thecorestories.com
A story about successful amateurism.
In modern-day English, an “amateur” is someone inexperienced in a particular pursuit; a person who performs a hobby without professional skills. (You know this already, unless your vocabulary is, let’s say, amateur.) It’s a word often used with a jeer. It’s not a label most of us wear with pride. We’d rather be professionals, specialists, gurus, experts — the words we scatter across our LinkedIn profiles, praying people will take us seriously and see us as successful. But the word “amateur” dates back to 1784, with its roots in French and Latin. What it originally meant was “lover.” It was used to describe someone enthusiastic and passionate about a pastime, with no negative connotation and with expertise rendered irrelevant. … Arianna Huffington has a concept she calls the “third metric of success.” She says that our modern culture’s standard notion of success is a two-legged stool, wobbling on the values of money and power, but her vision of a truly triumphant life — one that’s healthy and meaningful— requires a “third metric,” comprised of well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Though we intellectually understand these third metric principles, we often struggle to reconcile them against the ethos that’s built into the first two metrics: the pursuit of productivity. We are all devout believers in “getting stuff done.” We are devotees to the church of efficient output for the sake of accomplishment, while things like sleep and rest and simple pleasure — the input and the fuel for those third metric values — get ignored or even scorned. In ancient cultures, the customs and moral codes were different. Sleep, for starters, was revered. In Greece, Arianna Huffington explains, there were special “sleep temples” where people went to incubate dreams and to seek guidance that applied to all aspects of existence, from leadership to healing. But the Industrial Revolution taught us to treat human beings like machines and thus to devalue downtime, with productivity as a primary goal. I stopped by a new coffee shop the other day for a cold brew, and it came with a cardboard sleeve stamped with the words “F**K SLEEP” in huge, bold lettering. There was merchandise to match, including shirts and hats. This was supposed to be cheeky and charming, a clever ode to the cult of caffeine as the workaholic’s manna. … Rob Bell says, “Beauty reminds us that productivity is not God’s greatest goal. Joy…