Vice

I grew up in a household where my father worked well into the late hours of the night moving up the corporate ladder. I was relatively young then and I don't really remember spending a lot of weeknights with him.

He eventually had a change of heart and quit his job of being a higher-up in the corporate world and then became a pastor. Even then, he would relentlessly prepare his sermons throughout the week and spend his open weekdays, nights, and weekends with other church goers doing pastorly duties. I could tell he loved his job.

Actually, I could tell he just loved working.

My role model growing up was someone who's vice was his work. Looking back at it now, I can see that it wasn't the content of the work itself, but rather the act of doing work.

Though it may seem unintuitive, the content of the work you do is not what determines whether you are fulfilled or unfulfilled. I do think it's an important part of the equation. But I think a necessary prerequisite to finding fulfillment in work is to learn to like the act of doing work in the first place.

I attribute most of my ability to find fulfillment in the work, not to the love that I feel towards the work, but to the satisfaction I feel when I am working and being productive.

The best part is that a particular project, gig, or job may be swiped away from me one day. But the act of working will never go away. There's always something to be doing to create value in this world.

My vice is working.

Imperfect Love

When you love someone, you love them whole. You love their imperfections.

It's a romantic notion, but not a very helpful notion.

Love is about tolerating your partner and your own imperfections gracefully, being forgiving, and striving to help each other grow to remove such imperfections.

Love is to strive for perfection, as defined by the values of the couple, together as a team, communicating with and respecting each other every step of the way.

However, not every imperfection is created equal. Some are worth simply tolerating while some should not continue being tolerated.

It's not as simple as tolerating everything or fixing everything. Such is the nuanced nature of love.

Retail Therapy is Not Therapy

In fact, maybe just the opposite.

When something is therapeutic, not only should you feel good, it should give you a sense of fulfillment, and maybe even bring you closer to others around you. Shopping only does the first part — makes you feel better — and only for a short stint.

The long term effects are that it causes you to want more. The next best thing. The next upgrade. And we become addicted to the chase. We begin chasing, for the sake of chasing. Not because the thing we are trying to purchase is a necessity.

Focusing on the next thing is no way to live. There's plenty to be enjoyed now, if we only spent our time appreciating what we already have instead of being infatuated with what luxury to pursue next.

Most of us have water, food on the table, a place to live, and a means to make money to uphold a basic standard of living. That means we have extra money and extra time. It's more important than ever to ask ourselves what we are doing with the rest of the time. Are we enjoying it with loved ones? Deepening relationships? Appreciating the fulfilling and nuanced life that we live?

Or is it just a chase for the next thing, all so you can continue the pursuit for the next thing following that?

Retail therapy is not therapy.

On the other hand, appreciation therapy might be a thing. Appreciation is a way to spend our time, just like shopping is. Except it does everything shopping doesn't do well. It nourishes our soul. It deepens emotional connections with others and builds relationships. It emphasizes that we can be content with what we already have.

I suppose one thing appreciation therapy doesn't do well is acquire material things. But what big deal is that, for someone who has decided that material objects aren't all that important.

Low Hanging Fruit

There are times when the low hanging fruit is the most appropriate option.

Doing something is often better than doing nothing.

Often times, we'll find that once we reach our hand out for the low-hanging fruit, we realize that there are better options if we just keep reaching.

The purpose of the low-hanging fruit is to get us to reach out. What we actually grab is not the point. The point is to grab at all.

This is basically true in any creative medium; If we want to get better, we should reach our hand out more often, and do the thing more. The more we spend time being creative, the more creative, innovative, and meaningful our work becomes.

Just keep pushing. The concept of pushing through and continuing to create more is the theme of one of my favorite videos. It's incredibly motivating, and I can't recommend bookmarking this enough:

Reach out for the low-hanging fruit.

What is Money For?

Googling "money" gives us this:

Anything of value that serves as a (1) generally accepted medium of financial exchange, (2) legal tender for repayment of debt, (3) standard of value, (4) unit of accounting measure, and (5) means to save or store purchasing power.

But I don't think money ends there; it has a much more profound meaning.

Money buys you time.

Time is the most precious asset that we have as humans. There is only a finite amount of it, and once we lose it, we never get it back.

With wealth comes the ability to choose how to spend your time. The greater your wealth, the less you are obliged to earn money for survival. And, at some point, you can have enough wealth where you aren't obliged to earn money for survival at all.

This all works thanks to the fact that money can earn more money. Because of a generally growing economy, money, if invested properly in appreciating assets, will earn interest. If we have a big enough nest egg, the interest it earns can be greater than our living expenses.

Unfortunately, if you don't allocate the money properly towards appreciating assets, you lose out on this precious ability to buy back time.

That's a great baseline goal we should all strive for, regardless of how far you are in the hole with debt, or how inflated your lifestyle has become. I can't think of a reason not to want this.

If you think about your own mortality and the fact that you will eventually be gone one day, what other conclusion is there, than to value our time as if it's our only finite resource?