“It’s your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your altitude. ” For a year in high school I’d see that poster every day, not fully appreciating the harsh reality that was being paraded before my eyes: shitty go-getters were gonna be running things. I get the sense that it was supposed to be a motivational poster, but now it strikes me more as a warning. “I know you’re brilliant, but you’re not much of a social climber, so you’ll probably end up just being unhappy with how smart you are. Sorry champ!”
But there’s another way to read that poster: you too can be a shitty go-getter! Is it true? Can I get all of the perks of being good without any of the hard work that being good requires? If all it takes is an attitude adjustment, then sign me up! I guess you can be good and just change your attitude, but who has the energy for that? Not this guy!
Here’s what I’m gonna do: from this point forward, I will assume that I’ll one day be able to achieve the success I desire. Every misstep and hardship will be redeemed– made acceptable–dare I say beautiful– in light of the success it made possible. I won’t worry about anything but doing the best job I can do. “But you said you didn’t have the energy to be good.” I don’t! I only have the energy to do my best; I can’t worry about being good.
Take that last line outta context and use it to inspire a philosophy symposium.