“Just because someone doesn't love you as you wish, it doesn't mean you're not loved with all his/her being.” ― Gabriel García Márquez
Effort is more important than so-called success because effort is a real thing. What we call “success” is just the manifestation of our mind’s ability to categorize things. This is “success.” That is “failure.” Who says? You says. That’s all. Reality is what it is, beyond all concepts of success and failure.
How can we live on the volcano of civilization without deliberately forgetting about it, but also without suffocating on the fears — and not just on the vapors that the volcano exudes?
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
— Joan Didion, Commencement Address at UC Riverside (1975)
The more I think about the grandiose framing of the titanic pressures of modern life, the boots of capitalism marching triumphantly over our leisure time, the more I think it might be a modern way of shielding ourselves from a fundamental human discomfort: that so much of what we do means so little.
So, the idea of walking in someone else’s shoes and trying to understand what they’re feeling, I believe has no merit. I think the call is much more difficult and much more powerful. And that is: to ask the person for their story of what it’s like in their shoes and to believe them. I think it’s not about guessing what they’re feeling.