Posts Tagged ‘life’

November 11 2010

On Busyness

by Hang

The last two months or so have been extraordinarily busy for me. Between work, setting up the Product Design Guild, professional networking and social commitments, I moved into a state of having serious calendar packing. Today, was the end of this long burst of anaerobic work and I declared a moratorium on busyness for the next month. I left work early, randomly decided to head over to Berkeley, wandered around a bit, had dinner with a friend and was just generally aimless for the entire afternoon.

I have a very strong aversion to busyness that I have carefully cultivated over time. It’s one of my most cherished traits. Unbusy people like me seem to be a dying trend, especially in the hyper-go-go Silicon Valley. The norm here seems to be that even dinner with friends must be planned a week in advance with careful checking of calendars to ensure an open slot. Even when I am “crazy busy”, I’m at a complete amateur hour compared to some people I know, my busy would be their normal.

Being busy undoubtedly makes you more productive. And part of the reason I went on this two month sprint was simply that I needed to get a lot of stuff done. But there’s a certain essence lost in the busyness as well. I couldn’t jump on opportunities that came my way with expiring deadlines, I couldn’t open myself up to serendipity and try completely new things. Also, with the cloak of busyness, I felt my inspiration, creativity and insight slipping away. Life fell into a tunnel vision of focusing just on this next thing.

One of the lessons I’ve learn from this experience is just how vigilantly I need to guard my unbusy schedule. And how much value I gain from being unbusy which I never fully appreciate except when it goes away.

September 30 2009

Would you choose to live a great life or achieve great things?

by Hang

The devil appears to you in a dream one night and offers you a glimpse of two life paths you could go down:

In one, you meet the person of your dreams and it’s love at first sight. You manage to land a satisfying and decently paid job that allows you to settle down and live a comfortable life with enough left over for small indulgences. You raise a family which, while sometimes trying, is full of love and support. At your work, your ambition slowly peters out and you settle into a comfortable, middle ranking role and focus your energies on family, hobbies and your local community. You & your partner both grow old together in largely robust health and get to see your grandchildren grow up before gently passing away in each others arms.

In the other life, you see yourself accomplishing things that have significant positive impact upon many people. You’re definitely not a household name but your deeds & reputation are well known and admired among those who you consider your peers. However, this comes at a great sacrifice. Early on in life, you abandon any semblance of a social life and you die never having known love. The stress of your ambition leads you to indulge in self-destructive behaviors and this takes a toll on both your mental and physical health. You frequently suffer from bouts of deep depression and doubting which is made all the more difficult as you have no close confidantes with who you can share your pain. You end up dying in your late middle age due to the excessive toll on your body, still wondering if you’ve done anything worthwhile in the world. However, the general public over the ensuing decades hails your achievements as having been a great contribution to society.

Which of these paths do you choose?

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