Words cannot capture who Mark is, but it’s abundantly clear to everyone who knows him. One that comes up in my mind is “uncompromising.” Naturally, it’s both good and bad. In art, the word has positive connotations, but in business, it has mostly negative ones.
Not compromising helps distinguish a personality. Compromising too much dilutes who you are, and you simply blend into the background. This blending is essentially required in a corporate environment because each cog must be replaceable with other available cogs in the labor market, which makes someone like Mark incompatible with the corporate world.
Given that much of the business world has been corporatized, it’s hard for these uncompromising personalities to find career opportunities. Mark has many passions, like drawing, music, reptiles, animals, and Japanese culture, but monetizing them hasn’t always been easy for him either. Recently, he got licensed as a veterinary technician, and it sounds perfect for him.
In creative fields like photography, video production, and graphic design, striking the right balance is essential. It’s not possible to be a people-pleaser and at the same time stand out creatively. If you lean too much towards the former, you disappear into the sea of mediocrity, and if you lean too far towards the latter, you become too difficult to work with (and clients stop calling you).
Naturally, clients want you to be easy to work with, but at the same time, they can’t respect you if you listen to everything they say. They want you to have a spine. Groucho Marx’s famous quote is apt here: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.” Respect to some degree is predicated on self-hatred. If there is nothing in you that people can hate, they cannot respect you either.
This is true for friendship as well, which is why a deeper friendship will always entail irresolvable contradictions between love and hate. If you are not willing to be hated, you won’t be loved either. The question then becomes how far you can go with each person without breaking it irreparably. In this way, for friendship, as well as for art, uncompromising people seek quality over quantity.
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