The Hidden Cost of “Greatness”

And why millennials have become impostors in the process

Edneil Jocusol


A lone truck on top of the red sand dunes of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
A lone truck on top of the red sand dunes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by NeilPixels)

At some point in our lives, our subconscious mind will tell us we want to be great at something. We want to be known and respected as “experts” in a certain field as our contribution to this society.

Yet on the other hand, our conscious “woke” state, while pretending to be happy being contented and demonizing the desire to become actually great, finds all the reasons not to tread down the path to greatness.

Is it because we know deep inside it’s damn hard and would eat so much of our precious time? Or are we just too lazy to spend our energy doing the actual legwork, and will prefer to just talk about it on social platforms as an influencer?

Maybe we are too modest to admit that we secretly want that beam of light shining down on us (scared that people will slam us for being ambitious). Or are we just afraid we might not be able to bounce back once every drop of calculated effort fails?

In my search for this version of the truth, I looked deeply into myself. Maybe Magnus was right. There’s a certain price tag to greatness that a huge chunk of the population doesn’t wanna pay for. And it’s the cost of loneliness.

“If you want to get to the top, there’s always the risk that it will isolate you from other people” — Magnus Carlsen (2004 Norwegian Chess Grandmaster)

Sandwich Theory

Born in 1991, obviously a millennial, I stand in the gap between the old and the new.

This generation is continuously bombarded with questions such as “when are you getting married or having a child”? And why “aren’t you rich yet, when you’ve got a lot of side hustles”? The latter is such a huge leap from the former. It’s like soaking in an ice bath after sprinting for ten kilometers.

In this world of capitalists we live in, these two requests are statistically nearly impossible to achieve at the same time. Some succeed, and that’s why we call them the black swans, or the outliers.

And the ones that are left gasping for greatness, we pay for the price.



Edneil Jocusol

I write my observations on society, business/entrepreneurship, and technology/engineering.