Why Harvard Students are successful; dealing with Harvard Karma Envy

I just tweeted:

@MetaLev: The Social Network http://goo.gl/rarh looks semi-interesting, Zuck well-casted, but actors look more like Hollywood than Harvard

I immediately got the following response:

@positiveneuro: I think our different reactions to the social network are so interesting! I'm electrified by it! You're so humdrum about it! I wonder if it's because Harvard is not a land of mystique for you--it's your daily. For better or worse, the whole meme of Harvard seduces me.

(I take classes at Harvard and attend MIT.)  I posted the following reply, which I thought was worth reposting here, because I think I learned something by tweeting it:

@MetaLev: Harvard seduced me too until I went to take classes there, and realized everyone is pretty normal.  Normal but with an edge that I would best describe as a tendency to choose to thrive. They're a bit more enthusiastic and excited about possibilities and opportunities than the average person. That is all. Although that's a big "all", it has remarkable consequences. I hope this is teachable, I want my kids to take this approach to life.

and, because karma envy is relevant to any discussion about Harvard, here's some more of the conversation:

@positiveneuro: That's really insightful re:differences about Harvard kids, Luke. That's GOT to be a conditioned attitude. A friend's comment to me: "I think you reacted so strongly to the preview because you want to be a mark zuckerberg"

@MetaLev: Yeah -- karma envy :-) Be your own MZ.

@positiveneuro: I can't remember if we've discussed this principle from the bhagavad gita or not: it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live someone else's destiny perfectly

@MetaLev: Hmm. You could also say it's better to live your own destiny perfectly than someone else's imperfectly.  You probably won't be the next Mark Zuckerberg, you'd be imperfect at it if you tried. But he will never be the perfect you either.

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