Monday, July 20, 2009

Doing what you like 2

So, my father's got me into reading biographies, or at least a couple of good ones at any rate.

The odd thing is that the lives of two former presidents, one a war hero the other a lawyer, have helped me resolve the dilemma of duty vs. the apparent greater efficacy of doing what you want.

As I stated in a previous posting, setting out to do the right thing has gotten me into trouble more than once, while doing what I wanted to do in life resulted in a productive and happy synergy.

After having read Korda's Ike and David McCullough's John Adams, it seems to me that there are those who people whose life dreams coincide with what we consider civic or national duty. Adams and Eisenhower were both ambitious and driven by a strong sense of public service. That sense of duty seems to have kept them in their chosen careers and in pursuit of their ultimate ambitions during times of extreme difficulty, even when they were neglected or scorned by both the political establishment and the nation that they were serving. In the end, both seemed happier for having stuck it out.

The same holds true of people below the level of "great men." There are those whose sense of obligation to the greater good matches their life's dream at the level of administrators, teachers, policemen and so on. These are the people who make the world go round, or at least, in my view, who keep it on track for the rest of us.

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