There are many theories in our modern tendency to over analyze all things. For example your birth order is now considered a major influence on your personality. I was the oldest girl of six children which has all kinds of psychological implications but actually none of them apply to me because my wise and wonderful, carefree older brother somehow decided to step out of his designated position and do whatever sounded like the most fun. By default as second born, I then inherited what was supposedly the leadership status of the “first-born” profile.
“As explained by Stewart, using Adler’s framework, the firstborn child (or one with the “oldest” role) would be most likely to take on a leadership position, like it when people stick to rules and order, and strive toward achievement goals.“
So here’s the deal, I felt the pressure of the ideals in being in charge but I had no real drive to “strive toward achievement goals‘. Yes, I know this is a very strange paradox but in that confusion I devised a way to please everyone. Somehow I quickly learned to maximize my creative talent for problem solving using the least amount of effort, while hopefully fulfilling the needs of those around me by making sure everyone was cared for and behaving as they should. Of course this was done out of a subconscious primal instinct to survive life without giving into “the rules.”
So what does this have to do with Jane Fonda’s famous statement, “no pain, no gain”? Somewhere around the age of 16, which was the year my youngest sibling was born, my father took me aside and gave me one of those paternal pep talks. Mom was not doing well, there was a new baby to care for and basically I was the back up mom and homemaker. I think it was his intention to inspire me to be strong, do better and buck up under the pressure of the situation. It seems as though this was his version of “no pain, no gain” but it didn’t quiet translate to a motivation speech. These were his words, “I know there is a lot to do but you need to be doing more. It takes a lot of brains to be lazy and get away with it and you are obviously a very smart kid, but stop thinking and just do more.”
I’m not sure what snapped on that particular day. I did try hard to do my best but the struggle to push harder, do better and become stronger seemed to only strengthen my instincts to find the path of least resistance. The only thing I held on to from that moment so many years ago was, “it takes brains…….you are obviously a very smart kid.” Those adolescent years were riveted with intense moments of pain and jubilant times of joy.
In considering the question, “is it possible to achieve greatness without considerable hardship?” I absolutely believe that greatness and hardship have nothing to do with each other. Many “great” people lived blissful lives of abundance and support while achieving painless greatness while others gained the highest status of greatness while facing insurmountable hardships.
Isn’t it awesome how a simple question posted on a massive social network of people telling stories can spark such great potential in sharing the human adventure? Some might see it as the lazy writers way of expression but for me, it offers a brilliant path of ease and flow and gives us all a platform to gain insight on our collective and personal greatness. Thanks to you all at WordPress.com and all the brains it takes to make this moment happen.
By the way, Jane Fonda was a first-born child and just in case we have forgotten she also had a drive ” …to survive life without giving into the rules.” And just to bring things up to date, here is one of her more recent quotes,
“The challenge is not to be perfect…it’s to be whole”
― Jane Fonda“