I look at most of my peers as careerists. They sacrifice their own opinions and freedom so that they can get along. They tell their teachers what they want to hear. They play the academic game. They retain the good graces of their superiors and this eases their way up the ladder.
I guess there’s nothing wrong with this. It just doesn’t seem heroic to me.
I hate telling my superiors what they want to hear (when that differs from my own beliefs).
When I was in my mother’s stomach, she had a conviction that I would grow up to do something great for God.
My parents told me this many times when I was a kid. Combined with the books I read and the movies I saw, I developed a view of myself as heroic.
This has probably done me more harm than good, but not by a wide margin. Maybe just 60-40. I have a dangerous tendency to grandiosity which cuts me off from normal human relationships, but also gives me the strength to do the important but unpopular.
So why do I make life difficult for myself? I join groups (yoga, Orthodox Judaism, Alexander Technique, LA Press Club, etc) and then jeopardize my standing by writing inflammatory blog posts.
I feel like I have a destiny and that the world needs to know what I’m thinking.
By contrast, I have advisers who tell me, “Sometimes you have to think strategically.”