we are raised in the american tradition – to believe in the rags to
riches story. that you can become someone from no one, make millions
from nothing and reinvent yourself whenever you desire. hard work
translates into success. we are a young country, we have not yet run
out of opportunities for our people — if you have the determination
and the perserverance, you can achieve anything. asthmatics can win
olympic gold medals, girls from the projects can become grammy award
winners, college drop outs can become millionairs. here, in america —
all things are possible with hard work.

but i’m not am
american, at least, not entirely. i’m indian too (yes anubhav, i know
you’re gasping). and i retained some of my parents’ world weariness and
cynicism. i’ve allowed it to taint my american idealism. and so i
dare to disagree, or at least voice doubt as to the feasibility of such
an idealistic life philosophy.

in relationships, for example,
sometimes no matter how much effort you put into developing a
connection, you just have to recognize that you aren’t enough, that you
do not posses the potential to engage the other person, that no matter
whether your effort is 110% or 250% — that it will never
be adequate. or in careers, where, at times, you have to realize
that no matter how much time you spend on projects, there is a chance
that someone’s talent will just eclipse yours, and render your efforts
pointless. this pattern is evident in all spheres of our lives.

i think i believe in impossibility. i don’t think i believe everything
is achieveable and i fully embrace the boundaries of potential. i don’t
think i beliebe people have the latent talent within them to become
anything they want. hard work isn’t always enough. sheer dogged
determination is only rewarded phenomenally when it is used to
capitalized on natural talent. for someone who is untalented to work
their heart out to accomplish a task is like taking a hammer to a
padlock when a hairpin is needed. the lock is opened, yes, but it is
smashed, obliterated and utterly devastated. brute force along isn’t
enough, cunning is necessary.

not all things are possible. sometimes, for certain people and certain tasks…. sometimes you just aren’t enough.


3 thoughts on “

  1. I suppose thats why they call it American idealism and not American realism, no? On your view that not everything is possible for anybody, i agree on this level-if you werent endowed with technical skills, you wont write the next editions of Windows. If you werent born with the genetic makeup for natural strength, you wont be the next olympic gold medalist in weight-lifting. We all have to work within our means, but i do believe we all have some innate talent with which we can achieve great things. Which also calls into question our definition of “great things.” Finding the cure to AIDS and discovering the next major energy source are great things, but so is the ability to make people laugh or cook a mean filet mignon. Not everybody can be a superhero to the world, sometimes we just have to be superheroes amongst our immediate peers. I think both of which are necessary to the world and just as rewarding. Thanks for yet another provocative post:)


  2. Exactly!  You can spend forever jumping through flaming hoops and in the end, it’s not enough to get what you’ve been working towards, or to impress someone else.  But I think for things that really matter, raw effort and determination can be enough…otherwise nobody would ever get to the point they’re chasing. 


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