Live a great life or achieve great things?

The devil appears to you in a dream one night and offers you a glimpse of two life paths you could go down:

In one, you meet the person of your dreams and it’s love at first sight. You manage to land a satisfying and decently paid job that allows you to settle down and live a comfortable life with enough left over for small indulgences. You raise a family which, while sometimes trying, is full of love and support. At your work, your ambition slowly peters out and you settle into a comfortable, middle ranking role and focus your energies on family, hobbies and your local community. You & your partner both grow old together in largely robust health and get to see your grandchildren grow up before gently passing away in each others arms.

In the other life, you see yourself accomplishing things that have significant positive impact upon many people. You’re definitely not a household name but your deeds & reputation are well known and admired among those who you consider your peers. However, this comes at a great sacrifice. Early on in life, you abandon any semblance of a social life and you die never having known love. The stress of your ambition leads you to indulge in self-destructive behaviors and this takes a toll on both your mental and physical health. You frequently suffer from bouts of deep depression and doubting which is made all the more difficult as you have no close confidantes with who you can share your pain. You end up dying in your late middle age due to the excessive toll on your body, still wondering if you’ve done anything worthwhile in the world. However, the general public over the ensuing decades hails your achievements as having been a great contribution to society.

Which of these paths do you choose?

Do I get to rescue some pigeons along the way?

Is there anybody who wouldn’t choose the first?

I would absolutely choose the second.

Damnit Beavis, this is a tough one. Uhhhhh, I think I will take the chick.

Charity starts with yourself and your family. I don’t think I will care about recognition much when I am dead.

A: On general principles, screw you, Devil.

B: … so exactly how is that different from what I’m doing now? Except, of course, for the part where there’s some assurance someone will actually remember me? (And eliminating the chance that I’ll survive past late middle age.)

There was a Dilbert cartoon that started out with the Devil offering Dilbert a deal like the OP. Dilbert was esctatic because either one would be a big improvement on his life. I don’t remember the punch line, but Dilbert was doing a happy dance in the last panel.

This was back when Dilbert was relevant, I’m guessing. It’s fun to grow up knowing that the government will be bankrupt when you need it, the world is going to end in a nuclear war, sex will kill you, and no matter how hard you work, you’re never going to have as good a life as your parents had.

Meh, I’ve grown up knowing that since the 1950’s! :slight_smile:

But I’m enjoying myself anyway…

If in the second one general public means almost EVERYONE out there, then that. If it’s confined to people I know, then first one by a mile.

Can you explain why you would be so certain everyone would choose the first?

You would be famous but not a household name by any stretch of the imagination. Think Paul Graham, not Bill Gates. Bernie Sanders, not Barack Obama.

Eh, the bouts of depression and doubting are killers, though.