I've never viewed myself as particularly talented. I've viewed myself as…slightly above average in talent. Where I excel is with a ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While the other guy's sleeping, I'm working. While the other guy's eating, I'm working. While the other guy's making love, I mean, I'm making love, too, but I'm working really hard at it!
That's from Will Smith in an old 60 Minutes interview.
I once heard Jay Leno say something similar. Leno apparently hasn't taken a vacation in more than 20 years and he says whenever he sees Letterman ("the other guy," to use Smith's phrasing) on vacation, he keeps on working.
Smith and Leno see their work ethic as relative to their competitors.
The bigger problem with Obama's approach is his failure to address—at least so far—the reform of Medicare and Social Security. Without big reductions in spending on these programs, the kinds of investments in the future prosperity that Obama envisions won't be possible. We'll continue to evolve toward a government whose primary function is transferring income from working people to retirees. You don't have to frame this dynamic in racial terms, as Ross Douthat does, to see it as a recipe for social misery. The simple generational unfairness, as well as the drain on economic vitality, is going to become increasingly apparent. If Obama wants to offer a convincing vision of the federal government's role, he will need to recognize the growing imbalance between generosity for the old and investment in future generations. Preserving our biggest entitlement programs in their current form because they have a powerful constituency is hardly a progressive stance. It's the definition of reactionary liberalism.
Tear down the mirror and find people who you can help. That's the key to happiness, he says. Not fame or fortune.
May sound cliche, but Arnold (who's lived an amazing life by any measure) shares a poignant story of helping special olympics kids in the following four minute clip that makes the point well. It's from a commencement speech at Emory University.
In the film Baisers volés, Delphine Seyrig explains to her young lover the difference between politeness and tact: "A visiting gentleman accidentally opens a bathroom door and discovers a woman completely nude. He quickly takes a step back, closes the door, and says, 'Pardon, Madame!' That is politeness. The same gentleman, pushing the same door, discovering the same completely naked woman, then says, 'Pardon, Monsieur!' That is tact." It is only in the second case, by pretending not to have seen enough even to make out the sex of the person in the shower, that one displays true tact.
— from Slavoj Zizek's essay in the January 20 issue of the London Review of Books, via April issue of Harper's, pg 13.