Category Archives: Work

The strenuous life

“If you are rich and are worth your salt, you will teach your sons that though they may have leisure, it is not to be spent in idleness; for wisely used leisure merely means that those who possess it, being free from the necessity of working for their livelihood, are all the more bound to carry on some kind of non-remunerative work in science, in letters, in art, in exploration, in historical research—work of the type we most need in this country.” — Theodore Roosevelt, Speech before the Hamilton Club, Chicago, April 10, 1899 Continue reading

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How to Be an Expert

In an upcoming post, I’m going to write about how to monetize a hobby. I feel I’ve achieved some success in this area, to the point where at the age of 42, I don’t have to go to work anymore; I pursue what I love and find a way for it to pay for itself. In the words of Joseph Campbell, I follow my bliss. Bliss is all well and good but only professionals get the kwan. So if you’ve ever wondered about how to become an expert beyond your day job and get paid for it, I’m writing this for you. Continue reading

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Acting as If

Here’s a puzzle: how do you become something if you’ve never been something? For example, how do I become a leader if I’ve never been a leader? The conventional answer is to study how to be a leader and then gradually learn as you go along. I teach leadership at the executive level, so I have a pretty good understanding of how this process works. The problem is, it doesn’t really work. Continue reading

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Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow: why a little stress is good

You may have heard the practice of Japanese fishing ships keeping a small shark in their fish tanks. The first time I heard this I wondered, “Why would you want to put a fish in the tank that will eat other fish?” What the fishing companies found was that because they were having to go further and further from Japan to catch tuna, if they froze the fish, consumers didn’t like the taste. When they put the tuna fish in the tank, they would become sluggish, which apparently, also affected their taste. The shark, however, would keep the tuna darting around the whole return trip to avoid being eaten. So how can we stay fresh while avoiding life’s sharks? Continue reading

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Workers of the World, Relax!

“No one should have to work. Nearly all the evil in the world comes from working, or living in a world designed for work.”
So begins Bob Black’s essay on the Abolition of Work. Black goes on to say that not working doesn’t mean doing nothing, but instead, re-organizing your life around play. To play isn’t just goofing off; it involves creativity and meaningful contribution. If you were able to quit your job right now, after you recovered from work-induced exhaustion, you’d want to do something. It is finding this something, the joy we get from playing with a purpose that is at the heart of Black’s argument, and one I support and live wholeheartedly.
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