Day 2 of Reading Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro and all I want to do is quote the whole thing in block form, while interjecting a, “See!” or a “Right?” every now and then. But I’ll spare us all and try to whittle it down to an idea or two that has stuck with me. On page 16, he sums up quite nicely what the title of the book really means:
Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.
That’s really it, isn’t it? I’m currently writing on a red-eye bus heading to Louisiana from Texas and the wifi is spotty at best. (So get ready for some amazing half-remembered quotes!) Richard Foster opens his great book Celebration of Discipline by saying that we don’t need more talented or gifted people, we need deeper people. We need mature people.
French sociologist Jean Baudrillard offers a criticism of Western culture in his book Simulacra and Simulation by zeroing in on Disneyland as an amazingly intricate cultural camouflage. It serves us all as an example of what it means to be a child: wonder, imagination, and believing your dreams really can come true. To be clear, I’m not against any of these things, but Baudrillard states that being childlike is actually to be filled with selfishness and tantrums. And as long as Disneyland exists, we’re free to be as childish as we want to be when we’re adults, becuase we changed the meaning of the word.
Whomp whomp. What a downer! Give that dude a baguette and some wine and tell him to pipe down!
Except that I think he’s right. When I think about who I want to be and who I want to surround myself with, it’s actually mature people, not childish people. And mature doesn’t mean “not fun” because some of the most fun people I’ve ever spent time with are those that are humble and know themselves well enough to poke fun at themselves as well as at others.
So just as ambition and greed are not the same things, I need to remember that being an adult and being dull are not the same things, either. I remember so much of my twenties were spent thinking amazingly disciplined people were somehow lame. It’s taken me until well into my thirties to realize how ridiculous that was and to being the process of yanking those harmful thoughts out by the roots. This book is reminding me of what I did to begin changing my thinking, but that’s for another post.