A friend said this to my wife many years ago. Somehow this expression still sticks to my mind. Saruyi, then a fairly ambitious graduate student, apparently needed the pressure to keep her going in her career. When I heard this statement, I just couldn't relate to it. I have always been a 'middle of the road' kind of guy. Not too much excitement, not too much spotlight, just the steady walking along my merry path. But something has changed in me recently. I now appreciate more the feeling of being out there, of pushing the boundaries a little. Not because I enjoy that feeling per se, but rather, I have realized that my personality, the I, or ego, is more exposed at the extremes. I enjoy the new-found feeling of being aware of the I in action.
What happens when you are not doing well in your career? You are envious of other people's success; you have the desire to attack people. Whenever that feeling comes up in me, an inner voice always comes to the surface, "No, this is not you". I enjoy that perspective very much. In contrast, when I am successful, I feel arrogance creeping up in me when I talk to people. The exact same voice pops up, "No, you aren't that either". I now enjoy living a little (emphasis on little) bit closer to the edge, stepping a little bit out of my comfort zone, just to feel the presence my True Self.
Eckhart Tolle remarked in his recent book, A New Earth, The only thing that ultimately matters is this: Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I Am, in the background of my life at all times? Well, it appears that for now, at least at work, a little extra pressure appears to do the trick for me. Try it!