The Joy of Human Achievement

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September 14, 2015 by Liberty

I just watched a video that inspired me to write this article. I’m not a very easily inspired guy. I usually get an idea and sit on it for months before moving it forward but I feel like this is an article worth writing immediately.

It was a video of a french singer. He has performing his song in front of an audience. The video started with him coming onto the stage. The crowd screamed for him. They were waving their lighters. The singer sat down relatively casually.

He started to play the song. The crowd was still screaming. He leaned into the mic and started to sing the first words. The crowd starts singing it. He stops singing and looks at the audience with a smile on his face. He did the next line only to stop and look at the audience singing his song for him. The camera is zoomed right into his face. He had the smile of a boy.

He continued the song and the audience was completely singing it without him. The camera was zoomed right in on his face as he watched them. He just stopped part way through the song and tears were streaming down his face.

I’m not the kind of guy to get teary eyed but damn it… that was a beautiful moment.

A Dedicated Life

I don’t know this french singer’s story but from his achievement, I can virtually tell it. It’s the same story behind virtually every great human achievement. It is the story shared by virtually every successful artist. It’s the story shared by entrepreneurs. His situation might be a particularly dramatic one but it’s a moment that I’ve personally been lucky enough to feel (not to that extent) once or twice in my life.

Imagine working your whole life towards something that doesn’t seem possible. The people around you are busy telling you that what you’re trying to achieve is impossible. They’re telling you to settle down and stop focusing on your dream because it is, just a dream. Despite that, you show up day after day. You even lose hope at times. With every day you invest you try to avoid wondering whether or not you’re wasting your life trying to do the impossible because you know, you just might be. No matter how confident you feel at times, you will have moments that you see that possibility.

The look on that man’s face was the realization that the moment he was searching for had come. In that moment, he got to see all of his work accumulate into its result. He knows it’s just one song but it’s a song that was created along with the pain and suffering of thousands of hours of work, thousands of thrown away songs, and the sacrifice of years of his life.

The next day, he’ll wake up and it won’t feel the same as in that moment. Perhaps he’ll imagine that moment fondly but he will move on with his life. He will start dreaming his next dream.

He will lose sleep over his next dream. People will doubt him. They’ll continue to say, “you’ve got a good thing going. Don’t take more risks…” And… I highly doubt he will listen. (Apparently he became a professional poker player.)

You don’t see moments like that everyday. Many people go their whole lives fighting to achieve the unlikely. They die never having known that single moment where they can feel how it feels to be successful. Sure, they may have little ones but a moment like that one don’t happen to everyone.

You might say these moments happen all the time in sports. I haven’t seen it. Sure, in something like the Olympics you’ll see happy successful individuals but most of them were raised doing what they do. They’d been doing the sport for 20 years and they had the complete support of their family and friends. (The athletes that don’t have their parent’s support rarely can compete with 9-5 Olympians.)

In team sports, you sometimes get to see teams winning championship with happy players. Of course, those players may have had a moment when they made the teams (or when their number is retired or something) but most of those championships just throw the camera’s right on the crazy guy jumping around like a maniac.

The camera ends up showing the reaction of the players that look like they just won the lottery or something. In some ways, they did because, with team sports, the best player in the world can’t even win a championship alone. They’re trained and taught to think about the team too. They didn’t win. The team they play for won.

The moments exist and everyone that steps out of the box get’s to feel them to some extent but they’re moments that only truly go to those risking something.

Live A Life

Don’t waste your life doing something you’re not happy to do.

The average people around you are letting themselves rot away. Maybe they have a good job. Maybe they have a good life. Maybe they are reasonably comfortable but anyone that thinks that comfort is a good goal for life is probably not worth imitating. Whether rich or poor, most people end up giving up on their childish dreams. They settle down into a routine of working a regular job, getting a regular paycheck, and finding expensive and stupid ways to exchange their money for the slightest bit of joy in their life.

Money can help but quite frankly, it’s only a tiny factor in the amount of happiness a person ends up with.

What is happiness anyway? Is it the moments when you feel comfortable? Maybe for you but I find most of my happiest moments come from some of my toughest moments. I’ll have a moment of joy while struggling to write a particularly good sentence. (Then I’ll brag for a week that my life’s work is over because I’ve officially written MY sentence. Yea. I’m stupid.) Happiness is not synonymous with comfort.

You only have one life to experience. Live a life that’s worth living. For some people, that might just be, have a couple children and raising them well. For other people, that may be writing music hopelessly for years while trying to break through. Do something worth doing. Even if you fail to get the result that you want, you’ll at least end up with a story worth telling.

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