“Remember: you will never earn the same rewards as others without employing the same methods and investment of time as they do. It is unreasonable to think we can earn rewards without being willing to pay their true price. The person who “wins” at something has no real advantage over you because they had to pay the price for the reward.”
— Epictetus, A Manual for Living
There are times we can feel the overwhelming power of jealous and the great sense of failure when we size ourselves up with others who are deemed “successful.” Normally, I’m on my best guard when I let my own thoughts react to these situations but it was a special combination of “highly specialized individual” and the “undying thirst for knowledge.”
Then again, a good verbal barrage and the art of hijacking the conversation so you are the center of all things are usually what sells it home, especially giving it a few days to think about. To be honest, it started off as a friendly sharing of knowledge of literature and the love of books. I deeply wanted to get into the concepts and ideas of how stories are so great. It was on the topic of Russian literature (outside of popular culture, I knew little first hand) and French literature.
When it got to French literature, my brain connected towards to a recent purchase of The Count of Monte Cristo and how I wanted to see if this other person had read it and had an opinion of what the interwebs were saying about the new translation from Penguin Books was recommended as the best to read. I had only gotten the Modern Library version so… I wanted an answer if it was still worth it.
I never got that answer.