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Uploaded:2014-09-26
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In which John talks about comparing yourself to more successful people. The Wimbly Womblys take on Sunderland.

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Hello and welcome to Hankgames without Hank. My name is John Green. I'm the manager of the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys, who find themselves in the FA Cup taking on mighty Sunderland. Sunderland of the Premier League.

This is a big game for us. This is our first Premier League opposition, I think maybe in... Certainly in years, and, you know, this is a game we'd really, really like to win. The FA Cup is our competition. It's win or go home, so if we lose today we are out of the cup. If we win we get to go on. If we tie, we have to play Sunderland again. That would be bad. Our team is very, very deep. We have, like, 72 players, many of whom we have not been able to offload in the transfer market. But even so, you don't really want to be playing unnecessary games at this point in the season, particularly when you're in fifth in your league because we may end up in a playoff and I'd like to be well rested for that playoff. So it's a tense, it's a tense time. We want to win this game. Obviously we want to win every cup we can, but especially the FA Cup because it is rightfully ours. Yep, we're going to win, we're going to win the cup. It's going to be, well it's going to be very special.

I got an interesting suggestion for a topic from comments, thank you. Oh, hold on I'm getting a phone call. I gotta check on that. It's Julie.

John: Hey Julie.

Julie: Hi

John: Hi, you're on, I'm recording AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys, so you're on with the public right now. So don't say anything embarrassing.

Julie: Okay, hello.

John: Hi, oh gosh, it's hard to play and have you on speaker at the same time.

Julie: I have something to say that's not embarrassing and I'm wondering if I should say it.

John: Oh really. Is it... You have important but embarrassing news? (Julie becomes inaudible) Okay. Is it about, is it about Looking for Alaska or is it about Paper Towns? You know they just cast Margo? Yeah, the internet is, the internet is a mix of many complicated emotions about it. Yes! Anger and excitement, but you know. This... The internet does like to get angry, and it does like to get excited. I can't deny that. I wish I could, but... Oh, that's a nice ball! Get there! Oh make your move, John Green! Oh! You gotta, you gotta get past that man. I gave you, put you in a situation where you only had one guy to beat. Can't remember what I was supposed to talk about today Julie, something, something. Oh, you are definitely already affecting my game, because I don't even know if I'm holding you up close enough to the mic that people can hear you, so that's already a distraction. I'll talk to you later. Alright, bye.

Anyway, someone had a really interesting idea for a video, which was to talk about comparing yourself to people, being in your early twenties and comparing yourself to people who are more successful than you and then kind of being destroyed by the comparison. I did this a ton in my early twenties.

The first thing that I would say is that the arc of history is long and that in your early twenties is a bit too early to say who's been successful and who hasn't been. In fact so is being... I'm 37 now.
Hold on, I need to sneeze (John sneezes) Oh, it felt so good.
I mean, is there a joy that is purer than the sneeze? Have we talked about this Meredith? How, like, the joy... Do you find sneezing kind of joyful? It's just like you desperately need to do something and then you do it. I was thinking about the fact that the joy of sneezing is probably, along with, like, the joy of peeing, you know, when you've held your pee for a long time and you're just like "Oh, thank God". Do you know that? Do you have that? Yeah, okay. So along with that, like those two joys are probably the two oldest human joys. Like they are probably two things that I feel that people felt 50,000 years ago, and there are so few things like that these days, because the world is so different.

Dicko! Oh, that's disappointing. That should have been, that should have, that should have, I should be singing the Dicko song right now in my... Oh, Dicko! You've got to get back from off-sides! You're better than that, Dicko! You've got to hustle! Dang it, Dicko! You know, I had a run on that, I had a run on the far side, Meredith, that's where I should have gone.

Anyway, it's inevitable to compare yourself to other people. But the first thing that I would say is that you don't know, when you're in your early twenties, who's successful and who isn't. The second thing I would say is that there are a lot of different kinds of success, and often the ones that are valued by the social order are not the most fulfilling ones. Like, for instance, we take a great, like we really, really, really value professional success in the United States, like it's almost like it's the definition of real success. So, like, even if you have, I don't know, like, three marriages before you're 30 and you're generally pretty miserable, like, as long as you're famous or wealthy or whatever, then, like, you are a success, and I just don't think that's true. Like I think that it's super painful and difficult to, you know, to experience lots of, lots of personal miseries and that no amount of professional joys can make up for it, and, like that's the, that's the real stuff in life. The real...

Oh! God, you gotta score there, Dicko! I put you in amazing position! Dicko.

That's the real stuff of life, though. So may... But maybe you feel like "Oh, other people are more successful at that stuff than I am". Well again, life is long. Also, like, you are not actually living in competition with other people. Like, I really believe the race is you versus you. More specifically the race is, like, current you versus future you, or past you versus current you. So the question for me is really, like, am I doing interesting stuff? Am I doing it with people I care about? And if I'm not, like, what can I, what can I do toward that, toward that goal, because it isn't really about what other people are doing or any success that they're experiencing, because in a lot of cases, like, what they might find fulfilling or cool stuff with cool people, like, might not be cool at all to me.

I remember being desperate to be in finance when I was younger. Like, I was living in Chicago and all the people with, like, money and cars and nice apartments and everything worked in finance and they worked really long hours and everything and they obviously understood economics in a way that I didn't, but I just remember thinking, like, "God, I wish I worked in finance" and, like, "It doesn't seem like it would be that hard. I bet I could figure most of it out, right?" Of course I couldn't. Like I can't, I mean, I never could have. But, like, I think "I know how to talk to people". It seemed mostly like talking to me. I never really got into the weeds of the math and stuff. But...

Oh, that's a nice ball. That is nice stuff! And it's awful. Oh, off a Sunderland defender. Frustrating. That's a big kick from Francombstein. That's a nice big kick. Oh! Get b... Ohoho! I think we all know that Bald John Green puts that in the back of the net ten times out of ten. Deeney, he's been struggling with his finishing lately, Meredith. Do you want to know why? Because he has not gone to bed before three o'clock in the morning in about four months. It's really frustrating. We had a talk about it. Like, I was like "I don't want to get into your personal life but, you know, I need you to be a professional footballer, not a professional guy who goes to parties and takes Instagram pictures of yourself sweating all over other humans. Like that's just, that's not your job. You know, like which of these things is paying you $3,000 a week? Right, oh right. Not the Instagramming." Anyway. I'm a little frustrated with Deeney. But that's a nice ball. Doh! God, Dicko. Get your head up. Oh! Frustration is palpable.

Yeah, so the contest isn't... So I really wanted to work in finance and then I would always be jealous of my friends who had, like, real writing jobs, you know? Like, consisting writing jobs where they would get to write for magazines I really admired, or... My friend Daniel Alarcón who wrote for The New Yorker when he was, like... His first story for The New Yorker came out when he was, like, 23 and I just remember being, like, "Oh my God. Like, I want to write a story in The New Yorker." But the thing is I didn't. Like, that actually wasn't the right thing for me. Now, I mean, you know, Daniel's still hugely successful and I'm able to be very proud of him without feeling that envy. Now maybe part of that is because I've had, like, my own successes but I think a lot of it is just, you know, growing into a place where I say, like, "Well I love reading stories in The New Yorker but, like, that's not what I'm good at, like, that's not what I want to do." You know, again I'm coming at this from a very privileged position and I understand that but I just think it doesn't, in the end I found that it didn't serve me and that the real race was between me and me. The real race was what I was doing versus what I might do.

That was a great, great steal from Deeney, but is he going to be able to do anything with it is the question. That's a nice ball. Deeney! Oh, you needed a little more lift there, buddy. Oh, and then Less Moore really struggling, really struggling to get back. Really, really, really... Oh! Less Moore. And then nice back heel to the opposition. Really good stuff there. We cannot have another draw, guys. We need a goal. We need a goal. What the frick was that? What in the name of frick was that?

So I know it's hard but it doesn't, you know, it just doesn't... And I also know it's hard to say, like, "Oh, this doesn't do any good so I'm going to stop feeling it." Like, there are things that don't do any good that I feel, you know, all day long everyday, so I don't think that's, that's, like, a strategy that holds up very well to scrutiny. Like how many times during a day do I say to myself, like, "Oh, it doesn't do any good to be, you know, obsessive about this" and then I go on obsessing over it because I don't feel like I have a choice. Like, it's very difficult to control your feelings, but I think the first, the first step for me is always to try to get an intellectual hold on it and, like, intellectually other people's success doesn't affect yours, and if anything there success is good for you because they're people you know who are successful which means that, you know, you can, you have connections to them that you might not have to most people and that's going to be helpful to you in your career.

So, yeah. That's what I would say. It's too early to worry. You don't know yet how it's going to work out, and, like, I don't know, my parents and my grandparents in their nineties were still playing this game of, like, who's still alive? Who, you know... That became the metric of success: not dead, you know, or healthy or whatever. There's always going to be some new metric of success and you don't know which of those races you're gonna win and which you're gonna lose, so I think it's just too early to, too early to be decided about that stuff.

Oh! John Green! John Green! You've got to finish there, my friend! This is what I pay you to do! Ohohoho! God! I thought that was it, Meredith. I thought that was the goal. I stopped talking because I felt a swelling in my heart as Less Moore... Oh, went for the corner but it was stopped. Oh God, I'm anxious. He never does score. He sometimes... He scores with his left, he scores with his right, but he never... You're right, he never doesn't score. Come on, come on! That was good. No! Somebody get in there. Where are you? What were you doing, H. Walter White? I've got a lot of names for that guy. I sometimes call him H. Walter White but only in my head but now I'm stressed out so I'm saying it out loud. Come on guys. We've got to find a way to score, we've got to win this game. We can win this game. This is a winnable, this is... Score! Oh! John Green! Yes, you should be pounding the floor! I am also angry! I guess it's more of a ground than a floor. Sorry. Was that too loud, Meredith?

I am very frustrated. I am very... Can we, what do I need to do? Do I need to go to attacking mode here in the 90th minute? Yeah, I'm going ultra-attacking. We've really got to win this game. Oh, look at them trying to kill time. There we go. I thought maybe that was a glitch in the Matrix and we were just gonna be stuck there forever. That's a great pass, John Green. Great thinking. Get in. Get in! Oh! Come on. There you go. There you go. Get it to... What are you doing!? Oh! You literally jumped over the ball! He jumped over the ball! It's not the... Look at the Gaulden Child. The Gaulden Child never gives up. Look at the Gaulden Child, coming back, coming back, coming back. Oh, he didn't steal it. There he did, there he did. Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep. See him. See him!

Oh! The Gaulden Child! The Gaulden Child! He's only three feet tall but in the last minute, with a diving header, the 8 year-old Gaulden Child beats the keeper to the ball near-post and I love being alive! Oh! See, you can't measure your success against other people, you can only measure your success against past selves and that's the Gaulden Child doing that. He wasn't thinking about "Oh, Less Moore has more goals than me" or "Oh, Hells Pells, they sing his name in a way they never sing my name" or "Mose Vestergaard is younger than I am". All he was thinking was "I got to get to that ball and score so my manager will cry!" Oh, it's beautiful. Oh, what a time to be a human being. I am so glad to live in the age of FIFA. Thank you for watching, best wishes.