We build our careers, our businesses, in order to achieve tangible results. The more ambitious we are, the greater demands we make on ourselves to soar beyond the expected and to rise to the extraordinary. The timeless. The levels of achievement that will result in a semblance of immortality.
The bar is high. Think of joining the Fortune 500, the Forbes 400, the Nobel Prize, CEO, Pulitzer and Oscar. Should we reach these heights, we believe, we will be Forever. So we map our paths to the top.
The only problem is, the entire journey is a charade.
None of us are Forever. The successes we strive for and achieve are good and fine and worth pursuing (it certainly beats sitting there, simply letting life happen to us) but the rewards are only for the here and now.
For a select few, the legend continues after we are on the sidelines. But even for this exalted group – our Founding Fathers, Shakespeare, Socrates, Paley, Rockefeller–there is a beginning and an End.
The rewards we seek and perhaps that we gain for our brains and brawn and sweat and inspiration and drive and determination and resilience, are all ours for the here and now.
Not a second later.
We don’t and cannot– even if we want to– achieve for posterity, for our loved ones, for those who will inherit our companies or succeed us in our professions. We do it (whatever it is we do) for OURSELVES.
Everything else is a myth. A lie.
This should not stop us. But we should understand how crazy the quilt is as we sew it through the years.
All the while, we are Mapping The Road To Oblivion.
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