The Pain of Being Human

Day 4 of 10 for the Digital Book Club over at We are reading Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.

What point is there to reading such a book without deep introspection. If we read only to find validation then we have just indulged in a distraction, an addiction. If we don’t find ourselves within the uncomfortable truths, then what good is it? These posts are my effort to apply this book to my life, as deeply as I am able.

There are two distinct aspect to my life. My career, and my personal life.

In my career life, I am a professional. That is not to say that I don’t have amateurish habits that, but those habits bleed in from my personal life, where I am without a doubt an amateur.

I did not have Steve’s experience of being on the road, of having a shadow career, of isolating myself for a year in order to turn professional. However, there are echoes of his experience in my own. I spent 60+ hour work weeks learning, honing, and practicing my engineering skills. I pulled all nighters to absorb a new concept or debug a logic block. There were many hours spent with no distractions, just concentrated focus. But an all nighter is lonely and isolated. I read books and articles on the art of engineering. And, I had mentors for guidance. This is the stuff of becoming professional, of developing professional habits.

Unfortunately, my personal life did not have the same transformation. I was unaware of my need for a mentor and to learn about myself, about my calling. Regardless of my successful career, I am all too aware of the “pain of being human.

What is the pain of being human? It’s the condition of being suspended between two worlds and being unable to fully enter into either.

Suspended between a career and a personal life. And, suspended between heaven and earth.

The addict seeks to escape the pain of being human in one of two ways — by transcending it or by anesthetizing it.

I have anesthetized the pain using distractions and failure. Far too long have I remained in the shadows.