Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Life Control

Check out this short, fascinating article from Fast Company -- Ranking Ourselves to Death. I'm a sucker for anything discussing how people redefine success and then work towards it in unconventional ways:
"As far as I could tell, none of them had opted out because they couldn't hack it. Rather, their success had given them the confidence to live life on their own terms. From their point of view, they had opted in -- to what really mattered to them. These folks represent what demographers call 'deconcentration.' It's a historically unprecedented trend of recent decades in which people leave the regimentation of city and suburb, seeking more personal control and meaningful voice in a rural community."
This gem comes from Jory's excellent analysis of how we decide what we should be doing with our lives, and how our goals are often in conflict:
"When I wasn’t dreaming of receiving international accolades for my epic writing in the form of the usual literary decorations—Pulitzers, Nobel Prizes, New Yorker articles, I was fantasizing of sitting in my little cottage in some unknown rural enclave with a view of my wild English garden, sipping coffee. Even while dreaming of my arrival I was planning my escape."
She's exploring the difference between external and internal measures of success. Most of us adopt some versions of the usual suspects in our definitions of success -- wealth, power, fame and the American Dream -- without ever initiating the difficult process of questioning them and making sure our goals are aligned with what we really value.

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