Have you ever noticed how people will talk at length about happiness and dreams and goals but hardly anyone ever talks about reasonable goals, about life in realistic terms, because to do so is somehow seen as downbeat or pessimistic or defeatist? What's more, we never talk about how rewards often just fall from the sky, just happen to people, because they're pursuing a certain line of thought or activity and experience a certain amount of luck, as opposed to them actively chasing the recognition for that activity?

I just read a little interview with Michael Spence, who was asked if he had any advice on how to win a Nobel Prize ...
There’s no way to win it in the active sense; you sort of end up receiving it if you’re lucky. It’s not a reasonable goal in life.
... and I was struck by how odd this sounded. No "reach for the stars" or "dream big" or any of that bullshit.

He also talks about our ideas around happiness. This is a subject I often discuss with my wife. We discuss it because my wife is the kind of person who is never happy. She *thinks* she will be happy, when she gets that next whatsit (car, couch, computer, house, certificate, toy, sushi tray, etc), but it doesn't last. And then starts the race to the next whatsit.

She would be the first to admit that she just wants what she wants, and that she doesn't give a shit about the journey, about process. She would also be the first to tell me to shut my hole about reasonable goals.

And hey: she does get a *lot* done. But then, so do I. And I do my stuff so much more quietly.


  1. I often think all this 'aim big, aim high' stuff has led to a generation of disappointeds. I know a few people who strive for success, but when asked what that is they can't answer, still they keep striving. I'll have to check out Spense he sounds my kind of mild.

  2. Face it, some people are just full of airy-fairy shit. I think they just don't want to face reality. Cos reality can suck. Majorly suck

  3. i was just making my list of realistic goals the other day in my head. i think this was it:

    1a) do not become an alcoholic
    b) or a suicide
    c) or a drug addict.
    2) have and maintain a good relationship with my niece.

  4. This was good to read. Thanks:)


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