said that about teachers, I was just in the wrong place psychologically.

I want to be a writer I think. I have BA in English and I enjoy it, plus I could help people.

Is that realistic?
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby smirks » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:13 am

That sounds like a healthier thought process. If you love writing, if you can do it every day, regardless of wealth, I think it's a great idea to pursue that.

Just...there are a variety of roles for writers. When you say writer, you might not get to be Stephen King or JK Rowling, just like all politicians don't get to be president. You might be a copywriter or an editoial assistant, or a content producer for a website. That might not be your intended area of the writing field, but it might be where your bread will be buttered. You might also have to initially take a second job or a job in another field to make ends meet. That's the harsh economic reality. Eventually, though, you progress. It can be a lot of effort initially. The important thing is that you find something you love enough to make all of the effort worthwhile.
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby CityMouse » Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:29 am

:) Hi again. So you think writer?
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby solemnlysworn » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:35 am

smirks wrote:There is a ceiling of about 75K


I wonder what the value might be today based on cost of living and inflation. I remember the study being around in 2010. The same research also showed that $95,000 was the plateau point for 'Life Evaluation' at the same time which isn't a trivial metric.

-- Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:40 am --

Edit. They repolled this year in 2018. It's still accurate-- which I think is interesting. Surely the purchasing power is less. Must be that people are evaluating relative to others.
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby CityMouse » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:16 pm

I have opted to pursue web design. Thanks!
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby solemnlysworn » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:18 pm

What a rollercoaster!
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Re: Drop Ambition?

Postby CityMouse » Sat Dec 29, 2018 3:55 am

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