It seemed natural and obvious that Icarus should fall. What hubris! How dare he try to fly so high?
And yet, I also grew up hearing the tales of Horatio Alger (myths even) that suggested that with hard work, strong ethics and perseverance a person could overcome their humble beginnings and become more, succeed based on their own merits. It’s pretty much the American Dream that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.”
And at least here in the US, we seem almost compelled to root for the underdog wanting him/her/them to overcome their preconceived disadvantage. See e.g. this article.
However, we want those less fortunate to succeed, but not too much. Some call this Tall Poppy Syndrome which is mostly “used in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.”
We’re rooting for you, until we hate you, and start wanting you to fail or fall.
I took a visionary leadership class in business school taught by a wonderful professor, Edward O’Connor. We built our own personal 5-year plans based on our values, purpose, vision. I blogged my project and experience in his class.
While this was years ago, I still remember that one of his values was excellence, and he really did not care about the time/effort needed to produce excellent work, only the beauty of it. At the time I struggled with HIS value. I remember being one of those students in grade school, high school, who could produce relatively (compared to my peers) outstanding work with minimal effort. Indeed, I skipped second grade & senior year of high school. And yet, I always felt terrible out-performing some of my classmates who I knew worked so much harder than I had, who in my mind, deserved a better grade given the effort they had put in.
Even then I wanted to soar, but not too much, not too easily.
I started a company last week, Icarus Rising LLC. I chose the name, for all of these reasons, more than two years ago, but was contractually barred in Florida from starting a business while working for my last employer.
The company has now been registered with the Colorado Secretary of State, and has secured its unique Federal Tax ID number.
When I left Tallahassee, my assistant gave me an inspiring handwritten note on a card which stated “leap and the net will appear.” I keep it on my dresser so I see it every day.
FLY. WIN. SOAR. EXCEL.
I still have many details of this new company to sort out, but the purpose is clear!