19th Mar, 2022
For his book, ‘30 Lessons For Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans’ Professor Karl Pillemer interviewed thousands of people over the age of 65 to figure out what lessons they had for those coming up after them.
The most glaring detail from the book was not necessarily the wisdom these folks imparted, but rather the things they didn’t say:
No one – not a single person out of a thousand – said that to be happy you should try to work as hard as you can to make money to buy the things you want.
No one – not a single person – said it’s important to be at least as wealthy as the people around you, and if you have more than they do it’s real success.
No one – not a single person – said you should choose your work based on your desired future earning power.
The experts did not say these things; indeed almost no one said anything remotely like them.
Instead they consistently urged finding a way of earning enough to live on without condemning yourself to a job you dislike.
This is a double-edged sword , because there’s a fine line between contentment and complacency.
One of the reasons we’ve experienced such progress and innovation as a species is because people are constantly striving to improve their lot in life.
If some people didn’t take their work seriously we wouldn’t share in the comforts of modern life.
I’m not saying work shouldn’t play a big role in your life. Most people want to perform meaningful work that makes them feel like they are contributing to society.
There’s nothing wrong with loving your career and taking pride in your work.
I love what I do. It’s a huge part of who I am as a person. But it could never be everything to me because that would be an incomplete life.
For me my writings, my daily motivational blog, my family time is what completes me and makes me happy.
Work can definitely make you happier but I don’t think it can make you whole.
Thompson reminded us in his piece that, the forgotten goal of working is “about buying free time.”
I hate the phrase work-life balance because that balance probably doesn’t exist for most people.
As Junger points out, almost everything in life comes down to trade-offs.
But if you don’t have something outside the office to balance out your life, no amount of money or career accomplishments are going to make you happy.
This weekend, Work towards ‘buying free time’ and stay blessed forever.