Great piece. Just the other day, I made it up a route two grades higher than I usually ever climb, and all it took was some encouragement from a new belay partner.
The one thing I don’t agree with you on, though, is that in America we say: “Don’t work too hard!” because we are lazy. We say that because we do work too much. Europeans laugh at us and our obsession with work.
But maybe we should work smarter. People feel it’s a badge of honor to be working, but maybe it’s the perception of work rather than the accomplishments that we value. I think your point is, don’t just work, work until it hurts, or don’t bother at all.
I guess the remaining question for me is, what are we trying to get out of this life? We are obsessed with accomplishment (I am, too), and sometimes I wonder if that’s unhealthy. I struggle with this. You point out that there is no longer a middle ground. That creates an opportunity for those that apply themselves, but also not necessarily something to celebrate.
Ironically, I read this piece while procrastinating. So I’d better go and finish what I was doing…