What Does It Make Me?

If I believe that people who work hard, persevere, never give up, and believe in themselves will always come out winning in the end and achieve success, does that make me an optimist? A realist? A conservative? Or simply annoying?

64 thoughts on “What Does It Make Me?”

    1. That is in fact precisely what a political conservative isn’t. Conservatives attempted to conserve social well-being in the face of the then-revolutionary economic libertarianism. Till cultural colonialism of the US media redefined the term to mean precisely the libertarianism it originally opposed, being a conservative was a good thing.

      On the other hand I get the impression from some of your earlier posts/comments that you think a deregulated market is the goal of social progress, so we probably prefer different definitions.

      I’d say you’re dangerously naive if you think hard work is all it takes to succeed. I’d also say you’re an optimist, but I should mention that I don’t see unqualified optimism as a virtue.


  1. Naive. Many work hard, never give up, and believe in themselves but what they achieve is survival (or not). Obstacles external to oneself can be real. What kind of currency you have access to matters. How many borders you must cross to get to place where there is water / employment. How feasible it is to cross these borders. And so on.


    1. I was about to say naive as well. You are spot on. A lot of people are and they will kick you in the balls if you fall down (or elsewhere if you are a girl).

      ┬źObstacles external to oneself can be real.┬╗ So true, but people don’t want to see them. Try to have a normal live when you are deeply neurotic, have dysthymia and fail at everything you do. You can do your best at something and still, your best won’t be enough. Capitalism is base on winners and losers. Winners like to blame the ┬źlosers┬╗ and say they (the winners) are where they are because they are nice, good and worked hard. A lot of bullshit in that.

      It’s the american dream. Hollywood and Disney created this problem.

      I would say part of the problem is to keep believing in myself and keeping hope. Part of the solution is to cut ties with the people who called themselves friends but kick you when you are down. Nobody needs those kind of friends.


  2. One thing I definitely do not support is deregulated markets. The 19th century demonstrated their dangers to us. Going back to that failed system is precisely what conservatism is. Think about the root of the word, “conserve”, to preserve unchanged.


    1. Hence my use of the term “political conservatism”. Words are important, Clarissa. As was earlier discussed on this blog, if we all went by etymology, we would have to stop saying “hello” to each other and feel persecuted if someone did ­čÖé

      I remember quite distinctly you agreed with either David Bellamy (or was it Charles Rowley) on this blog when they expressed a clear preference for deregulated markets. Perhaps you were, as your sister says, just being nice.


  3. Successful. Successful people usually tend to believe that they made it because they worked hard, were tenacious, believed in themselves, etc. Which is possibly true, but there are also many other people who did the same things but failed.


      1. I’m not complaining about my life, but I read the news every day and know dozens of people who worked hard all their life, did everything by the book, and still were laid off and can’t find a job again. And I’ve seen the toll it takes on them. That’s why I can’t believe in what you do, regardless of my excellent personal situation.


  4. I want to remind people that I was bron in the country where there was no Hollywood and no Dosney, where we sent through the economic crisis of 1990-1991 compared to which today’s recession in the US is a breath of fresh air. My worldview has nothing to do with Hollywood with which I’m still completely unfamiliar.

    As I said, we need to be less narrow-minded here and not explain everything in these Americocentrist terms.


    1. They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Continuing with the playing card analogy (below the present comment, I think), it’s another one of your strong suits. That’s the problem with us Americans. We have it too good and have become fat and lazy. Instead of recognizing our inferiority complex for what it is (and recognizing our advantages for what they are, which is double-edged swords), we take it out on immigrants. It’s like Superman being born on a planet with a red (lower temperature) sun–in that environment one has to make more resourceful use of energy, making finding one’s way on a yellow-sun planet like a knife through butter, at least when it comes to feats of strength.


    1. What a weird comment. Didn’t I recently blog about how I lost everything right after I emigrated and was left with a teenager on my hands in a strange country? Do remember that I’m twice an immigrant who has known unemployment and economic hardship that, honestly, you can’t even begin to imagine.


      1. You seem to think that there is always an happy ending, after all the struggles, wich is why I spoke about Hollywood and disney. Life is not like that and the system we are living in either. There is a lof of criminals and sick people at the top and a lof of peple at the bottom of the ladder who deserves better.

        If you don’t respect me and others who did not make it, why should I or others respect you? I went trough a lot. My brother might be an even worse case as he is on Lithium and may never be able to work. My life is heading no where and people like you want me to take all the blame?

        I am a human being and won’t let you treat me like garbage. I am sure you are a nice person deep down but you bough the fairy tales


      2. You also blog about how you come from a family of high achievers. Social capital is real. Of course, even with a healthy dose of social capital, material deprivation brings real disadvantages. I suppose I think of success as effectiveness in playing the hand you’re dealt. Sometimes that means bluffing:

        “Now that’s enough defeatism, Toby, let’s get to work and believe in ourselves and by Christ a busted flush can win when the guys behind it have the balls for it….”

        Not that there’s anything at all fake about your accomplishments; I suggest nothing of the sort. It’s more about the balls [sic] than the bluff, anyway. When there are more than enough qualified applicants (and when aren’t there under capitalism?) something in addition to qualifications must be brought to the table. In your case, I think this may be where your above-average self-esteem comes in. For some, “networking” (which I was delighted to hear you despise, as you might recall) is the something extra. I don’t think having high self esteem is a sin, but rubbing it in at every opportunity, or characterizing the mass of humanity out there as ‘envious,’ might be considered impolite in some circles. There are no objective standards when it comes to politeness. I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about these practices.


        1. You are absolutely right! I mentioned self-esteem (in the form of believing in yourself) as a sine qua non of every success wiyhin the post. I’m glad you picked up on that! The good news is that there are many things one can do to work on low self-esteem issues in the course of one’s life.

          I’m also very happy people have noticed the psychological copy-maker post. ­čÖé


  5. There are a lot of things you don’t control. You can control some things, but not everything. I sure did not pick up dysthymia by choice. I am sure my brother would have went with something else than Bipolar disorder. Those are diseases that are fucking hard to deal with. Of course I feel helpless and powerless! This is what disthymia is all about. Google it or go on wikipedia.

    I can try to get a job. Does not mean I will get the job. I can ask a girl out. Does not mean she will say yes. How can it work ? And so far, I only had crappy jobs and all the girls said no or changed their minds after one or two weeks, wich is even worse. I can try hard to get a degree and fix things at the university but it does not mean I will have what I want.

    I think you have some control over your effort, but not over the results. And some people will get great results with not much efforts and some will get poor results with great efforts. +, some are more lucky than others.

    It’s not all black or white like you are trying to say.


  6. ┬źI can try to get a job. Does not mean I will get the job. I can ask a girl out. Does not mean she will say yes. How can it work ?┬╗ I meant to say, how can it work in any other way? You are not the only one making choices. Others people will.


  7. Bakouchaiev: I think you’ve confused clarissa’s position with that of “people down on their luck deserve what they have”. I think instead, it is more of a position of: “Anyone can achieve anything if they try hard enough”.

    While I think her position is factually unrealistic, I think that it has the advantage of being useful as a personal creed.

    After all, how depressing does it become when we give in to the knowledge that we have little bearing on the course of our lives?

    Instead of thinking about the past “these decisions have led me to be a failure” – it is far more productive to think of the decisions that will lead you to a future success.

    What do you enjoy doing? Painting? Dance? Music? Programming? Teaching? Working with your hands? Do that thing enough, and with such skill that others are forced to aknowledge your skill.

    Having trouble asking out girls? Ask out enough, that, statistically speaking, one of them is stupid enough (or smart enough) to say yes.

    The idea here, is to shout “fuck fate” from a high enough mountaintop, that even the gods themselves are forced to acknowledge your awesomeness.

    I’m reminded of a very specific song as I type these words:


    1. “While I think her position is factually unrealistic, I think that it has the advantage of being useful as a personal creed. ”

      I agree, but this is not what Clarissa tries to sold to us, or at least, not only that.


      1. OK, let’s try to be careful with the language here. I’m not “trying to sell” anything to anybody. A blog is a personal diary that one chooses to write publicly. This is my worldview and I try to articulate it for month own benefit. If other people find it useful or curious, that’s good. If not, they can rest assured I will not hunt them down and try to ram it down their throats.


            1. Formulated like you did here, your belief is false.

              But if you motivated yourself with the mantra: “If I work hard, persevere, never give up, and believe in myself, I will come out winning in the end and achieve success”, this would be a great attitude! No problem with that…and I even support people who have this attitude!

              But here, your belief is false.


    1. Thank you, Darque, for understanding my point so well. We all have a list of things that go in our favor and a list of things that go against us. Concentrating on the negatives isn’t being objective or a realist. It’s simply self-sabotage. If we believe the worst about ourselves, people will pick up on this message and believe that we are as useless and hopeless as we are. What would be the point of me publishing a post to tell people everything is bad and will never get better?

      I’ve had some pretty dark moments in my life where everything was so bad it literally hurt to breathe. But I know now that there is a way out. It is always located inside oneself. Always.


      1. Your position is deceiving, that’s all. And I’m sure you like to read yourself over and over again.

        I will leave you in Walt disney and not reading you anymore.

        I don’t think you want this world to be a better place at all. What you seems to say, it’s that the system is working, the individual can do it on his/her own. Problem is the people! That is conservative.

        Reading you makes me even more depress and angry than I am already. So I will stop doing that and it should help me fixing my life.


  8. Darque :

    While I think her position is factually unrealistic, I think that it has the advantage of being useful as a personal creed.

    I agree with this. I think that everyone I’ve met who achieved a goal when the odds were stacked against them has been cheerful and optimistic and worked hard, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who is cheerful and optimistic and works hard will achieve their goal.
    This makes me hesitant to judge people who are pessimistic and struggling, but I’ll still try to work with friends in that situation to help them see their options. I won’t just say “You’re right. Go ahead and give up.”


    1. As I explained before, in my worldview, whatever happens to me is what I want and choose. If I hated my grad school experience, couldn’t find a job for a long time, had huge money troubles, it was something I needed and created for myself. People get upset when I express my way of seeing the world because it clashes with theirs. However, I believe I am entitled to see my reality on my own terms. The only place where I express these thoughts is my own blog. I don’t go to other people’s spaces and try to impose my thoughts on them.

      In terms of the comment I linked to, I’m one of those people who kept creating this precarious lifestyle for myself because it kept fulfilling a profound psychological need. If an entire society lives precariously, I believe it does sofor the same reason but collectively.


  9. But does everything that happens have to make sense in this way? One “needed” a particular tornado to strike, etc.? Japan “needed” Hiroshima/Nagasaki and now Fukushima? etc.? (Yes, policy decisions brought that last on, but still.)


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