More Brain Lies

[Follow up to this post]

I had a friend who once dated a 44 year old woman with the abs of a young Britney Spears.  She hated her body.  At first I was confused by this.  How could you not love having a stomach like that?  Eventually I realized that I had the causality reversed.  She was stuck on “hates her body” and that gave her the energy to starve and work out until she had that perfect stomach.

Similarly, anyone who has $100,000,000 and thinks they need more.  No, they don’t.  But if they were capable of feeling satisfied with the amount of money they had, they would have stopped at $10,000,000.  Or $1,000,000.  Or couch surfing and dumpster diving.

The particularly deficiency in my social circle is “I’m not good enough/smart enough/productive enough”.  As Justis Devan points out, this is a among a group that by and large makes six figures and a lot of whom are directly working on important things.  I have a friend who feels bad for not being Elon Musk.

Now, people are not always wrong that something is holding them back from being everything they could be, and to be frustrated by it.  But sometimes it helps to take the gap between is and ought as a sign of how high your standards are, rather than how bad you are at a thing.

4 thoughts on “More Brain Lies”

  1. Good phrasing of this! I was explaining the other day to someone after they complained about me being a little critical of an interview candidate’s sample work that I’m far harder to myself in my own head, and it’s how I’ve improved over time. None of us are perfect, but holding up “less wrong” as a standard in many of the things we do helps us achieve better things. My boss has the highest standards for everything in our department, and our best graphics designer has the highest standards for what good work looks like, our best developer has the highest standards for how code should be written, etc., etc. It’s a drive for improvement, for excellence, even if it’s just polishing the tilework that no one will ever see.

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