I wanted to quote so much of this article that it would have ended up being a Borges-like 1:1 map of the territory. Instead, I’ll simply share the part of Swarnali Mukherjee’s writing which resonated most with me.
Do go and read the whole thing.
(I discovered this via Substack Notes, in which I have no financial interest, but simply finding to be a chill and serendipitious alternative to other social media)
The problem is simple: most of us have normalized and even glorified the hustle for success. The issue lies not in the hustle itself but in the often overlooked aspect of burning out. When success is defined in terms of societal parameters such as wealth, fame, and the emphasis on building an identity, life’s entire focus becomes sustaining and amplifying this ego at the cost of our well-being, both psychologically and physically. We reinvent spaces in our intellectual worlds to serve this gigantic ego that we have conjured over the years but seldom find true happiness there. Our inner world becomes our ultimate prison, from whose window our persistent illusion of success resembles fireworks, promising that we can achieve them as long as we stay in the prison. This is a subtle deception of our social constructs; we humans have meticulously constructed these labyrinths of illusions to shield ourselves from the truth that even if we are in service to our desires, they are influenced by external factors. In that manner, doing something because the world expects it, that you won’t be doing otherwise is also a form of imprisonment.