Working hard and offending people

I thought I’d channel some inspiration from G B Shaw for this weekend. Thanks to a wise friend for sharing..

“..this is the true joy in life — being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.”  | GB Shaw

There are so many interesting things about the quote. Especially, the idea of “the harder I work, the more I live.”

Sam Altman, from Y Combinator, had a wonderful post on how the days are long but the decades are short (thanks, Sam, for sharing). One of his points were –

On work: it’s difficult to do a great job on work you don’t care about.  And it’s hard to be totally happy/fulfilled in life if you don’t like what you do for your work.  Work very hard—a surprising number of people will be offended that you choose to work hard—but not so hard that the rest of your life passes you by.  Aim to be the best in the world at whatever you do professionally.  Even if you miss, you’ll probably end up in a pretty good place.  Figure out your own productivity system—don’t waste time being unorganized, working at suboptimal times, etc.  Don’t be afraid to take some career risks, especially early on.  Most people pick their career fairly randomly—really think hard about what you like, what fields are going to be successful, and try to talk to people in those fields.

I’ve found Sam’s point about “a surprising number of people will be offended that you choose to work hard” to be very true. Many unfortunately view work as a chore. It can be, of course, but it definitely doesn’t need to be the case. It becomes a chore the moment you view it as a means to achievement. Then, it becomes all about minimizing the amount of work necessary to achieve what you set out to achieve. However, if you do things that flow from a sense of purpose, it doesn’t feel like work at all. You don’t yearn for “balance” because none is necessary. It just becomes a fluid continuum of things you enjoy and a state of “balancing” and constant prioritization and re-prioritization among these priorities.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t find happiness when we achieve. We find happiness when we pursue ideas and goals that we find meaningful. Success and happiness ensue from that pursuit.

And, that’s where real joy lies..