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I think this goes well with the point you were making to us the other day about pursuing your passion with reckless abandon.

When I think of people whose influence on economics I dislike, I do think they have to be given credit for the hard work they did and what they did accomplish. So while I might argue that someone like Paul Samuelson misapplied his talent, he certainly did not waste it. And in that regard he is to be respected.

"The greatest sin in life is wasted talent"

"So while I might argue that someone like Paul Samuelson misapplied his talent, he certainly did not waste it. And in that regard he is to be respected."

Marx is often respected by economists, even those that believe he was wrong, and markets are superior to his proposal for socialism.

Not to take this post into anything too philosophical about morality, but is the greatest sin a brain wasted - or a brain misused? One may have talents in areas like mathematics, logic or philosophy but misapply them and perhaps shield themselves from a truth that with greater honesty, bravery or patience they could see. People sometimes wear blinders or follow a selfish desire or out of fear ignore the truth - and then apply these talents vigourously from this vantage point, with blinders, and do great harm. Is that not a greater sin that "a life wasted"?

I totally agree with your main point but I just have to pick up on this "overachiever" thing. How is it possible to "over" achieve? Isn't this a bit like "underprivileged"?

I wonder what if someone has got the talent to excel in a field but he/she is not interested in pursuing it. So is it write to have a list of underachieving basketball players or underachieving economists?..they may have had the talent but may not have been passionate about the field or had other interests where they excelled. Telling them that they should use the talent provided to them is a bit normative isnt it. So wouldnt it be right to say "The greatest sin in life is wasted life" itself. i.e., find some passion in life and excel in it though you may have talent to do many things. Maybe one does not have the talent to pursue that passion, but I guess these are the people who end up as 'overachievers'.

Hi Pete,

I think you are focusing on the 'seen'; the physical ability to perform a sport. What is equally important is the 'unseen'; the mental ability, commitment and so on. Nobody is an underachiever or an overachiever; you are what you are.

However, as with luck (as Hayek pointed out) it is often better for a person to pretend that the mental piece is given to everyone and work at it accordingly.

What about those of us who are forced to be underachievers due to our circumstances? WIth a full time job at a hotel and adjunct positions at two colleges teaching 5 classes in rhetoric, there is quite literally no time to do any of my scholarly work. Whatever talent I may have is being wasted by the fact that I can't get into the university system, or even the think tank system -- or someplace where I can do something. I fear I'm wasting my best, most productive years, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Hi there,when someone 'sees'for you what you should be, he , in a way, is limiting your chances, and you become a realization of someone else's dream. One may be good at doing various things, but the reason they end up doing only one thing can be resorted to the law of selection, the strongest urge survives the others. Time is the greatest limitation, our bodies are a limitation, and being good at doing something is not enough, the love for doing something is. If you love to do something you will learn how to excel in it, but if you are excellent at doing something this does not necessarily mean that you are going to love it.

where did u find the bird, does it not on the tree?

I have always found that if I move with 75% or more of the facts, I usually never regret it. It's the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy

I try to read
I go to work
I'm laughing with my friends
But I can't stop to keep myself from thinking.

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