07 July 2010

I was thinking about what a friend had said and hoping it was a lie

"The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things." Plato, The Republic, 490A

I have now been working for myself for a little over three months. For the most part things are pretty swell. In terms of the calories burnt and hours spent, I am now working as hard as I have at any point in my life, with focus and passion. A very big upgrade from the squeeze out at my big corporate gig. There is one tiny little sliver of doubt which is troubling. The last time I was this passionate about something was many years ago and it was my tennis game.

Tennis obsession possessed me for approximately ten years. Roughly 1984-1994, from peak Lendl time to beginning Sampras time. The time before the time before the last time I moved, I dumped roughly seventy tennis trophies into the dumpster. The time before that, I moved them all even though I had not played a single tennis match in over two years and I knew I was finished with playing, but I couldn't bear to throw the trophies away yet. I am getting to the sliver of doubt part.

There were two coaches who I employed over the years. They never once told me I had a fatal flaw in my ground stroke mechanics which prevented me from ever advancing above the small time. There were two older players at one of my clubs who told me about it. I ignored both of them. I assumed if there was really a problem one of my professional coaches surely would have addressed it, and although both of these men were skilled players they were nothing like my coaches, and I easily crushed them in any match we played so why would I bother paying attention to them?

Except they were absolutely correct. I just figured this out a few months ago thinking about the stroke mechanics in my living room. There were any number of players with the better mechanics I could have modeled who were available to me; I chose the wrong guy. What I do not know is whether my coaches knew, and refrained from telling me, or if they did not even pay close enough attention to see it. The one I spent the most time with is left-handed so I could not easily model what he was doing; but the other had exactly the ground stroke mechanics which I should have been using. In hindsight this represents a self-inflicted limit upon my experience of ten years in the prime of my life. The only ten years of the prime of my tennis life. Not totally screwed up (I still won seventy trophies) but aye aye aye aye aye aye aye what I could have done with a simple tweak.

"It's quite true what philosophy says, that life must be understood backwards. But one then forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard's Papirer, ed. N. Thulstrup, Trans. A Hannay, IV, p.61

So now I am starting off on this quest of building my own business. My project is fascinating and with potential obscene profits. And the last time I took on a project with this much enthusiasm I screwed up and didn't even listen to two fellows who told me straight how to not screw it up. I wonder if I possess the equanimity to do my best and be satisfied with whatever result I get even if it falls short of my grandiose ambition.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.