Love Racing Rats

Love the process, not the outcome.

I know, I know. More of that hippie, happy, positive psychology that plagues blog posts on entrepreneurship scribbled all over Hacker News. Trite. Overused.

And rarely followed.

Just realizing how much rat racing I do in my life (i.e. someone who puts off things that make them happy for tomorrow’s happiness) and how it really isn’t getting me far. I read first about the problems with delayed gratification years ago in Tal Ben Shahar’s book, “The Question of Happiness.” I was surprised when my organizational psychology professor friend recommended the book to me as it looked straight out of the bargain bin section of Half Priced Books, right next to “How to be A Ninja Assassin Even if You’re Some White Guy” by some white, bearded guy named Stephen and possibly some of David Allen’s early work. However, Shahar’s book was pretty simple, had some good data behind it, and seemed to jibe with my intuitive sense of happiness. One of the main takeaways; you’ve got to enjoy with what you’re doing now, or you ain’t gonna be happy.

One of my real joys in life is writing. Like a true Rat Racer, I stopped writing blog posts for fear that it was pulling me far away from where I felt I should be, getting a small company off the ground. Instead, I gave up one of the most powerful tools to solving incredibly difficult problems, writing about them.

You can enjoy your life AND get a business off the ground. Now, I’m saying this as I’m struggling to do just that and as everything else I’ve helped start required more sacrifice than I’m willing to give now, but I’m still betting on the fact that it’s right. The best way to put long hours into something is if you’re enjoying it. Ask Yo-Yo Ma.

None of this is new. None of this you haven’t heard before. I’m just saying it a little differently, mostly as a reminder to myself.

To provide a variation on another overused example, sometimes being the kid who eats the marshmallow first is good, as long as you find vitamin packed razzmatazz marshmallows of awesomeness. Said another way using the Hacker News parlance of the time, product/founder/market fit doesn’t just exist in a vacuum. It’s also a good idea to enjoy the act of creating the product, if you want it to work out.