I recently came across this Tweet by David Heinemeier Hansson (the founder of Basecamp).
In short, David shares a video of Joe Rogan condemning video games for being “fucking fun” and the cause of much wasted time. Joe talks about how you can use your life to become an expert in an industry, start a business, and become “successful”. Or you can waste your time playing video games.
David talks about how this obsession with money and success is unhealthy and that it’s okay to play video games and waste time (in moderation). And I agree!Once you stop chasing constant self-improvement and the need to have ‘more’ you realise that it’s okay to waste some time (as long as it’s not all you’re doing).Click To Tweet
Don’t want to read this post? Listen to the podcast instead:
In the past, I’ve shared my thoughts on why I think focussing too much on self-development is a bad thing. The pressure we put on ourselves can be exhausting. We stop appreciating what we have and start to see problems everywhere.
Once you start down this path, it’s very hard to escape this pressure.
When you open Instagram, you’re greeted with images of ‘successful’ business owners, fitness models, fast cars, superyachts, and people travelling. We read books about how to be more successful, make money, and create bigger businesses. Or we watch YouTube videos about how to get six-pack abs and lose weight.
None of these things are inherently bad on their own. But the constant pressure leaves us feeling unsatisfied and always wanting ‘more’.
As I’ve grown, I’ve radically changed my views on growth and personal development. When I was at university, my goal was to run a big tech company, employ lots of people, and make millions of dollars. Now, my goals are pretty modest.
Just last week I was interviewed for my podcast and was asked the classic question, what do you want to achieve over the next 5 years. My not so exciting answer was that I just want to keep doing what I’m doing now. And rather than pursuing growth at all costs, I only want to grow my income if I can maintain the freedom I have now. I have no employees and I work about 35-40 hours per week (which is less than most full-time salaried employees).
Once you stop chasing constant self-improvement and the need to have ‘more’ you realise that it’s okay to waste some time (as long as it’s not all you’re doing).
So if you work hard during the day, don’t feel like you have to read a book on self-improvement at night. Turn on a movie, play video games, go for a walk. You don’t have to optimise every waking second of your life.
A few months ago I got a Memento Mori tattoo on my forearm. It depicts a flower (life), a skull (death), and an hourglass (time). It’s a reminder that life is a gift and to use your time well because you’re going to die one day. This concept has helped me a lot when making big life-altering decisions like whether to quit my job, sell our house, or when to have a baby. It serves as a reminder to stop putting things off. Since getting the tattoo, it really has helped me to slow down.
When I write posts like this, I usually get to the end and ask myself ‘what do I want the reader to DO as a result of this article’?
Today, my key takeaway is this:
Slow down. Relax. Just take it easy. And if you feel like you’re wasting time, that’s fine.