Conan O’Brian–the philosopher

“Sometimes it is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.” – Conan O’Brian

This quote is taken from Conan’s commencement speech at Dartmouth University in 2011. It was said in the context of him sharing about how a young Johnny Carson wanted to be like the famous comedian Jack Benny. He initially sought to emulate him in every way but in the end felt he simply could not reach his “ideal.” That failure took him in another direction–the direction we eventually all know him from. Likewise David Letterman initially wanted to be like Johnny Carson but simply couldn’t achieve the similarity he desired. Conan then went on to discuss how he and his comedian peers who grew up laughing at Letterman all wanted to emulate him. But all failed miserable. Conan included. It is within this context that Conan’s quote is taken from. I’m not a big fan of watching late night comedy at all–in fact it has been years since I have tuned in. However I was struck by his statement. In life we often seek to xerox ourselves according to the ideal life or persona of how someone else has lived their life. Until this need of comparison and unhealthy emulation is dropped we are not set free to become our own unique persons who can enjoy the journey of self-discovery.

About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I started my blog as an unmarried man who was blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. As of 2022, I am a happily married man to an amazing missionary wife serving together on the mission field. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an apathetic church.
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