These two are not opposites. They have traits that overlap, but at the same time they approach life in different ways. Not totally in opposition, but enough that it can cause tension. Thomas has a notion in his head that he is somehow destined to be great in some way. A notion that he may not truly believe in, but it colors his outlook. His default belief is that he is better than other people for reasons. In this moment Carol’s worldview is in opposition to that magical line of thinking. For her greatness is something you work towards. You might have abilities that make it more likely that you will achieve greatness, but at the end of the day you still have to put the time in. She is correct in this belief. Being told you are special your whole life doesn’t make it so. You have to live up to it. It shouldn’t be looked at as a given, but rather a goal. In Thomas’s mind it’s a given. It’s peppered throughout his dialogue. He is apart, he is above, with very little evidence to back it up. I think it’s clear that he has what it takes to be great excepting for the crucial element of drive. It’s much easier to be a big fish in a small pond and he’s fearful, and lazy, and arrogant. Though it’s harder to see in him he’s very similar to Reggie in many ways. He’s just more charming. He empathizes more easily. His motivation is for the general well being of the people he knows, but his own well being is paramount. Keeping things the way he likes them overrides all other aspects of his plans. Each person has a calculated value and a frank estimation of their skills. Which is why he is willing to sacrifice John in favor of Carol when it comes to the promotion to assistant manager. Carol is too important to him to risk losing. Even though John is more than just a work acquaintance he isn’t dependent upon him the way he is with Carol. Even if they hadn’t started dating he would’ve tried for the outcome he wanted because having her there as a goal gave him the motivation to face the world. It is not a healthy way to live. Pinning your ego to something outside of your control is generally a bad idea, but people do it all the time. Everybody knows someone who gets all destroyed when their sports team fails at the big… hoop throwing. It can throw off their life for days. Thomas pinned his happiness to a person. Which is basically what love is, but not quite.