Coding Horror: Buying Happiness
While not a topic common to Monday By Noon, it’s not a topic I’d consider common to Coding Horror either, so I’ll take advantage and talk a bit about it. As it’s said, money is the root of all evil. I believe it is. It’s not just us as Americans that idolize money, the entire world does. We focus so much on money we miss out on a lot of greatness over the course of life.
I hope that doesn’t sound elitist of me, I’ve fallen victim to focusing too much on money just as much as the next guy. When starting Iron to Iron I often wondered how it would work out, how I’d provide for my family. The fact of the matter is that there’s realism behind those fears. The responsible thing is to take those possibilities into consideration and if you’re confident, go forth. Trouble comes up when you let those fears take over and prevent you from making changes you’re completely capable of making.
There’s another ugly side of it though. We can’t help but to be influenced by headlines like Instagram getting bought for $1B. As ridiculous as that is, as much of an outlying circumstance it is, we can’t help but to want something like that to happen to us. Seeing something that ridiculous happen almost makes it seem like “small” dreams of one day getting a $1M payout that much more realistic, almost deserved in some way.
Ultimately it seems to me that big payouts have become the definition of success in our industry, and to be blunt I think that sucks. I don’t see a correlation between a huge buyout and instant gratification for the rest of your life in comparison to a lifetime of doing good work for good people facilitating your doing life to the best of your ability. With these sensational headlines we forget about the day to day lives we’re all leading, the people we rely on and those that rely on us. Being sidetracked by champagne wishes and caviar dreams distracts us from the inherent ability to enjoy going into work every day to do the things we’d do in our free time if we weren’t so burdened by this want to essentially become lottery winners.
It’s great to have lofty goals, I think they can act as inspiration to work hard. I also see the other side though; the inevitable distress when things aren’t happening exactly as you may have dreamt. I get really excited when I hear about what people are working on, what the latest news might be, but it’s all too obvious how much we can get thrown off by the prospect of getting rich. I think a nice way to keep yourself in check is to consistently (not constantly) revisit your inspirations and your overall approach to what you’re doing. If things line up, you’re good to go. Keep doing what you love and do your best to facilitate that in the best way you know how.