Regardless of outcome, the most important measurement of a life’s work is how little you have compromised, how much in you has been brought forth whole and entire, in the original form you have envisioned deep in your heart. This is the secret of great art, great achievement: the refusal to compromise, the stamina to see to the last detail cast in the mold of the mind’s highest dream. This is Stanley Kubric, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet. This is Confucius, Jesus, Sakyamuni, Socrates. The courage to stand by one’s conviction in an otherwise humble spirit is always the sign of greatness and mental maturity.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. (–Ralph Waldo Emerson) This self, after its humble search of wisdom, comes to maturity at middle age, confident in the knowledge that actually nobody knows better how to live. The decision is yours. The risk is yours. The stage is yours. The best freedom life grants you is the freedom to make mistakes. To take risks and to make mistakes are better than to leave a life unlived, which is the worst sin. There are threats and punishments from the establishment. As a fish in a fish bowl, when you jump out, instead of finding the ocean, you may well die of thirst on a waterless table. All the other fish in the bowl, witnessing your terrible end, will celebrate their captivity, their decision to not seek freedom. There is no right or wrong. There is always risk. There is always hope. Walk out of slavery or forever remain in the false peace, it is now or never. At middle age, the inner fire burns into panic, in the hope of final awakening and action-taking. Otherwise it will be too late.