Maira Kalman is really cool, and really really honest.
Here is some of her work. She is also earnest, I thought of another word.
This is my favorite series she did. It was a ‘column’ she did for the New York Times online.
I watched this video
and she made me think of meritocracy, which is this thing that totally exists right now. In me and I think in our society. Meritocracy is the belief that everything you get is what you deserve. You work really hard, you get really good rewards. Your success is in direct relation with the amount of work you put in. (NOTE: I did not say ‘the amount you want it.’ Not the same thing.) And I hate that I think I mostly totally believe that.
But this idea is kind of this tragic thing, because of course, there are so many unknown factors. There are so many things which we cannot account for. Luck or fate or destiny or chance exists. It is a thing. Fatigue, health, nepotism, time and place exist. Even if you work really, really hard, meritocracy is not totally true. You could fail and still put in more effort that the person who wins. And I think it is this tragic belief, because we still are so hard on ourselves. When we fail, even when we deserve to succeed, I know that often I think to myself, that I just didn’t work hard enough. That I need to work harder next time. I think you and I and everyone must sometimes take a moment to realize that sometimes, maybe we actually did deserve it and did work hard enough.
Acknowledge that; take a moment to feel that and believe that. And maybe use the factor of luck or randomness. Maybe put ourselves in some situations where we give ourselves more chances and more opportunities. Use that push from meritocracy to make us work harder, but also realize reality, relax the chastise. Relax it.
Try to be a bit kinder. But that doesn’t mean work less. Keep pushing.