Originally Posted by OptimistPrime
I think that's a bit like claiming that human beings are unable to chew gum and walk at the same time. That may be your experience and the experience of a number of people you know, but it isn't mine. Also, I thought it was interesting that you mentioned "consciously focus[ing] on the two". I don't do that, myself. In fact, I haven't had any trouble balancing the two since I stopped trying to consciously figure out how to balance them, and left it in the hands of my intuition to figure it out for me.
Every path eventually leads to conflict, and this is where the choice is most pronounced. It's easy to cater to everyone's best interest when you're not under pressure and strong wills aren't at play, but what happens when they are?
Let's say you have a chance to go to Africa and do work that will actually make a difference, but doing so will delay your other ambitions and slow material gain. There's no possible way to do both, and while the long-term results may be the same on either road what you do at the outset shows what drives you.
Example 2: you can steal a promotion from someone who deserves it more than you do. It would be a huge boon to you and it would hasten the acquistion of all the things you want in life, but this other person has been working diligently for years just to get a shot at it and would probably do the job better than you could. It's you or him/her-what's it gonna be?
I find that people who say they can do both without running into issues aren't playing any games where they have to routinely put themselves on the line. The grand illusion within first world societies is that we can have whatever we want without hurting anybody, but that's not true even on a basic level-nearly all the things we rely upon come to us through the labor of low-wage workers in poor conditions. It's not easy to develop an intense focus on individuality or unity, and when focusing on one becomes challenging focusing on both is often impossible.