Rants on business, science, technology, society, politics, police, and justice, plus life hacks and tricks, since 2003. header image 2

Everybody Likes a Winner

February 5th, 2006 · No Comments

Everyone likes a winner. Too often, it’s about being the best, when it should be that everyone is just the best they can be. There will always be winners, as long as there are losers. For example, 50% of people live with less than the median income. Averages are substantiated by data points that are approximately average, usually with a few outlying points that sway the rest in any direction. In a society, there can never be as many outliers as there are individuals. If every individual is an outlier, it dilutes the significance of being an outlier in the first place.

There are no comprehensive statistics on success at life. Somehow, most people are successful at life, because they keep living. Sometimes people die because of health deficiencies, and sometimes they die because of accidents. Something that is the best suited at one moment can be crushed the next. It’s the cycle of death and life that produces the richness of each iteration of life’s cycle. That is evolution, that the system changes around circumstances. Evolution is what produces the extremes. Evolution also produces the in-betweens, however, in a much larger quantity.

Chances are, if you’re not already being paid to be beautiful, no one will pay you to be beautiful. You will not necessarily become CEO of a company because you give them your loyal service. A queen bee is nothing, without worker bees to guard it and feed it. This does not make the worker bee’s existence less significant. Perhaps bees do not wonder what it would be like to be queen bee, and perhaps young children do not all wonder if they can grow up to be the people they see on TV. Alas, not everyone will get to be on TV (at least not regularly enough for anyone to really remember). We all have our fifteen minutes. When it’s over, make sure to bow and gracefully exit.

But don’t even hesitate to enjoy it while the moment is yours. Smile widely and embrace it. Everyone is talented at something, sort of. Well, not every one is talented, really. But the moral of this story is not that everyone is exceptional. We are exceptions to people all around us. In that way, a mother could move across the country, except for her child.

Just be what you are, and try to have a good time along the way. Leave your name carved into the sand as deeply as you’d like, because it won’t stay there forever. Just enjoy those precious few waves as they roll into the shore. Between each wave, there is your name, but just a little bit less each time. It truly never disappears fully. Everything that we do has consequences, but the ultimate consequence is that few – if not none – of what any of us ever do could ever have any true lasting impact for humanity. Even the greatest humanitarians through history were hated by someone, I’m sure. Pardon my computer humor here, but then think that Bill Gates is the greatest humanitarian by the amount of money he’s donated to charity (namely to his own charity). Remember that we are all hypocrites in some way.

I break vehicle & traffic laws and yet enforce parking regulations. Has no police officer ever exceeded the speed limit? The judges that fine you, have they never driven on a cell phone? Has a police officer or judge ever smoked marijuana? Inhaled or not, sometimes the people that execute the law break it themselves. When we see it we should hang our heads in shame. And so we should be ashamed when we are the fool.

Life will hurt. You will ache and strain throughout it. Your vision will blur and dull over time. But you will carry on until you are no longer fit to do so, under life’s orders. Is life the ultimate hypocrite? Life – to create the vivid experience only to rob us of it, and wash away our legacies like our names in the sand. No dollar bill lasts a lifetime if you subject it to use. Even those pesky radioactive isotopes that last tens of thousands of years will eventually fade. Eventually.

One rain drop does not cause a leak on the roof, but one of them does. Every drop that drips in will have some non aqueous material in it. Eventually molds and bacteria will grow where there is that moisture. As those life forms die, somehow, a seed or other kind of plant material is dripped in, and finds the delicious remains of molds to feast on. The plant grows after seasons and seasons of exposure, inside the building. Where there are plants, there are animals as well. The animals will dig holes to get at the food trapped inside. Humans will break windows to steal copper pipes and other miscellany. One day, after many rain drops, a portion will collapse, perhaps because of rot. A building ultimately crumbles. When the building crumbles, the rain will wash it back into the dirt. The mound of rubble will become smaller and smaller as the rain drops pound down – and life happens around it.

Like a mound of rubble is what our legacies will be, no matter how exceptional. But it sure is beautiful watching those water droplets do such beautiful things. To be the essence of life, and to pound us back into the earth, drop by drop. Moment by moment. It’s already happening. A million things you can never know about happened this second. Relax and enjoy the waves, but don’t be afraid to play in them a little bit.

And finally, don’t be a jerk and start splashing people. Since there’s no way to swim without some kind of splashing, just apologize when you do. If you didn’t mean to splash, most people will understand. Anyone that would get upset about it is just trying to make their own waves. And let them. You can always go make a sandcastle instead.

I will allow everyone to see when I am the one with egg on my face.

Egg on Peter's face

Tags: My Thoughts

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