You become a cold, calculating creature who slips into a sort of mediocrity where you realize there is difference between your desired self and your actual self

In the above sentence, there are three parts I don't get. 'become', 'where', 'slips into', grammatically and meaningfully not understood. First, is this sentence grammatically correct? Second, would you paraphrase this sentence for me?

  • This is apparently from David Brooks's TED2014 talk Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? ted.com/talks/… – jonathanjo Aug 22 '19 at 17:25

Paraphrase: You turn into a cold, calculating (/machinating, /designing, etc.) creature who becomes [in turn] a person who is in a newfound state of mediocrity which they are not used to, and this difference allows you to see the difference between the self you desired [your dream or ideal self, as perceived by you] and the self you know currently [from which there is a large difference between it and your dream self, the fact which makes you disappointed].

People use different words to convey different tones. So whereas the writer may be human, he is referring to himself as a creature to make himself seem more dastardly and unlikeable, from whatever angle. Certain words convey a variety of meanings, and thus a variety of tones. You have to know what words these are in order to know what tone he's conveying.

I would say he's conveying a disillusioned tone if anything else. Please see the EnglishStackExchange for more on tone.

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This sentence appears to have been written by someone who speaks distantly about him/herself, and demonstrates the distance by using the subject "you." Here is a more direct way of writing it:

I become a cold, calculating creature that slowly becomes something less than my whole self. In that state of being, I realize that there is a difference between the person I want to be, and the person that I am.

In the sentence, the writer uses the words "cold" and "calculating" together, which is commonplace (and therefore, not very creative). When used together, these words conjure up the image of someone without compassion or concern for others, which is why the word "creature" fits well; it is assumed that humans have emotions, and other kinds of animals ("creatures") are not emotional.

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