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Grant Snider: “Behind Every Great Novelist”

I found this image on John Green’s Tumblr and it actually had exactly to do with a conversation I was having today, a conversation I figured I’d expand to here because, well, I actually remembered I could expand it here. Yeah, I know it’s a silly joke comic, but it gets to me. It’s a joke that, like everything else worth talking about, is based largely in truth. The bottom left image particularly haunts me, a joke that’s funny because it’s horrible (and it’s happened). Is it possible to do something great — lastingly great, historically great, with a wide impact — without setting everything else aside? Particularly, without setting good relationships aside?

I tend to be of the opinion that in order to be great at something, like really, lastingly great at something, you’d best be obsessed with it. And usually that obsession comes at a cost. Less time spent well with people seems to be a pretty common one.

Can ambition and care for others coexist? I’ve been thinking about this question since seventh grade and I’m still unsure. But most days I still think the answer is “no.” I recognize that may be a false dichotomy. But it appears to be a pretty strong trend, at least in both the historical and personal examples I’ve seen.

So give me some other examples, if you’ve got em and are willing to share. I’m curious. I want my theory to be disproven.

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One thought on “Grant Snider: “Behind Every Great Novelist”

  1. Jordan says:

    I think all decisions come down to our priorities; the things we choose to do and what apply ourselves toward are organized based on the importance we give them. If personal achievement is the focus, then we may end up shutting people out. If we are more willing to care for people in some respect, we may sacrifice our personal interest.

    Also, people have striven to make a lasting impact for the whole of human history. Some people are know for the incredible lengths they went to in order to make something happen, yet others were known for freak, instantaneous discoveries. Getting one’s name in a history book can happen miraculously quickly or after years of self-indulging work. I think it comes down to a willingness to give something your all with whatever you do in life, but being willing to recognize that personal greatness is not the only important thing we will encounter. Relationships, God, health, money, duty, etc., may all be things that come between us and personal greatness, but that doesn’t make them bad.

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