A Life of Quiet Desperation

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”Henry David Thoreau

You huddle under the warmth of the blanket, cursing the alarm. It is chilly outside. There’s no point. In any of the things you are about to do. Yet, you have to get up. You have to wash yourself, get dressed, get to work. And you have to sit there, bored out of your mind, doing graceless tasks that have to be done because your boss said so. Because otherwise, you’d be unable to pay the bills or afford to buy food.

The nine to five. The lunch break. The grave ticking of the clock that slices your life away carelessly. The habit of grasping for a bit of comfort once you get home. The days when you can Netflix and chill your life away. The restless resignation that you are unable to do more than this.

Let me tell you one thing: the monster of insecurity is born out of our childish desire for comfort and security.

Comfort and security are curses in disguise. And society has the habit of offering you these as crutches, even though you are perfectly capable of walking on your own two feet. Do this long enough, and you won’t even be able to remember a time when you didn’t need them.

If you think that you lack the talent, creativity, or discipline to aspire for greatness enslaves you to a life of mediocrity. Thinking that you can’t improve, that you cannot evolve means that that you will be forever destined for a life of profound and intense dissatisfaction.

If you are not happy with what you call work, then it’s time to change. If what you call work is providing you with enough reasons to act lazy, to despise yourself, to daydream of the comfort of doing nothing, then you need to take massive action.


Because there will come a time when you will regret it all. Hitting that snooze button every single morning, the coffee breaks, the mental laziness that comes as a side-effect of 5-6 hours of TV every single day, the fact that you are an expert on what goes on on social media…

This is a simple truth, and I believe that if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that mediocrity is never a conscious choice. It’s not an educated decision. It just sort of happens, and for lack of a better thing to do with our lives, we accept it.

A sub-par existence is something I’ve always dreaded. I’d much rather self-impose the kind of discipline that makes most people sick than do something I hate for someone who’s glad to pay me just enough not to quit.

Do you want that for yourself?

Do you want to lead a life of quiet desperation, boredom, and dissatisfaction?

Do you want your one week vacation once a year that makes you feel anxious about returning to work?

Do you want to spend your time staring at a blank point on a wall, waiting for the day to end?

Be honest with yourself. If these words make you feel uncomfortable, if you, in any way, feel the need to justify yourself, to rationalize your predicament, or to blame some outside factors or bad luck or whatever, stop and demand the truth from yourself.

Why are you crawling through life?

You were born with wings, yet you cut them down, never to feel the freedom of being able to soar through the sky.

It is easy to discard my words, and to return to the safety and comfort of being low-energy, eat junk food, and burp on the coach while the TV melts your brain away with dumb movies and commercials.

Are you a sheep? Or a wolf?

Which one would you rather be?

Indeed, there’s no triumph without toil, and this is what people often get wrong.

The alternative is much more painful.

Yes, you read that right. And it is our desire to work hard to achieve our dreams that should fuel us to work twice as hard as we’d have to if we were to resign to a live of mediocrity.

And it’s not about the rewards, it’s about the deep sense of fulfillment one feels when one is able to aspire for greatness, when one is in reach of one’s own definition of mastery.

To shout rather than whisper.

To fly rather than crawl.

To keep your head high, even though you are failing your way to success.

To speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.

Are you a sheep? Or a wolf?

Think carefully. And decide. And once you’ve made up your mind, never, ever, ever look back.

21 thoughts on “A Life of Quiet Desperation

  1. Great writing and sooooo true! We may love the comfort and the warmth of our bed or couch, but do they love us back? No, they don’t. 😉 Look what you made me do; you made me think with this great article 😃 Thank you 💚🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this piece does a fine job capturing some of the waking nightmare that is mediocrity. I write a lot of horror stories, but there’s few things as more frightening than that. Your posts nearly always reinvigorates my desire not to go to the grave with my song still in my heart. So, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It feels like you were speaking to me on particular the whole time. Honestly, it’s easier said than done though. When reality stares we hard in the face and is a stark contrast to my dreams. Reminding me of my presenting circumstances… How do I practically overcome this? Overcome myself? My reality? How do I then survive?😓

    Liked by 1 person

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