What Should My Life's Work Be?
Or: How Conceited Could I Possibly Become?
It's an unfortunate reality of the human condition that success is illusory or, at the very least, wholly unsatisfying. That's not to say that failure is preferable (although I think it is a strict requirement, not just as a matter of course but also in service to that very same human condition).
I'm not the paragon of success; I know a great many people who are more “successful” by a variety of metrics. But I am successful, in that my needs and wants are entirely met, and I now find myself back where I started—that mundane pang of existentialism.
What's next? More accumulating of material things, or money? Further pursuit of influence?
Stoicism is a good starting point for these questions, but it doesn't really answer anything—indeed, all that the Stoics can tell us here is to hold fast. Which is great! I'm not falling apart at the seams. I'm just bored.
Presumably, the path forward is either to rest on my laurels (not really working) or to embark upon some new pursuit; some grand vision. And that's where, for the time being, my imagination fails me.
Well, not really my imagination. There's no shortage of ideas. I think what actually paralyzes me is the feeling that my ego won't allow me to do anything other than knock it out of the park while my id suspects that I will fail at doing anything truly great.
And thus, we have it: the human condition.