What do you want to be remembered for?

Well, we sure can talk the topic of work/life balance to death can’t we? I’ve written about it before and countless others have done the same. What is it about life that makes us always question it? Why are we compelled to second-guess our existence and our purpose?

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately – thinking about life, about my future, about the past and what has gotten me to this point. Sort of that ‘what does it all mean’ way of thinking. Thinking like this can drive you nuts. Obviously, the meaning of life can be interpreted a million different ways – in the end it’s a personal thing, you give your own life it’s meaning, no one else can tell you what it is.

Work vs. Family

Jun Loayza – great guy, passionate entrepreneur, motivated, and dedicated to success. He wrote a post yesterday asking ‘Which would you choose: Work vs Family‘. In it, he talks about the sacrifices an entrepreneur has to make – which includes, at times, neglecting family, friends, and significant others. Jun is a guy that wants to be remembered for something great – he wants to establish a legacy that will be remembered long after he leaves this place we call Earth. Is there anything wrong with that? No, it’s inspired – it’s something we all want, to be remembered, to validate our existence. No matter how big or small of an impact we strive to make, we all want to make a difference, we all want to live a life worth remembering. At it’s core, the meaning of life is to give life meaning, right?

How do you want to be remembered?

But Jun’s post got me thinking about my own life – his thoughts, while passionate and well thought out, scared me a little. I want to be remembered for something great, just like everyone else. But is it worth pushing yourself away from the people that really matter? Is establishing credibility amongst people you’ll never meet more important than the support from those who love us, care about us, and support us? Maybe being remembered isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – or maybe we’re focused on the wrong thing, maybe we should worry more about how we will look back and remember ourselves instead of worrying about praise and glory from everyone else.

Yesterday, I went and saw the movie Adventureland with my girlfriend (great film – highly recommended). I won’t spoil anything but near the end of the movie one of the characters is pondering the question ‘Why does any of this matter? I’m just going to be forgotten eventually’. He raises a point about Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, when he says, ‘Herman was one of the most prolific authors of all time, but in his obituary, they remembered him by calling him Henry Melville. Even the greats aren’t remembered after they die’. To this, James, the protagonist says - ‘Herman wrote an allegorical novel about an unstoppable white whale. The guy wrote an 800 page book about whaling, he must have been a pretty passionate dude. I would be honored to be called Henry when I die.’

Prioritize your legacy

What does it all mean? To me, it means that being remembered isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – but doing what you love, living a passionate and inspired life, and living for yourself – that’s what it all boils down to. The people that matter the most will never forget you. Think about the people you love, think about your parents, grandparents, and best friends. They have probably already done things in your lifetime that will make you never forget what incredible people they were. Isn’t that all that matters? Isn’t being remembered as someone who was passionate and who lived a good life for themselves and the people they loved really the most important thing?

Embarking down the path of the startup life takes commitment, it takes passion, it takes sacrifice. We all have our own ‘White Whale’, whatever it may be, there are things in life that we have to accomplish, things that we have to conquer, both personally and professionally – priorities can be different for each and every one of us. To some, work and life is a balance, to others, work and life are one in the same and must be integrated.  But in the end, don’t live your life to be remembered as the guy who wrote Moby Dick, live your life to be remembered as someone who was passionate enough to write 800 pages about a whale.

Call Me Ishmael…

Join the conversation! 121 Comments

  1. I don’t really care if I am remembered after I leave these pastures. I want to be remembered for the time last summer when I walked into the verandah at the cottage, 11 family members seated and anxiously awaiting dinner, with a platter full of delicious deep-fried fish. And promptly flipped the platter onto the floor. I think my mom actually peed her pants. I want to be remembered for telling a good story that made everyone howl when friends dropped by on Saturday night. It’s the here and the now that matters. That’s why I try hard (and it ain’t easy) to lay down the pen, flip down the laptop screen and turn the ringer to silent as much as possible.

    Reply
    • You have a clear passion for life and LIVING Shel, I commend you for that. I want to be remembered, of course, we all do – I want to do something great with my work because I know I’m smart enough and talented enough to do something great – but in the end, when I’m 80 years old (God willing I make it that far) sitting in my rocker on the front porch, I want to remember things like this – I want to remember these humbling moments that really do define you, that drive your passions and desires.

      I could start 10 successful businesses, write a dozen books, and be known worldwide, but even then I want to be remembered most as a good husband, a good father, and a good friend. In the grand scheme of things, being those things is what makes you legendary. They might not write books about you and talk to about you decades down the road, but your legacy will live on to the people that matter most in your life. I have faith in that, and that is what drives me to be the best person I can be, professionally and personally.

      Reply
  2. I don’t really care if I am remembered after I leave these pastures. I want to be remembered for the time last summer when I walked into the verandah at the cottage, 11 family members seated and anxiously awaiting dinner, with a platter full of delicious deep-fried fish. And promptly flipped the platter onto the floor. I think my mom actually peed her pants. I want to be remembered for telling a good story that made everyone howl when friends dropped by on Saturday night. It’s the here and the now that matters. That’s why I try hard (and it ain’t easy) to lay down the pen, flip down the laptop screen and turn the ringer to silent as much as possible.

    Reply
    • You have a clear passion for life and LIVING Shel, I commend you for that. I want to be remembered, of course, we all do – I want to do something great with my work because I know I’m smart enough and talented enough to do something great – but in the end, when I’m 80 years old (God willing I make it that far) sitting in my rocker on the front porch, I want to remember things like this – I want to remember these humbling moments that really do define you, that drive your passions and desires.

      I could start 10 successful businesses, write a dozen books, and be known worldwide, but even then I want to be remembered most as a good husband, a good father, and a good friend. In the grand scheme of things, being those things is what makes you legendary. They might not write books about you and talk to about you decades down the road, but your legacy will live on to the people that matter most in your life. I have faith in that, and that is what drives me to be the best person I can be, professionally and personally.

      Reply
  3. Matt, you are on top of your stuff. Great job on the quick turn around time on this post.

    My post is not about a work/life balance. I don’t think my post is about choosing life or not. I believe that my career is part of my life, so it is a simple matter of choosing my part of my life over another.

    Love the white whale analogy and agree with a lot of the things you’re saying.

    I will say this, “Living passionately, having the love of my family and friends, and living for myself is not enough for me.”

    Yu-kai says it best, “Happiness is measured by expectations.” If you’re an A student and get a B, then you’re sad. If you’re a C student and get a B, you couldn’t be happier.

    I expect to live passionately, love my friends and family, and to have a decent enough income. I have no doubt in my mind that I can accomplish this. But this is just mediocre for me.

    I want to have multiple successful startups, speak at keynotes that are larger than the ones Gary Vaynerchuk speaks at, and be remembered forever. Legendary status is something I strive for everyday.

    We’re all chasing a happy life – which I feel is the purpose of life. What would make me feel complete is to become legendary.

    - Jun Loayza

    Reply
    • Jun – thanks for coming by and sharing some thoughts on this. You have a very unique perspective that inspired me to author this post. You are one of the most passionate and dedicated workers I know of (and I don’t even really know you). Your determination and work ethic is commendable to say the least.

      I see what you are saying in that ‘living for yourself and your loved ones’ isn’t enough. But this idea of recognition, this goal of becoming legendary – is it worth sacrificing relationships with the people that matter the most? Your post is about choosing work or family – and I don’t think there is any way you can do that. No matter how crazy things get, now matter how much work can consume your life – you HAVE to make time for yourself, and you have to make time for the other people who made time for you before you started this dream – and the people that are supporting you following your dreams right now.

      To me, there has to be more to life than to achieve ‘legendary’ status, but I won’t discount your beliefs and you should always follow what you are passionate about. Sometime though, Jun, you might get burned out on all this and you may realize that working, starting 10 different companies, making a ton of money, speaking at keynotes, it may get you recognition, hell you may be remembered forever by the masses, but is it worth being alone? Is it worth neglecting companionship, love, and friendship?

      Life and work: It is a balance – it has to be to some extent – for us to remain sane in this world.

      Reply
      • Hey Matt / Jun:
        I’m a rookie here, but this topic stirs my soul.

        Are happiness [the type with friends/family] and “legendary” status (in Jun’s definition) somewhat mutually exclusive?

        I think we can agree we are young and ambitious but at the end of the day its those moments of tears, joy and laughter with friends and close ones that mean even more than seeing our business go public.

        On the other hand – I’m currently in the mindset that we won’t know ourselves or our true potential until we push our limits and start those 10 businesses that impact millions, speak at those keynotes, and build entities that outlive ourselves. I think these are gifts and potentials we’ve been blessed with and if we don’t act on them, come time we say our final goodbye we may be left with that “what if I did a little more…” sense of regret.

        I have no idea how to find this balance right now, but just your two views on it have inspired me to start drafting something on it.
        Cheers,
        Tip

        Reply
        • Tip. I’m happy to have you here – this was a great discussion and a lot has changed in my life since this was posted, I appreciate you coming by, digging through the archives, and reminding me of these thoughts.

          Finding that balance is one of the hardest thing you, me, any of us will ever have to do. On one hand, there is this sense of personal entitlement, wanting to push our limits and reach out maximum potential no matter what, sacrificing it all to achieve supreme success.

          On the other hand, there is the ‘human’ side of us, the side that pushes us to make the most of our personal lives, to be good spouses, good sons and daughters, good parents.

          I lean toward the latter as much as possible, but the former pulls me in the opposite direction constantly, tempting me with fame and fortune for making sacrifices.

          All we can do is keep trying, keep moving forward and doing everything we can to have the best of both worlds. I wish you all the best of luck – you’ll have to come by and keep us updated on how everything is going.

          Reply
          • Hey Matt-

            This post is quite the thought provoker. It’s awesome! Personally, my largest fear in life is being too afraid to take the risk of doing something great. I fear sloth and apathy. So, to that end, I think White Whales are wonderful if not essential to motivating us away from the dangers of complacency.

            But not at the cost of sacrificing one’s happiness and “better self”.

            In the end, our lives and legacy are about the memories we had AND the memories of us we leave behind in others. Greatness of life need not be measured in size or quantity but also (and perhaps more importantly) in passion and quality.

            Cheers!

            Reply
            • Couldn’t have said it any better Matt – I never want to become TOO complacent, but sometimes I have to remind myself that being content with where you are and what you have is OK too – you don’t always have to be “on the go”.

              This is one of my all-time favorite posts here – for the conversation in the comments. Glad you stumbled across it…

              Reply
  4. Matt, you are on top of your stuff. Great job on the quick turn around time on this post.

    My post is not about a work/life balance. I don’t think my post is about choosing life or not. I believe that my career is part of my life, so it is a simple matter of choosing my part of my life over another.

    Love the white whale analogy and agree with a lot of the things you’re saying.

    I will say this, “Living passionately, having the love of my family and friends, and living for myself is not enough for me.”

    Yu-kai says it best, “Happiness is measured by expectations.” If you’re an A student and get a B, then you’re sad. If you’re a C student and get a B, you couldn’t be happier.

    I expect to live passionately, love my friends and family, and to have a decent enough income. I have no doubt in my mind that I can accomplish this. But this is just mediocre for me.

    I want to have multiple successful startups, speak at keynotes that are larger than the ones Gary Vaynerchuk speaks at, and be remembered forever. Legendary status is something I strive for everyday.

    We’re all chasing a happy life – which I feel is the purpose of life. What would make me feel complete is to become legendary.

    - Jun Loayza

    Reply
    • Jun – thanks for coming by and sharing some thoughts on this. You have a very unique perspective that inspired me to author this post. You are one of the most passionate and dedicated workers I know of (and I don’t even really know you). Your determination and work ethic is commendable to say the least.

      I see what you are saying in that ‘living for yourself and your loved ones’ isn’t enough. But this idea of recognition, this goal of becoming legendary – is it worth sacrificing relationships with the people that matter the most? Your post is about choosing work or family – and I don’t think there is any way you can do that. No matter how crazy things get, now matter how much work can consume your life – you HAVE to make time for yourself, and you have to make time for the other people who made time for you before you started this dream – and the people that are supporting you following your dreams right now.

      To me, there has to be more to life than to achieve ‘legendary’ status, but I won’t discount your beliefs and you should always follow what you are passionate about. Sometime though, Jun, you might get burned out on all this and you may realize that working, starting 10 different companies, making a ton of money, speaking at keynotes, it may get you recognition, hell you may be remembered forever by the masses, but is it worth being alone? Is it worth neglecting companionship, love, and friendship?

      Life and work: It is a balance – it has to be to some extent – for us to remain sane in this world.

      Reply
      • Hey Matt / Jun:
        I’m a rookie here, but this topic stirs my soul.

        Are happiness [the type with friends/family] and “legendary” status (in Jun’s definition) somewhat mutually exclusive?

        I think we can agree we are young and ambitious but at the end of the day its those moments of tears, joy and laughter with friends and close ones that mean even more than seeing our business go public.

        On the other hand – I’m currently in the mindset that we won’t know ourselves or our true potential until we push our limits and start those 10 businesses that impact millions, speak at those keynotes, and build entities that outlive ourselves. I think these are gifts and potentials we’ve been blessed with and if we don’t act on them, come time we say our final goodbye we may be left with that “what if I did a little more…” sense of regret.

        I have no idea how to find this balance right now, but just your two views on it have inspired me to start drafting something on it.
        Cheers,
        Tip

        Reply
        • Tip. I’m happy to have you here – this was a great discussion and a lot has changed in my life since this was posted, I appreciate you coming by, digging through the archives, and reminding me of these thoughts.

          Finding that balance is one of the hardest thing you, me, any of us will ever have to do. On one hand, there is this sense of personal entitlement, wanting to push our limits and reach out maximum potential no matter what, sacrificing it all to achieve supreme success.

          On the other hand, there is the ‘human’ side of us, the side that pushes us to make the most of our personal lives, to be good spouses, good sons and daughters, good parents.

          I lean toward the latter as much as possible, but the former pulls me in the opposite direction constantly, tempting me with fame and fortune for making sacrifices.

          All we can do is keep trying, keep moving forward and doing everything we can to have the best of both worlds. I wish you all the best of luck – you’ll have to come by and keep us updated on how everything is going.

          Reply
          • Hey Matt-

            This post is quite the thought provoker. It’s awesome! Personally, my largest fear in life is being too afraid to take the risk of doing something great. I fear sloth and apathy. So, to that end, I think White Whales are wonderful if not essential to motivating us away from the dangers of complacency.

            But not at the cost of sacrificing one’s happiness and “better self”.

            In the end, our lives and legacy are about the memories we had AND the memories of us we leave behind in others. Greatness of life need not be measured in size or quantity but also (and perhaps more importantly) in passion and quality.

            Cheers!

            Reply
            • Couldn’t have said it any better Matt – I never want to become TOO complacent, but sometimes I have to remind myself that being content with where you are and what you have is OK too – you don’t always have to be “on the go”.

              This is one of my all-time favorite posts here – for the conversation in the comments. Glad you stumbled across it…

              Reply
  5. Hey there Matt – saw your “elevator pitch” on ProBlogger and just wanted to tell you how great it is. Just a perfect example of what the exercise is meant to teach … you’re well ahead of the game. Bravo!

    Very interesting blog you’ve got here and I’m loving the life without pant philosophy. Sign me up, I’m going commando!

    As for being remembered … I’m not sure that I much care. I fall into Shel’s camp – I’m about the here and now. Being present in a real way for my family and friends is where its at for me. I’m confident they’ll remember me for who I am – a person who loves BIG and tries to bring joy.

    Reply
    • Day one of the Build a Better Blog Marathon and already a newcomer – I must be doing something right. I’m glad my pitch caught your eye and I’m happy to have you as a part of the Life Without Pants community!

      I like your way of thinking when it comes to being remembered. I want to have an impact professionally, want my own business and what to be successful with it, but in the end there are more important things than being rich and famous, am I right?

      Thanks again for coming by – and by the way, in reference to your latest blog post, you can never (ever) go wrong with a good Grilled Cheese!

      Reply
  6. Hey there Matt – saw your “elevator pitch” on ProBlogger and just wanted to tell you how great it is. Just a perfect example of what the exercise is meant to teach … you’re well ahead of the game. Bravo!

    Very interesting blog you’ve got here and I’m loving the life without pant philosophy. Sign me up, I’m going commando!

    As for being remembered … I’m not sure that I much care. I fall into Shel’s camp – I’m about the here and now. Being present in a real way for my family and friends is where its at for me. I’m confident they’ll remember me for who I am – a person who loves BIG and tries to bring joy.

    Reply
    • Day one of the Build a Better Blog Marathon and already a newcomer – I must be doing something right. I’m glad my pitch caught your eye and I’m happy to have you as a part of the Life Without Pants community!

      I like your way of thinking when it comes to being remembered. I want to have an impact professionally, want my own business and what to be successful with it, but in the end there are more important things than being rich and famous, am I right?

      Thanks again for coming by – and by the way, in reference to your latest blog post, you can never (ever) go wrong with a good Grilled Cheese!

      Reply
  7. Thanks so much for the warm welcome. :)

    I suppose I should qualify a bit – its not that I don’t care about my business ventures, its more that they are rather secondary to me. Of course, I recognize that is luxury, especially in today’s economy. I do want success but if the question is how I’d like to be remembered … its all about the love and joy for me.

    Right there with you on the grilled cheese … in all it glorious forms. Cheers!

    Reply
    • I think we all want success – but everyone defines it differently. Being able to put your career on the backburner and focus on other things isn’t realistic for most, and isn’t possible for younger folks like myself – advancing our career, paying our dues, working like a dog is what we have to do to get ahead. But, while this is true, I will never let my job run my life and define who I am. Success is personal to me; it isn’t measured by how many people will remember me once I’m gone.

      I heard somewhere that this month is ‘National Grilled Cheese month’ – I thought that was every month, at least it is for me – what makes April so deserving of that honor? Haha, thanks again for sharing your insight!

      Reply
  8. Thanks so much for the warm welcome. :)

    I suppose I should qualify a bit – its not that I don’t care about my business ventures, its more that they are rather secondary to me. Of course, I recognize that is luxury, especially in today’s economy. I do want success but if the question is how I’d like to be remembered … its all about the love and joy for me.

    Right there with you on the grilled cheese … in all it glorious forms. Cheers!

    Reply
    • I think we all want success – but everyone defines it differently. Being able to put your career on the backburner and focus on other things isn’t realistic for most, and isn’t possible for younger folks like myself – advancing our career, paying our dues, working like a dog is what we have to do to get ahead. But, while this is true, I will never let my job run my life and define who I am. Success is personal to me; it isn’t measured by how many people will remember me once I’m gone.

      I heard somewhere that this month is ‘National Grilled Cheese month’ – I thought that was every month, at least it is for me – what makes April so deserving of that honor? Haha, thanks again for sharing your insight!

      Reply
  9. Hey Matt,

    Great post man. I saw someone link to it on twitter and am glad I followed it.

    I found it quite interesting as you were writing some of the thoughts I had just this past week regarding the meaning of life, and that ultimately, there is no universal meaning. It comes down to one’s own personal experience and belief in what their own meaning for life is. We are all “meant” for something in life…but ultimately it comes down to the individual soul. In the book The Alchemist (an incredible fable) they refer to it as your own Personal Legend. What’s your personal Legend? what are you here on this earth to do?

    You asked the question, “Is it worth pushing yourself away from the people that really matter?” in regards to being remembered as a person who did something great. Is that the only option though? Do you have to push yourself away from people you love to be known as great?

    You also said:

    “Is establishing credibility amongst people you’ll never meet more important than the support from those who love us, care about us, and support us? Maybe being remembered isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – or maybe we’re focused on the wrong thing, maybe we should worry more about how we will look back and remember ourselves instead of worrying about praise and glory from everyone else.”

    —-I don’t believe it’s a matter of ‘being more important.’ Just like meaning, what’s important in life is dependent on the person who creates the ‘importance.’ It’s a perception. As for the possibility of being focused on the wrong thing: I don’t believe there is such a thing as good or bad, right or wrong. It’s a hard concept to grasp, and I still can’t fully explain it in all situations…if you open yourself up to the possibility of that concept however, you will be amazed at the new perspective on life that you develop.

    Also, your last sentence refers to a perception of having the desire to be known which doesn’t have to be true. “Worrying about praise and glory?” Just because one has the desire and intention to be known and remembered doesn’t mean they are “worrying,” about how they will be remembered. Sure, that is a possibility for some people, both are…it’s a state of energy the person is coming from.

    Personally, I have thought deeply many times about the concept of ‘fame.’ Since I was a young child I wanted to be ‘famous.’ I wondered if there was anything negative about that? Ultimately I realized there isn’t because of the place I’m coming from: 1. I want to be well known specifically for having had a major positive impact on the world. 2. If I lived a life where I had a positive impact on the world, but wasn’t well known for it, I would not be unhappy…

    So when it comes down to being well known, the question is, “What for?” Do you just want to be famous for the hell of it and would do anything to have that (such as harming another person, or living in a place that’s out of integrity and doing whatever it takes to become famous)? And then, with that intention of being well known, are you still living in a state of ‘being’? Are you waiting to BE successful to BE happy (the concept of Have-Do-Be) or are you living from a state of BEING. Being successful and happy NOW, before you have (the concept of BE-DO-HAVE) ?

    You: “Isn’t that all that matters? Isn’t being remembered as someone who was passionate and who lived a good life for themselves and the people they loved really the most important thing?”

    Perhaps to you. Perhaps to me. But that’s because of the meaning for life we’ve created. The same concept of an individualized meaning to life comes down to the concepts of what matters and what is important.

    Work and Life: It’s an interesting concept. We in humanity have almost in a sense polarized the two things…A lot of people think of work as negative, life as positive (where life is measured by the enjoyment we have in things such as family, friends, and miscellaneous fun). Can’t work be the same? Can’t work be made of the same relationships?

    No matter what the form of work, it is a place to create. Why is it that up until a certain age, creating was always referred to as ‘playing,’ and now it is known as ‘working’?

    I believe life is our playground. Work? There’s no such thing :-)

    Matt: GREAT post! I really enjoyed this dialogue. You evoked a lot of passion inside me in which I had to write and spill my thoughts. I appreciate what you’ve created here and I will happily subscribe to your blog and come back. Take care!

    –Sean Patrick Simpson
    **The Mindset Apprentice**

    Reply
    • Sean, man, where do I begin. This is an awesome response, way more than I would have expected from anyone – and it prompted me to do a lot of thinking and soul searching, which is why I haven’t gotten back to you up until this point.

      It really is all about the perception we create – our perception of success, our definition of balance, or sources of happiness – it’s unique for every single one of us and that’s what makes us unique as human beings.

      You make an interesting point about the polarization of work and life. In my latest podcast and in a few recent posts, I’ve referred to work/life as more of integration rather than a balancing act – as you’ve said. Can’t work be a ‘recess’ instead of a chore? Sometimes yes, sometimes no – I have mixed feelings on this. Eventually, someday, I plan to have my own business, something that I am 100% passionate about and have created from the ground up through hard work and determination – at that point, I think there can be much MORE of an integration of the two. But now, I am right in the middle of the balance, walking the tightrope so to speak, leaning more toward the work side because I can and because I have to get ahead a little. But I stand firm that there will always be a balance, I will always be able to get away from work and spend time with the people I love and care about. If I’m in a situation that prohibits me from doing that, I’ll get myself out of it – I’ll take a step backwards in my career if it means I can be more personally fulfilled – it’s just the value I’ve placed on the way I want to lead my life.

      Everyone is different – Jun is a great guy, he works his ass off, he’s respected within the community and he’s doing some amazing things right now to forward his career. I give him all the props in the world. The point of this post was never to debunk his theory on work/life balance. But with that said, and I think he realizes this now from the feedback he’s been getting, work cannot consume everything you do. And balance, even if not 50/50, has to be maintained.

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing all of your thoughts. If my initial post wasn’t inspirational, this definitely was. When I can get people to reflect like this, I know I’m doing something right – I hope you’ll be a regular around here in the future!

      Reply
  10. Hey Matt,

    Great post man. I saw someone link to it on twitter and am glad I followed it.

    I found it quite interesting as you were writing some of the thoughts I had just this past week regarding the meaning of life, and that ultimately, there is no universal meaning. It comes down to one’s own personal experience and belief in what their own meaning for life is. We are all “meant” for something in life…but ultimately it comes down to the individual soul. In the book The Alchemist (an incredible fable) they refer to it as your own Personal Legend. What’s your personal Legend? what are you here on this earth to do?

    You asked the question, “Is it worth pushing yourself away from the people that really matter?” in regards to being remembered as a person who did something great. Is that the only option though? Do you have to push yourself away from people you love to be known as great?

    You also said:

    “Is establishing credibility amongst people you’ll never meet more important than the support from those who love us, care about us, and support us? Maybe being remembered isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – or maybe we’re focused on the wrong thing, maybe we should worry more about how we will look back and remember ourselves instead of worrying about praise and glory from everyone else.”

    —-I don’t believe it’s a matter of ‘being more important.’ Just like meaning, what’s important in life is dependent on the person who creates the ‘importance.’ It’s a perception. As for the possibility of being focused on the wrong thing: I don’t believe there is such a thing as good or bad, right or wrong. It’s a hard concept to grasp, and I still can’t fully explain it in all situations…if you open yourself up to the possibility of that concept however, you will be amazed at the new perspective on life that you develop.

    Also, your last sentence refers to a perception of having the desire to be known which doesn’t have to be true. “Worrying about praise and glory?” Just because one has the desire and intention to be known and remembered doesn’t mean they are “worrying,” about how they will be remembered. Sure, that is a possibility for some people, both are…it’s a state of energy the person is coming from.

    Personally, I have thought deeply many times about the concept of ‘fame.’ Since I was a young child I wanted to be ‘famous.’ I wondered if there was anything negative about that? Ultimately I realized there isn’t because of the place I’m coming from: 1. I want to be well known specifically for having had a major positive impact on the world. 2. If I lived a life where I had a positive impact on the world, but wasn’t well known for it, I would not be unhappy…

    So when it comes down to being well known, the question is, “What for?” Do you just want to be famous for the hell of it and would do anything to have that (such as harming another person, or living in a place that’s out of integrity and doing whatever it takes to become famous)? And then, with that intention of being well known, are you still living in a state of ‘being’? Are you waiting to BE successful to BE happy (the concept of Have-Do-Be) or are you living from a state of BEING. Being successful and happy NOW, before you have (the concept of BE-DO-HAVE) ?

    You: “Isn’t that all that matters? Isn’t being remembered as someone who was passionate and who lived a good life for themselves and the people they loved really the most important thing?”

    Perhaps to you. Perhaps to me. But that’s because of the meaning for life we’ve created. The same concept of an individualized meaning to life comes down to the concepts of what matters and what is important.

    Work and Life: It’s an interesting concept. We in humanity have almost in a sense polarized the two things…A lot of people think of work as negative, life as positive (where life is measured by the enjoyment we have in things such as family, friends, and miscellaneous fun). Can’t work be the same? Can’t work be made of the same relationships?

    No matter what the form of work, it is a place to create. Why is it that up until a certain age, creating was always referred to as ‘playing,’ and now it is known as ‘working’?

    I believe life is our playground. Work? There’s no such thing :-)

    Matt: GREAT post! I really enjoyed this dialogue. You evoked a lot of passion inside me in which I had to write and spill my thoughts. I appreciate what you’ve created here and I will happily subscribe to your blog and come back. Take care!

    –Sean Patrick Simpson
    **The Mindset Apprentice**

    Reply
    • Sean, man, where do I begin. This is an awesome response, way more than I would have expected from anyone – and it prompted me to do a lot of thinking and soul searching, which is why I haven’t gotten back to you up until this point.

      It really is all about the perception we create – our perception of success, our definition of balance, or sources of happiness – it’s unique for every single one of us and that’s what makes us unique as human beings.

      You make an interesting point about the polarization of work and life. In my latest podcast and in a few recent posts, I’ve referred to work/life as more of integration rather than a balancing act – as you’ve said. Can’t work be a ‘recess’ instead of a chore? Sometimes yes, sometimes no – I have mixed feelings on this. Eventually, someday, I plan to have my own business, something that I am 100% passionate about and have created from the ground up through hard work and determination – at that point, I think there can be much MORE of an integration of the two. But now, I am right in the middle of the balance, walking the tightrope so to speak, leaning more toward the work side because I can and because I have to get ahead a little. But I stand firm that there will always be a balance, I will always be able to get away from work and spend time with the people I love and care about. If I’m in a situation that prohibits me from doing that, I’ll get myself out of it – I’ll take a step backwards in my career if it means I can be more personally fulfilled – it’s just the value I’ve placed on the way I want to lead my life.

      Everyone is different – Jun is a great guy, he works his ass off, he’s respected within the community and he’s doing some amazing things right now to forward his career. I give him all the props in the world. The point of this post was never to debunk his theory on work/life balance. But with that said, and I think he realizes this now from the feedback he’s been getting, work cannot consume everything you do. And balance, even if not 50/50, has to be maintained.

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing all of your thoughts. If my initial post wasn’t inspirational, this definitely was. When I can get people to reflect like this, I know I’m doing something right – I hope you’ll be a regular around here in the future!

      Reply
  11. Matt, this is such a great post because it reminds me that the goal is to be passionate and do what you love so much that the results of that love and passion truly are secondary.

    One thing I’m intrigued by is how ok I am with you and Jun talking about “where should family come in the quest for professional satisfaction?” and how different this whole discussion would be (for me) if you guys were women. If Jun were a woman talking about prioritizing fame over family I would probably judge her. And that makes me sad that I would do that to another woman.

    Reply
    • Marie – thanks so much for coming by. I am loving all of the new faces here lately. Really appreciate you taking the time to stop in and get involved with this discussion.

      You raise a (very) interesting point here regarding gender. How do you see priorities being different between men and women – what would make you judge differently if we were women talking about putting fame before family? I’m intrigued. Are women held to a different standard and ‘expected’ to not even consider the option of putting work above everything else? Does it come down to men fulfilling the old school ‘provider’ role?

      Really interested to hear your thoughts Marie!

      Reply
      • Matt, thanks for the warm welcome! I don’t even WANT to judge women that would share Jun’s perspective, but I am pretty sure I would. I am feeling horrible even saying that.

        Jun can talk about wanting to work hard for a legacy. This statement never made me question whether he’d be a good dad or husband, he would just be a certain type of husband that only certain types of women would be want to be with (and like I said on Jun’s post, Kim sounds like she knows and loves who Jun is).

        However, I find that when I switch the gender I don’t afford the same consideration to a woman. A woman who says she wants to work towards a legacy first isn’t just a certain type of mom/wife to me, she is (oh goodness I don’t want to say this outloud, but I’m going to) a “bad” mom. Because, I think, what kind of mom puts her career first? And this is definitely more about the mom role than the wife role. Regardless, it’s wrong for me to judge one’s parenting skill based on gender. At least I think it is.

        I don’t WANT women to be held to different standards, but I just know I would have a different emotional response to all this if it was a conversation happening between women.

        This sounds scattered, but I’m commenting anyways…

        Reply
        • Marie – you raise a very interesting point here, don’t be afraid to voice your honest opinion – I don’t think anyone here is going to bash you for your beliefs, and I think what you’re speaking on is something all of us (mane and woman alike) can atone with. At the risk of sounding sexist, women, in general, are still stereotyped as the nurturer, the mother, the caretaker of the family. Daddy goes out and makes the money while mommy sits at home and takes care of the kids and house. It’s not necessarily the reality, especially in this day and age, but it’s still the mentality people have.

          I won’t ask why you think that is, rather I’ll ask, ‘do you think we’ll EVER move past that’? Or do you think it’s inevitable for us to have that mindset toward women? Not that it’s a bad thing, but just that it is what it is.

          I never really thought about this topic from a gender perspective, but I have to admit, if a woman was talking about putting work before family, it would come across differently, I’m not sure why – but clearly the mindset we’re in has been burned into our subconscious.

          Will we ever get past it? Will it ever be ‘ok’ for women to show the same commitment to a job as men? What do you think?

          Reply
  12. I was just having a somewhat related argument with a family member about life and death, and the meaning of both. She’s depressed (as am I) but her new attitude is that there’s no afterlife. Therefore she lives life out of a “moral compass” but doesn’t care about the deceased (as she feels they don’t exist anymore) and feels that since life is all you have, you just “make the most of it”. You have to suffer through working jobs you hate for 60 hours a week to have money to buy food to eat- that kind of stuff.

    Well, my argument comes from the perspective that there is an afterlife (though not the one envisioned by Christians.) I have a fundamental need to believe that there is an afterlife, because then everything has purpose.

    After all, if there is no afterlife, then nothing truly exists. Everything will die at some point- including Earth- so no impact upon mankind, history or other people is significant. A serial killer’s actions during life are no more or less important, no more or less good or bad than someone who cures cancer.

    When I hear people say they believe there’s nothing after death, I always ask them why they don’t just do whatever they want, assuming they have moments in life they dislike? Why suffer through boredom, or terrible jobs, or bad relationships… why commit time to anything when it is meaningless in the end? You spend decades teaching your children to be model citizens? Who cares? They will not exist the next day or 60 years later, and nothing they did matters.

    I have been unemployed for 8 years now due to anxiety disorder. I lost my 20′s to working 7 days a week- and got nothing in return except one company not paying me $7800 resulting in ruined credit and a few bouts of exhaustion. Because of these things, I’ve lost the majority of my 30′s stuck living at a parent’s home, unable to find work.

    Now, if I were to suddenly believe there was no afterlife- no meaning- why would I possibly continue along this horrific path I’m on? I haven’t been able to date, obviously. Why not find some hot girl I’m attracted to and rape her? Why not steal money from people/places? Someone might claim it’s because of a moral compass, but morality only has a place if there’s meaning after your death (not necessarily in the form of judgment, however.)

    Therefore I believe there is an afterlife, and therefore life has meaning. Everything we do is a moment of learning to be shared upon death. And yes, I even believe in reincarnation (though again, not in a traditional form- I think a bit outside the box… there are many other planets in our universe that could hold life, as well as many other dimensions holding other universes. Who knows where a reincarnation may occur? Back here on this one tiny planet? Doubtful.)

    Therefore I approach life as learning. I gather wisdom, and continue to educate myself. Though book smarts are not true knowledge. Wisdom is the master- and as we live our lives, we gain more insight, and come to understand what is truly wise.

    And that is how I wish to be remembered- as a wise man who saw grander meanings in things than those who simply made snap judgments on matters.

    Reply
    • Jaym – your post really made me think (a lot) about my own beliefs. I think there are two ways you can look at our existence here – and two ways people place meaning on what they do throughout their lives.

      1) Your belief in reincarnation – several theologies follow this – the theory that it may take (sometimes and infinite) number of lifetimes for us to achieve enlightenment, but that enlightenment can and will in fact one day be achieved by all that seek it. But even with this belief, can one not say ‘well, I can just do whatever I want in this lifetime because I’ll just get to come back and try again next time?’ If you are infinitely reincarnated, what’s stopping me from killing myself right now and starting over again with the knowledge I’ve already gained in this life? Does that mean every time a mistake is made we should just die and start over? It’s a little extreme of an example, I know. But I’m trying to rationalize beliefs here – so I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

      2) The belief in Heaven and hell. Many people believe that we are given ONE chance to do things right. And at the end of our life we go to either heaven or hell. So, life DOES have meaning because to people who believe this, you only get one shot at it. If you go crazy, rape and pillage, you’ll go to hell – if you live a life of faith and are generally well behaved, you go to heaven and live on eternally in ‘paradise’.

      I think different beliefs can give life meaning – and I say to each his own. I believe a lot of different things myself, I can’t align myself with one clear denomination or faith. But I will say this – you can’t continue your life thinking you are traveling down a ‘horrific’ path. You’re still young and have a lot of life ahead of you – I’m not here to motivate you to turn things around and I don’t know your whole situation, but I am a firm believer in that, no matter what the case, that it’s never ‘too late’ for anyone.

      We are all here for a reason. Keep learning, keep growing – the day we stop growing is the day you have to stop and ask yourself ‘What am I doing here?’

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I hope you’ll respond on the subject of faith and reincarnation.

      Reply
      • Phew! Finally got around to replying!

        I’ve actually had both of your issues raised in prior conversations, so I’m well prepared to give my take on the matter!

        Put on your outside-the-box thinking hat, and open your mind a touch, because I don’t come at this from any traditional religious or spiritual thought process.

        For the first, concerning reincarnation, I have to stress once again I don’t share the typical views on reincarnation that most religions have. Instead, I personally believe in reincarnation with consideration to what we’re coming to learn in the realm of theoretical physics regarding the number of dimensions and potentially unlimited number of universes there may be out there. Not to mention our specific universe in this dimension- it’s naive in my mind to consider we’re the only life out there when there are hundreds of millions of Earth type planets- and that is only relevant to our style of life- Silicon based life forms could live on quite different worlds.

        I am a student of Druidry, and as a Druid believe each experience in life no matter how mundane is there for learning and the accumulation of Wisdom. When we die, we all proceed into an afterlife state where we maintain the individuality of that life we just lived. (Druids refer to this place as “The Summer Fields”. I personally like Winter, so I hope there are choices in climate. =P)

        Once we arrive, we are able to share with the rest of the (for lack of a better term) souls what we felt we learned. “It’s not good to murder.” “Don’t drink and drive.” “Exercise is important.” Obviously these are simplistic, mundane things- but the point is the same… we share our experiences in order to progress our existence forward as a whole.

        This whole, in my mind, is what we all are a part of- what I call “God”. I feel we are actually all part of an entity that is simply seeking to continue to evolve- chasing perfection, as it were. We are not split off from a separate entity known as “God”- but rather, we ARE all God- all parts of God. God is not a man-like individual, but rather an entity beyond the ability for us to comprehend as mortals, and the purpose and final construct of such an entity is unknowable in life.

        Again though, you have to think of this outside of our limited perception. This entity would consist of ALL life, everywhere- any planet, any dimension, any time. So the “lessons” shared are truly universal, including from life not on our own planet- any life anywhere in existence, through potentially infinite dimensions and/or universes.

        This probably sounds like sci-fi madman talk to many people, but again, it’s based off what we know through physics of how our universe is made. People too often think of life and death as singular to our existence on this one planet as this one species- the notions of Heaven and Hell apply only to humans living on Earth. Assuming there is life elsewhere- not just in our Universe… why would we assume an afterlife exists separately for each species out there? Instead it makes sense that one such realm exists to contain all such life- though it is not unfair to argue that if we are separate in different dimensions or universes, we would have separate afterlifes for each, but even then all life within our own Universe (and there must be more than us) would share one afterlife.

        With that established, I feel reincarnation comes at the point you have shared or learned enough in the afterlife to return for more learning, or to apply what you have learned. I constantly debate with myself if this reincarnation is controllable, or a random chance- I have a tough time understanding how someone could choose to reincarnate as a starving baby in Africa, for instance.

        Still, I think there is choice is agreeing to BE reincarnated. If you feel you’ve lived a life (or many, perhaps!) that is enough to share valuable thoughts with others- if your life was “ideal” enough, you could choose to stay indefinitely. I’m a HUGE Prince fan. He’s a musical genius (admittedly- regardless of if you like him or his music or not). Prince, upon death, may decide to stay indefinitely due to his extreme knowledge in music- his knowledge, and the lessons he could share would be invaluable for all time. However, an accountant that lived a simple life of no consequence or happening may share what little he gleaned and choose immediately to head back to another life, where he may have better luck learning more valuable lessons.

        So the short answer to the reincarnation issue is simply- you might not have control over it in regards to how or where you reincarnate.

        There’s also a consideration that if you break some universal truths (I don’t want to use the term “sins” due to its religious limitations)- for instance, say committing suicide has already been determined by our “ultimate entity”/God to be a bad thing to do- perhaps you must spend time learning from others why this is so before you are given a chance to return for a second chance. Not a permanent punishment- a temporary one.

        That would explain away the reasoning for not simply killing oneself to just “try again”- there might be strings attached, a lack of control over the process, OR the fact that you might end up on the other side of the Universe 10,000 years ago as a different species. (Again, I know to some that sounds like nonsense, but I assure you such a thing is mathematically possible, in theory, of course! =p)

        As to the Heaven/Hell concept, I can address
        that a bit more simply, since I’ve established much of it above.

        First, I do not believe in Hell. Why is that?

        The idea is, if you have committed a horrible enough crime against God (this would be the notion of a separate God as Christians and others believe) you are placed eternally into a location to be tortured and/or suffer the cost of your crime.

        One must ask, what is the purpose of such a Hell? If someone does something bad or wrong, you punish them for what purpose? The purpose is to teach them a lesson. You punish so they LEARN they should not have done such a thing.

        But wait- what good is knowledge if it is never applied? If you are eternally punishing those in Hell for their crimes/sins, teaching them the error of their ways… what is served by the process if they never apply that knowledge?

        Instead, what you have is a group of souls eternally being tortured for no ultimate purpose. By my book, that means the person responsible for such torture would be evil. And, in such a case, the person we’re discussing would be… God.

        So the very notion of Hell as it is portrayed traditionally equates to God being evil. I don’t find that logic to add up. If you have such a powerful entity to create everything in existence- why would it eternally torture souls rather than simply determine they were “failed” souls, and destroy them from existence?

        Now- this all changes if you tell me that Hell is a temporary state. IF Hell is a “prison”- you serve 500 years for each murder… you serve 20 years for jaywalking (I kid)… THEN I can buy into the notion of Hell, because the lessons learned can be applied once the soul is released.

        As to Heaven- I believe that simply is the afterlife as I described above. An enjoyable place where one can stay indefinitely to share lessons, or leave when ready or chosen… but I don’t see it as an exclusive place only intended for a select few who believe in one religion or one God.

        And I end, of course, reinforcing the fact that these are my beliefs and that I’m as clueless as anyone else on the matter as to what the truth really is in the end- until that day I find out first hand.

        Reply
  13. Matt, this is such a great post because it reminds me that the goal is to be passionate and do what you love so much that the results of that love and passion truly are secondary.

    One thing I’m intrigued by is how ok I am with you and Jun talking about “where should family come in the quest for professional satisfaction?” and how different this whole discussion would be (for me) if you guys were women. If Jun were a woman talking about prioritizing fame over family I would probably judge her. And that makes me sad that I would do that to another woman.

    Reply
    • Marie – thanks so much for coming by. I am loving all of the new faces here lately. Really appreciate you taking the time to stop in and get involved with this discussion.

      You raise a (very) interesting point here regarding gender. How do you see priorities being different between men and women – what would make you judge differently if we were women talking about putting fame before family? I’m intrigued. Are women held to a different standard and ‘expected’ to not even consider the option of putting work above everything else? Does it come down to men fulfilling the old school ‘provider’ role?

      Really interested to hear your thoughts Marie!

      Reply
      • Matt, thanks for the warm welcome! I don’t even WANT to judge women that would share Jun’s perspective, but I am pretty sure I would. I am feeling horrible even saying that.

        Jun can talk about wanting to work hard for a legacy. This statement never made me question whether he’d be a good dad or husband, he would just be a certain type of husband that only certain types of women would be want to be with (and like I said on Jun’s post, Kim sounds like she knows and loves who Jun is).

        However, I find that when I switch the gender I don’t afford the same consideration to a woman. A woman who says she wants to work towards a legacy first isn’t just a certain type of mom/wife to me, she is (oh goodness I don’t want to say this outloud, but I’m going to) a “bad” mom. Because, I think, what kind of mom puts her career first? And this is definitely more about the mom role than the wife role. Regardless, it’s wrong for me to judge one’s parenting skill based on gender. At least I think it is.

        I don’t WANT women to be held to different standards, but I just know I would have a different emotional response to all this if it was a conversation happening between women.

        This sounds scattered, but I’m commenting anyways…

        Reply
        • Marie – you raise a very interesting point here, don’t be afraid to voice your honest opinion – I don’t think anyone here is going to bash you for your beliefs, and I think what you’re speaking on is something all of us (mane and woman alike) can atone with. At the risk of sounding sexist, women, in general, are still stereotyped as the nurturer, the mother, the caretaker of the family. Daddy goes out and makes the money while mommy sits at home and takes care of the kids and house. It’s not necessarily the reality, especially in this day and age, but it’s still the mentality people have.

          I won’t ask why you think that is, rather I’ll ask, ‘do you think we’ll EVER move past that’? Or do you think it’s inevitable for us to have that mindset toward women? Not that it’s a bad thing, but just that it is what it is.

          I never really thought about this topic from a gender perspective, but I have to admit, if a woman was talking about putting work before family, it would come across differently, I’m not sure why – but clearly the mindset we’re in has been burned into our subconscious.

          Will we ever get past it? Will it ever be ‘ok’ for women to show the same commitment to a job as men? What do you think?

          Reply
  14. I was just having a somewhat related argument with a family member about life and death, and the meaning of both. She’s depressed (as am I) but her new attitude is that there’s no afterlife. Therefore she lives life out of a “moral compass” but doesn’t care about the deceased (as she feels they don’t exist anymore) and feels that since life is all you have, you just “make the most of it”. You have to suffer through working jobs you hate for 60 hours a week to have money to buy food to eat- that kind of stuff.

    Well, my argument comes from the perspective that there is an afterlife (though not the one envisioned by Christians.) I have a fundamental need to believe that there is an afterlife, because then everything has purpose.

    After all, if there is no afterlife, then nothing truly exists. Everything will die at some point- including Earth- so no impact upon mankind, history or other people is significant. A serial killer’s actions during life are no more or less important, no more or less good or bad than someone who cures cancer.

    When I hear people say they believe there’s nothing after death, I always ask them why they don’t just do whatever they want, assuming they have moments in life they dislike? Why suffer through boredom, or terrible jobs, or bad relationships… why commit time to anything when it is meaningless in the end? You spend decades teaching your children to be model citizens? Who cares? They will not exist the next day or 60 years later, and nothing they did matters.

    I have been unemployed for 8 years now due to anxiety disorder. I lost my 20′s to working 7 days a week- and got nothing in return except one company not paying me $7800 resulting in ruined credit and a few bouts of exhaustion. Because of these things, I’ve lost the majority of my 30′s stuck living at a parent’s home, unable to find work.

    Now, if I were to suddenly believe there was no afterlife- no meaning- why would I possibly continue along this horrific path I’m on? I haven’t been able to date, obviously. Why not find some hot girl I’m attracted to and rape her? Why not steal money from people/places? Someone might claim it’s because of a moral compass, but morality only has a place if there’s meaning after your death (not necessarily in the form of judgment, however.)

    Therefore I believe there is an afterlife, and therefore life has meaning. Everything we do is a moment of learning to be shared upon death. And yes, I even believe in reincarnation (though again, not in a traditional form- I think a bit outside the box… there are many other planets in our universe that could hold life, as well as many other dimensions holding other universes. Who knows where a reincarnation may occur? Back here on this one tiny planet? Doubtful.)

    Therefore I approach life as learning. I gather wisdom, and continue to educate myself. Though book smarts are not true knowledge. Wisdom is the master- and as we live our lives, we gain more insight, and come to understand what is truly wise.

    And that is how I wish to be remembered- as a wise man who saw grander meanings in things than those who simply made snap judgments on matters.

    Reply
    • Jaym – your post really made me think (a lot) about my own beliefs. I think there are two ways you can look at our existence here – and two ways people place meaning on what they do throughout their lives.

      1) Your belief in reincarnation – several theologies follow this – the theory that it may take (sometimes and infinite) number of lifetimes for us to achieve enlightenment, but that enlightenment can and will in fact one day be achieved by all that seek it. But even with this belief, can one not say ‘well, I can just do whatever I want in this lifetime because I’ll just get to come back and try again next time?’ If you are infinitely reincarnated, what’s stopping me from killing myself right now and starting over again with the knowledge I’ve already gained in this life? Does that mean every time a mistake is made we should just die and start over? It’s a little extreme of an example, I know. But I’m trying to rationalize beliefs here – so I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

      2) The belief in Heaven and hell. Many people believe that we are given ONE chance to do things right. And at the end of our life we go to either heaven or hell. So, life DOES have meaning because to people who believe this, you only get one shot at it. If you go crazy, rape and pillage, you’ll go to hell – if you live a life of faith and are generally well behaved, you go to heaven and live on eternally in ‘paradise’.

      I think different beliefs can give life meaning – and I say to each his own. I believe a lot of different things myself, I can’t align myself with one clear denomination or faith. But I will say this – you can’t continue your life thinking you are traveling down a ‘horrific’ path. You’re still young and have a lot of life ahead of you – I’m not here to motivate you to turn things around and I don’t know your whole situation, but I am a firm believer in that, no matter what the case, that it’s never ‘too late’ for anyone.

      We are all here for a reason. Keep learning, keep growing – the day we stop growing is the day you have to stop and ask yourself ‘What am I doing here?’

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I hope you’ll respond on the subject of faith and reincarnation.

      Reply
      • Phew! Finally got around to replying!

        I’ve actually had both of your issues raised in prior conversations, so I’m well prepared to give my take on the matter!

        Put on your outside-the-box thinking hat, and open your mind a touch, because I don’t come at this from any traditional religious or spiritual thought process.

        For the first, concerning reincarnation, I have to stress once again I don’t share the typical views on reincarnation that most religions have. Instead, I personally believe in reincarnation with consideration to what we’re coming to learn in the realm of theoretical physics regarding the number of dimensions and potentially unlimited number of universes there may be out there. Not to mention our specific universe in this dimension- it’s naive in my mind to consider we’re the only life out there when there are hundreds of millions of Earth type planets- and that is only relevant to our style of life- Silicon based life forms could live on quite different worlds.

        I am a student of Druidry, and as a Druid believe each experience in life no matter how mundane is there for learning and the accumulation of Wisdom. When we die, we all proceed into an afterlife state where we maintain the individuality of that life we just lived. (Druids refer to this place as “The Summer Fields”. I personally like Winter, so I hope there are choices in climate. =P)

        Once we arrive, we are able to share with the rest of the (for lack of a better term) souls what we felt we learned. “It’s not good to murder.” “Don’t drink and drive.” “Exercise is important.” Obviously these are simplistic, mundane things- but the point is the same… we share our experiences in order to progress our existence forward as a whole.

        This whole, in my mind, is what we all are a part of- what I call “God”. I feel we are actually all part of an entity that is simply seeking to continue to evolve- chasing perfection, as it were. We are not split off from a separate entity known as “God”- but rather, we ARE all God- all parts of God. God is not a man-like individual, but rather an entity beyond the ability for us to comprehend as mortals, and the purpose and final construct of such an entity is unknowable in life.

        Again though, you have to think of this outside of our limited perception. This entity would consist of ALL life, everywhere- any planet, any dimension, any time. So the “lessons” shared are truly universal, including from life not on our own planet- any life anywhere in existence, through potentially infinite dimensions and/or universes.

        This probably sounds like sci-fi madman talk to many people, but again, it’s based off what we know through physics of how our universe is made. People too often think of life and death as singular to our existence on this one planet as this one species- the notions of Heaven and Hell apply only to humans living on Earth. Assuming there is life elsewhere- not just in our Universe… why would we assume an afterlife exists separately for each species out there? Instead it makes sense that one such realm exists to contain all such life- though it is not unfair to argue that if we are separate in different dimensions or universes, we would have separate afterlifes for each, but even then all life within our own Universe (and there must be more than us) would share one afterlife.

        With that established, I feel reincarnation comes at the point you have shared or learned enough in the afterlife to return for more learning, or to apply what you have learned. I constantly debate with myself if this reincarnation is controllable, or a random chance- I have a tough time understanding how someone could choose to reincarnate as a starving baby in Africa, for instance.

        Still, I think there is choice is agreeing to BE reincarnated. If you feel you’ve lived a life (or many, perhaps!) that is enough to share valuable thoughts with others- if your life was “ideal” enough, you could choose to stay indefinitely. I’m a HUGE Prince fan. He’s a musical genius (admittedly- regardless of if you like him or his music or not). Prince, upon death, may decide to stay indefinitely due to his extreme knowledge in music- his knowledge, and the lessons he could share would be invaluable for all time. However, an accountant that lived a simple life of no consequence or happening may share what little he gleaned and choose immediately to head back to another life, where he may have better luck learning more valuable lessons.

        So the short answer to the reincarnation issue is simply- you might not have control over it in regards to how or where you reincarnate.

        There’s also a consideration that if you break some universal truths (I don’t want to use the term “sins” due to its religious limitations)- for instance, say committing suicide has already been determined by our “ultimate entity”/God to be a bad thing to do- perhaps you must spend time learning from others why this is so before you are given a chance to return for a second chance. Not a permanent punishment- a temporary one.

        That would explain away the reasoning for not simply killing oneself to just “try again”- there might be strings attached, a lack of control over the process, OR the fact that you might end up on the other side of the Universe 10,000 years ago as a different species. (Again, I know to some that sounds like nonsense, but I assure you such a thing is mathematically possible, in theory, of course! =p)

        As to the Heaven/Hell concept, I can address
        that a bit more simply, since I’ve established much of it above.

        First, I do not believe in Hell. Why is that?

        The idea is, if you have committed a horrible enough crime against God (this would be the notion of a separate God as Christians and others believe) you are placed eternally into a location to be tortured and/or suffer the cost of your crime.

        One must ask, what is the purpose of such a Hell? If someone does something bad or wrong, you punish them for what purpose? The purpose is to teach them a lesson. You punish so they LEARN they should not have done such a thing.

        But wait- what good is knowledge if it is never applied? If you are eternally punishing those in Hell for their crimes/sins, teaching them the error of their ways… what is served by the process if they never apply that knowledge?

        Instead, what you have is a group of souls eternally being tortured for no ultimate purpose. By my book, that means the person responsible for such torture would be evil. And, in such a case, the person we’re discussing would be… God.

        So the very notion of Hell as it is portrayed traditionally equates to God being evil. I don’t find that logic to add up. If you have such a powerful entity to create everything in existence- why would it eternally torture souls rather than simply determine they were “failed” souls, and destroy them from existence?

        Now- this all changes if you tell me that Hell is a temporary state. IF Hell is a “prison”- you serve 500 years for each murder… you serve 20 years for jaywalking (I kid)… THEN I can buy into the notion of Hell, because the lessons learned can be applied once the soul is released.

        As to Heaven- I believe that simply is the afterlife as I described above. An enjoyable place where one can stay indefinitely to share lessons, or leave when ready or chosen… but I don’t see it as an exclusive place only intended for a select few who believe in one religion or one God.

        And I end, of course, reinforcing the fact that these are my beliefs and that I’m as clueless as anyone else on the matter as to what the truth really is in the end- until that day I find out first hand.

        Reply
  15. Great post, and I enjoyed your interesting example of Moby Dick! I think that it’s natural for us to all want to be remembered long after we are gone. Life is so short and we all want to make the most of it, and succeed in a way that people will remember us. But I do think that if this drive for success and “fame” in some sense takes you over to the point that you’re neglecting the people you love and care about you – your friends & family & loved ones – then you are on the wrong path. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to leave a legacy behind, but I do think that we have to have the right balance between chasing something amazing and being happy with what we have.

    Reply
    • Akhila. Thanks for jumping in here. Awesome comment! You can thank Adventureland for the Moby Dick analogy – you should really go see it, great flick.

      Life is short – it’s unfortunate but that’s just the way it is. I think I’m finally starting to realize that, I take a look back and I’m like, ‘How am I already 23 years old’ – I know I still have a ton of life ahead of me, but I think I’m just now starting to think about the fact that I’m not going to be here forever. With that, I’ve been doing more and more thinking about what I want to do with my life – I’m still not sure, but, as I said in my post, I’m not going to let my legacy define me – I don’t have to become ‘legendary’ to strangers in order to say I lived a fulfilling life. Instead, I plan on living for myself – I plan on being there for my friends and family. And I plan to achieve the goals I’ve layed out for myself – none of which include putting work before everything else.

      In the end, work is still work – it might bring you status, it might bring you money, but it will never bring you love, companionship, and TOTAL self-fulfillment.

      Reply
  16. Great post, and I enjoyed your interesting example of Moby Dick! I think that it’s natural for us to all want to be remembered long after we are gone. Life is so short and we all want to make the most of it, and succeed in a way that people will remember us. But I do think that if this drive for success and “fame” in some sense takes you over to the point that you’re neglecting the people you love and care about you – your friends & family & loved ones – then you are on the wrong path. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to leave a legacy behind, but I do think that we have to have the right balance between chasing something amazing and being happy with what we have.

    Reply
    • Akhila. Thanks for jumping in here. Awesome comment! You can thank Adventureland for the Moby Dick analogy – you should really go see it, great flick.

      Life is short – it’s unfortunate but that’s just the way it is. I think I’m finally starting to realize that, I take a look back and I’m like, ‘How am I already 23 years old’ – I know I still have a ton of life ahead of me, but I think I’m just now starting to think about the fact that I’m not going to be here forever. With that, I’ve been doing more and more thinking about what I want to do with my life – I’m still not sure, but, as I said in my post, I’m not going to let my legacy define me – I don’t have to become ‘legendary’ to strangers in order to say I lived a fulfilling life. Instead, I plan on living for myself – I plan on being there for my friends and family. And I plan to achieve the goals I’ve layed out for myself – none of which include putting work before everything else.

      In the end, work is still work – it might bring you status, it might bring you money, but it will never bring you love, companionship, and TOTAL self-fulfillment.

      Reply
  17. This is a great post. Definitely love the white whale analogy (like what Jun Loayza mentioned in the earlier comments). Anyway, I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. We’re all born different, with different backgrounds (changing, even), and happiness for one may not exactly be the happiness for another. They did say, however, that success shared is more fulfilling, and I think this is where it matters. And mostly, success is driven not just by personal aspirations but as a way for us to lift our families up from a life less ordinary. To me, family will always support you and would definitely want you to be successful in life. What other people forget when they’ve finally attained success, is to give/share it back to the people who’ve been there when they weren’t anyone worth remembering yet. The biggest mistake most successful people commit is not being thankful. Sure, they may have earned their success through their own hard work, but family was always there to back them up in case they fall or to push them further when they felt like giving up.

    Reply
    • Niki – thanks for coming by and getting involved. I checked out your blog and it looks awesome – I’ll be sure to pay a more lengthy visit here in the near future.

      I really like the point you make about sharing success. That’s exactly how I feel. In my case, I want to start and run a business with my lady friend. We both have different talents and interests, but combined we make one hell of a team. I am much more of the marketer, communicator, writer, and so on, while she is much better at ‘managing’ business and working with the numbers.

      The second, and most important point you make is on the topic of success being a humbling experience. It happens all to often that someone will become successful, then forget to remember who got them there, forget those who have always been their rock of support. The same can be related to big business – companies focus on establishing relationships with their consumers, then once they hit it big and make a lot of money, they transition their focus soley on results. A lot of companies lose track of their consumer base, that connection they used to have, which leads to people shifting their loyalty elsewhere.

      But, as sort of a ‘vicious cycle’ companies (the smart ones) come back and try to re-establish what the lost. That’s why we’re seeing more and more companies signing up for social networking tools – to get back to their roots and connect with the ‘little people’.

      Getting back to your point – It’s so important that we never forget our roots, we never forget the people who have always been there for us. That’s why, at the root of it all, I would always choose family over work – they were there in the beginning and they’ll be there in the end.

      Thanks again for you awesome comment Niki. I hope you’ll become a regular around here.

      Reply
  18. This is a great post. Definitely love the white whale analogy (like what Jun Loayza mentioned in the earlier comments). Anyway, I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. We’re all born different, with different backgrounds (changing, even), and happiness for one may not exactly be the happiness for another. They did say, however, that success shared is more fulfilling, and I think this is where it matters. And mostly, success is driven not just by personal aspirations but as a way for us to lift our families up from a life less ordinary. To me, family will always support you and would definitely want you to be successful in life. What other people forget when they’ve finally attained success, is to give/share it back to the people who’ve been there when they weren’t anyone worth remembering yet. The biggest mistake most successful people commit is not being thankful. Sure, they may have earned their success through their own hard work, but family was always there to back them up in case they fall or to push them further when they felt like giving up.

    Reply
    • Niki – thanks for coming by and getting involved. I checked out your blog and it looks awesome – I’ll be sure to pay a more lengthy visit here in the near future.

      I really like the point you make about sharing success. That’s exactly how I feel. In my case, I want to start and run a business with my lady friend. We both have different talents and interests, but combined we make one hell of a team. I am much more of the marketer, communicator, writer, and so on, while she is much better at ‘managing’ business and working with the numbers.

      The second, and most important point you make is on the topic of success being a humbling experience. It happens all to often that someone will become successful, then forget to remember who got them there, forget those who have always been their rock of support. The same can be related to big business – companies focus on establishing relationships with their consumers, then once they hit it big and make a lot of money, they transition their focus soley on results. A lot of companies lose track of their consumer base, that connection they used to have, which leads to people shifting their loyalty elsewhere.

      But, as sort of a ‘vicious cycle’ companies (the smart ones) come back and try to re-establish what the lost. That’s why we’re seeing more and more companies signing up for social networking tools – to get back to their roots and connect with the ‘little people’.

      Getting back to your point – It’s so important that we never forget our roots, we never forget the people who have always been there for us. That’s why, at the root of it all, I would always choose family over work – they were there in the beginning and they’ll be there in the end.

      Thanks again for you awesome comment Niki. I hope you’ll become a regular around here.

      Reply
  19. Wow, this has gotten truly philosophical, therefore I LOVE IT! :)

    First, i’d like to say something to Jun. Obviously his passion and ambition are something of another planet, and he should be proud. Like Matt said, you are one of the most amazing people i know, even if i don’t actually know you. But i can’t help to recall the movie “Into the wild” and the phrase in the end.

    “Happiness is only real when shared”.

    Please reconsider which people you may lose on your road to greatness. Because i really believe that you will be great. And that’s why i think you will lose people. You may be ok with it now, while you still have them. But shared human emotions are the most powerful ones we can feel.

    Ok, on to the post.

    Work is work. With or without a boss. And it’s something that we all NEED to do. There’s no fulfilled life without work. But then again, there’s no life without relations, without people to love and care about. I really don’t see a “versus” here. If any of those wins, then you have lost. Care too much about people and having fun with them, and your working life will take all your happiness away. Do the opposite, and you won’t have anyone to share all your success, money, fame or whatever, therefore making them empty achievements.

    Let me get a little personal here. Hopefully i won’t bother you. I have already lived both extremes. I’ve been with too much free time, being with everyone i cared about, and actually despising myself for not being productive, or for HAVING to work on something i hated. I also have being ultra productive, doing what i love, in an amazing job, and also felt unhappy, for not having time to enjoy this progress with my loved ones.

    We are all different, true. But we are also similar in one thing. Balance. There’s no happiness without it. And truth be told, happiness is our ultimate goal. Or at least getting close to it. Look at most geniouses. How many have led unhappy lifes…But maybe that’s the goal of a champion, i don’t know. Be it as it may, i believe in leading the way for people to be happy, not champions.

    Great post, and even better comments. Amazing Matt, i’m glad to have Twitter-met you! Keep it up, you’re doing awesome!

    Reply
    • Carlos – so glad you jumped into this discussion, I want to follow up in a couple ways.

      First, your point about shared emotions being the most powerful ones – amen to that brother! Being in love is the most amazing thing that can ever happen to a person, and in my opinion, no amount of personal success will ever amount to having someone love you and care about you unconditionally.
      Second: It’s all about balance, isn’t it? That’s the term we use more than anything else when we talk about life and work. It’s funny you should mention the word ‘versus’ because that was honestly the point I struggled with the most when writing this post. Do I say work ‘slash’ life, work ‘equals’ life, work ‘versus’ life, and so on. It’s a balance – but some people don’t get that, to many, it’s one or the other, and to me, that’s just nuts.

      You bring up an awesome point about ‘geniuses’. Think about some of the all time great writers, composers, and artists. They were masters at their craft, but when you read their biographies, there’s one re-occurring theme we see again and again – they were alone, they had no one but themselves, they dedicated everything toward mastering their art form and left out all the rest. They didn’t have balance – and while they may be remembered forever in history, if they could go back and do it all again, they might make time for their family and loved ones in order to carry out a more prosperous and happy life. I don’t want to end up a lonely genius, do you?

      Thanks again for your insight man – I’m glad we’ve connected and I’m looking forward to getting more involved in each other’s worlds from here on out.

      Reply
  20. Wow, this has gotten truly philosophical, therefore I LOVE IT! :)

    First, i’d like to say something to Jun. Obviously his passion and ambition are something of another planet, and he should be proud. Like Matt said, you are one of the most amazing people i know, even if i don’t actually know you. But i can’t help to recall the movie “Into the wild” and the phrase in the end.

    “Happiness is only real when shared”.

    Please reconsider which people you may lose on your road to greatness. Because i really believe that you will be great. And that’s why i think you will lose people. You may be ok with it now, while you still have them. But shared human emotions are the most powerful ones we can feel.

    Ok, on to the post.

    Work is work. With or without a boss. And it’s something that we all NEED to do. There’s no fulfilled life without work. But then again, there’s no life without relations, without people to love and care about. I really don’t see a “versus” here. If any of those wins, then you have lost. Care too much about people and having fun with them, and your working life will take all your happiness away. Do the opposite, and you won’t have anyone to share all your success, money, fame or whatever, therefore making them empty achievements.

    Let me get a little personal here. Hopefully i won’t bother you. I have already lived both extremes. I’ve been with too much free time, being with everyone i cared about, and actually despising myself for not being productive, or for HAVING to work on something i hated. I also have being ultra productive, doing what i love, in an amazing job, and also felt unhappy, for not having time to enjoy this progress with my loved ones.

    We are all different, true. But we are also similar in one thing. Balance. There’s no happiness without it. And truth be told, happiness is our ultimate goal. Or at least getting close to it. Look at most geniouses. How many have led unhappy lifes…But maybe that’s the goal of a champion, i don’t know. Be it as it may, i believe in leading the way for people to be happy, not champions.

    Great post, and even better comments. Amazing Matt, i’m glad to have Twitter-met you! Keep it up, you’re doing awesome!

    Reply
    • Carlos – so glad you jumped into this discussion, I want to follow up in a couple ways.

      First, your point about shared emotions being the most powerful ones – amen to that brother! Being in love is the most amazing thing that can ever happen to a person, and in my opinion, no amount of personal success will ever amount to having someone love you and care about you unconditionally.
      Second: It’s all about balance, isn’t it? That’s the term we use more than anything else when we talk about life and work. It’s funny you should mention the word ‘versus’ because that was honestly the point I struggled with the most when writing this post. Do I say work ‘slash’ life, work ‘equals’ life, work ‘versus’ life, and so on. It’s a balance – but some people don’t get that, to many, it’s one or the other, and to me, that’s just nuts.

      You bring up an awesome point about ‘geniuses’. Think about some of the all time great writers, composers, and artists. They were masters at their craft, but when you read their biographies, there’s one re-occurring theme we see again and again – they were alone, they had no one but themselves, they dedicated everything toward mastering their art form and left out all the rest. They didn’t have balance – and while they may be remembered forever in history, if they could go back and do it all again, they might make time for their family and loved ones in order to carry out a more prosperous and happy life. I don’t want to end up a lonely genius, do you?

      Thanks again for your insight man – I’m glad we’ve connected and I’m looking forward to getting more involved in each other’s worlds from here on out.

      Reply
  21. Very intriguing. Nice post, Matt. I had to write a paper on the meaning of my life in my senior capstone class about a year ago.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2277804/Essay-Meaning-of-My-Life

    Reply
    • Hey Cheryl – thanks for the compliment. Senior Capstone was good for making us think (that’s about all it was good for, eh?)

      It’s clear that your faith in God drives you, it defines you, and it leaves you open to continual growth and development as a human being. I may not be as religious and committed to faith as you, but we see eye to eye that life has to be a continual learning experience. If we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing, and if we aren’t growing, what exactly are we doing here?

      Your passion for life and relationship with God are inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story!

      Reply
  22. Very intriguing. Nice post, Matt. I had to write a paper on the meaning of my life in my senior capstone class about a year ago.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2277804/Essay-Meaning-of-My-Life

    Reply
    • Hey Cheryl – thanks for the compliment. Senior Capstone was good for making us think (that’s about all it was good for, eh?)

      It’s clear that your faith in God drives you, it defines you, and it leaves you open to continual growth and development as a human being. I may not be as religious and committed to faith as you, but we see eye to eye that life has to be a continual learning experience. If we aren’t learning, we aren’t growing, and if we aren’t growing, what exactly are we doing here?

      Your passion for life and relationship with God are inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story!

      Reply
  23. @Matt, unsurprisingly I agree with you once again

    @Jun I know this came from thoughts raised from your original post but I simply can’t understand what you mean when you say: “My post is not about a work/life balance. I don’t think my post is about choosing life or not. I believe that my career is part of my life, so it is a simple matter of choosing one part of my life over another.” If this is a matter of choosing one part of your life over another doesn’t that mean determining how you balance the two parts, work and life? I still don’t see the distinction. Oh and your admiration of Gary Vaynerchuk as someone whose going to leave behind a lasting legacy annoys me but that’s another topic.

    Anyways, I’ve given this alot of thought and what occurred to me is that this isn’t a question of just work life balance but a look at how we define success. @Niki touches upon this with her comment and I started to as well. My comment got so long and was so personal that I turned it into a post on my site.

    I hope you guys get a chance to read, “What does success mean to you?”, and continue this discussion.

    http://www.rikinontheweb.com/what-does-success-mean-for-you

    Matt feel free to guest post on the subject anytime!

    Reply
    • Thanks for coming by and sharing some of your thoughts Rikin. I look forward to reading your post. I think we all define success in very different ways, but it’s the way we personally define it that drives us and motivates us toward achieving that success.

      Reply
  24. @Matt, unsurprisingly I agree with you once again

    @Jun I know this came from thoughts raised from your original post but I simply can’t understand what you mean when you say: “My post is not about a work/life balance. I don’t think my post is about choosing life or not. I believe that my career is part of my life, so it is a simple matter of choosing one part of my life over another.” If this is a matter of choosing one part of your life over another doesn’t that mean determining how you balance the two parts, work and life? I still don’t see the distinction. Oh and your admiration of Gary Vaynerchuk as someone whose going to leave behind a lasting legacy annoys me but that’s another topic.

    Anyways, I’ve given this alot of thought and what occurred to me is that this isn’t a question of just work life balance but a look at how we define success. @Niki touches upon this with her comment and I started to as well. My comment got so long and was so personal that I turned it into a post on my site.

    I hope you guys get a chance to read, “What does success mean to you?”, and continue this discussion.

    http://www.rikinontheweb.com/what-does-success-mean-for-you

    Matt feel free to guest post on the subject anytime!

    Reply
    • Thanks for coming by and sharing some of your thoughts Rikin. I look forward to reading your post. I think we all define success in very different ways, but it’s the way we personally define it that drives us and motivates us toward achieving that success.

      Reply
  25. Great post Matt! Really deep stuff.

    It’s great to see that other people way out there on the other side of the world are also pondering these questions and that we can have this exchange though miles apart – fantastic!

    A mentor shared with me that there’s no work/life balance; there’s just life and in order to go through life with purpose we need to be the truest version of ourselves at work, at play, and with our loved ones.

    I’d agree 100% that I would choose family over work anyday; however what has been a wake up call for me was a coaching exercise I’d gone through where we were asked to choose only 2 areas that we could keep and let go of the others from health, social, loved ones, career, finances etc … and time and time again the majority would end up with health and loved ones; yet when you see the amount of time allocated to those two supposed priorities in your life it’s a shocker. I’m as guilty as the next person, I would love to spend more time with my loved ones and build more meaningful relationships, get my health in check and live more consciously – yet, the majority of my time is spent in the rat race, following after ambitions that I want on some level but that deep down I know would not fulfill me on another because what I yearn for isn’t a milestone to be achieved.

    Guess I’m rambling, don’t know if this makes any sense, but this post has really got me reflecting on my own life, what we deem success and how we view it and where I want to be steering off to.

    Cheers,
    Shereen

    Reply
    • I’m glad you jumped into this convo Shereen. Blogging is a great tool to connect people of different views and demographics that normally would never have the opportunity to come together. You don’t know how much it means to have my words spark reflection into your own life and psyche. That is what every single writer, blogger, and communicator strives to do. To have a strong enough connection to get people thinking like we all are here.

      To your point – it’s inevitable that we are going to spend a high percentage of our time ‘on the grind’ but you still have to be able to detach, you have to maintain that balance. One thing that I said to Jun in the first comment I left on his blog was that his work life balance wasn’t a balance at all – it was all work, and that scares me. I don’t ever want my life to get to the point where my work forces me to neglect the people that really matter. Even if my business is successful, I would never be completely happy or personally fulfilled if I knew I was never there for the people that really matter – not my staff, not my customers, but the people I come home to at the end of a long day, the parents who supported me from the very beginning, the friends who have always supported me.

      To me, success has to be a humbling experience – because without the support from the people I love, I would have never been successful in the first place. So, to your point, there has to be a balance – work can take up a lot of your time, but don’t let it consume everything you do. Turn off the phone and laptop and find a way to break away and have some solace for yourself.

      Thanks again for the awesome comment Shereen – I’m looking forward to your entrance into the blogging world!

      Reply
  26. Great post Matt! Really deep stuff.

    It’s great to see that other people way out there on the other side of the world are also pondering these questions and that we can have this exchange though miles apart – fantastic!

    A mentor shared with me that there’s no work/life balance; there’s just life and in order to go through life with purpose we need to be the truest version of ourselves at work, at play, and with our loved ones.

    I’d agree 100% that I would choose family over work anyday; however what has been a wake up call for me was a coaching exercise I’d gone through where we were asked to choose only 2 areas that we could keep and let go of the others from health, social, loved ones, career, finances etc … and time and time again the majority would end up with health and loved ones; yet when you see the amount of time allocated to those two supposed priorities in your life it’s a shocker. I’m as guilty as the next person, I would love to spend more time with my loved ones and build more meaningful relationships, get my health in check and live more consciously – yet, the majority of my time is spent in the rat race, following after ambitions that I want on some level but that deep down I know would not fulfill me on another because what I yearn for isn’t a milestone to be achieved.

    Guess I’m rambling, don’t know if this makes any sense, but this post has really got me reflecting on my own life, what we deem success and how we view it and where I want to be steering off to.

    Cheers,
    Shereen

    Reply
    • I’m glad you jumped into this convo Shereen. Blogging is a great tool to connect people of different views and demographics that normally would never have the opportunity to come together. You don’t know how much it means to have my words spark reflection into your own life and psyche. That is what every single writer, blogger, and communicator strives to do. To have a strong enough connection to get people thinking like we all are here.

      To your point – it’s inevitable that we are going to spend a high percentage of our time ‘on the grind’ but you still have to be able to detach, you have to maintain that balance. One thing that I said to Jun in the first comment I left on his blog was that his work life balance wasn’t a balance at all – it was all work, and that scares me. I don’t ever want my life to get to the point where my work forces me to neglect the people that really matter. Even if my business is successful, I would never be completely happy or personally fulfilled if I knew I was never there for the people that really matter – not my staff, not my customers, but the people I come home to at the end of a long day, the parents who supported me from the very beginning, the friends who have always supported me.

      To me, success has to be a humbling experience – because without the support from the people I love, I would have never been successful in the first place. So, to your point, there has to be a balance – work can take up a lot of your time, but don’t let it consume everything you do. Turn off the phone and laptop and find a way to break away and have some solace for yourself.

      Thanks again for the awesome comment Shereen – I’m looking forward to your entrance into the blogging world!

      Reply
  27. It’s funny how we think about the idea of our legacy while we’re in the process of making it.

    But it’s a very striking and humbling question to ask, isn’t it? Who will be the people who remember us once we’re gone?

    I’ve written about work/life a lot to – for work, and in my personal writing. I think it’s one of those things that doesn’t have easy answers. One of those things we are designed to struggle with.

    I think when we STOP caring about work/life balance, (and we’re still working) something’s wrong. We should always value our life and our choices enough to actively examine them. So keep writing, keep grappling, keep asking.

    It’s in the process of keeping these questions alive that we challenge ourselves to live out the answers.

    Reply
    • Tiffany – thanks for reaching out, getting involved here, and helping to spread the word about this post and my blog. It’s very much appreciated and I’m happy to have you as part of the discussion!

      You make great points here – when the balance is lost between work and life, something is wrong. The two have to be integrated and balanced, but the key word is BALANCE. Carlos makes a great point about geniuses – people who were masters at their craft but lived lives of solitude and loneliness. They may be remembered forever, but is that worth never experiencing love or true happiness? I would rather be cherished and appreciated during my time here than let my work consume me, shut everyone else out, be supremely successful, become legendary in history, yet have nothing to show for it other than an empty legacy.

      We are constantly writing our legacy, write now, with this post, I feel like for one of the first times in my blogging career, I’ve really been able to reach people and have them look within. This started as a post about balancing work and life and look where it’s lead. It’s times like these when I step back and appreciate the impact a few words can have on so many.

      I plan to keep writing my legacy, chapter by chapter, and I don’t plan on packing things in and sending it off for publishing for a long time, I’ll keep writing and keep editing as long as I can.

      Reply
  28. It’s funny how we think about the idea of our legacy while we’re in the process of making it.

    But it’s a very striking and humbling question to ask, isn’t it? Who will be the people who remember us once we’re gone?

    I’ve written about work/life a lot to – for work, and in my personal writing. I think it’s one of those things that doesn’t have easy answers. One of those things we are designed to struggle with.

    I think when we STOP caring about work/life balance, (and we’re still working) something’s wrong. We should always value our life and our choices enough to actively examine them. So keep writing, keep grappling, keep asking.

    It’s in the process of keeping these questions alive that we challenge ourselves to live out the answers.

    Reply
    • Tiffany – thanks for reaching out, getting involved here, and helping to spread the word about this post and my blog. It’s very much appreciated and I’m happy to have you as part of the discussion!

      You make great points here – when the balance is lost between work and life, something is wrong. The two have to be integrated and balanced, but the key word is BALANCE. Carlos makes a great point about geniuses – people who were masters at their craft but lived lives of solitude and loneliness. They may be remembered forever, but is that worth never experiencing love or true happiness? I would rather be cherished and appreciated during my time here than let my work consume me, shut everyone else out, be supremely successful, become legendary in history, yet have nothing to show for it other than an empty legacy.

      We are constantly writing our legacy, write now, with this post, I feel like for one of the first times in my blogging career, I’ve really been able to reach people and have them look within. This started as a post about balancing work and life and look where it’s lead. It’s times like these when I step back and appreciate the impact a few words can have on so many.

      I plan to keep writing my legacy, chapter by chapter, and I don’t plan on packing things in and sending it off for publishing for a long time, I’ll keep writing and keep editing as long as I can.

      Reply
  29. Few people can be remembered forever or even for a few generation, and often times people are not remembered worldwide but in their own niche by people who share similar interests. For me a legacy is less important than making a simple difference in the present. It doesn’t maker if that difference is remembered or if it only helped one person.

    This post also made me think about how we remember people. When loved ones die we mention their accomplishments but those aren’t usually the stories we keep telling. We tell stories about their character and how they interacted with others. These stories develop through relationships with family and friends, which in my mind makes them more important and something I would rather be remembered for even if it’s only for a generation or less.

    Reply
    • Hello Zee! You have a very powerful message here and I am with you 100%. What does being successful mean? How do we define becoming ‘legendary’? It differs from person to person, I understand that – but far too often we get caught up in this idea of fame, it consumes people and drives them. Like you said, I would rather be remembered as the guy who went out of his way to always be there for his Mom, the guy who started a business and made an effort to give back to the community through raising money for charity and contributing time to volunteer work. The guy who made sure he told his wife that he loved her EVERY SINGLE DAY. It sounds so cliché’ – believe me, I know. But in the grand scheme of things, the little moments mean so much more to me than the grand legacy I leave behind. At my funeral, I want people to reminisce and laugh over the stupid things I did, I want people to talk about how open I was with my feelings and emotions – I don’t want people to say ‘That guy was one hell of a successful business man, he worked his ass off and made millions’. Yes, that would be great and I would love to make lots of money, and plan to work my ass off throughout my lifetime, but that kind of success will never define who I am.

      Reply
  30. Few people can be remembered forever or even for a few generation, and often times people are not remembered worldwide but in their own niche by people who share similar interests. For me a legacy is less important than making a simple difference in the present. It doesn’t maker if that difference is remembered or if it only helped one person.

    This post also made me think about how we remember people. When loved ones die we mention their accomplishments but those aren’t usually the stories we keep telling. We tell stories about their character and how they interacted with others. These stories develop through relationships with family and friends, which in my mind makes them more important and something I would rather be remembered for even if it’s only for a generation or less.

    Reply
    • Hello Zee! You have a very powerful message here and I am with you 100%. What does being successful mean? How do we define becoming ‘legendary’? It differs from person to person, I understand that – but far too often we get caught up in this idea of fame, it consumes people and drives them. Like you said, I would rather be remembered as the guy who went out of his way to always be there for his Mom, the guy who started a business and made an effort to give back to the community through raising money for charity and contributing time to volunteer work. The guy who made sure he told his wife that he loved her EVERY SINGLE DAY. It sounds so cliché’ – believe me, I know. But in the grand scheme of things, the little moments mean so much more to me than the grand legacy I leave behind. At my funeral, I want people to reminisce and laugh over the stupid things I did, I want people to talk about how open I was with my feelings and emotions – I don’t want people to say ‘That guy was one hell of a successful business man, he worked his ass off and made millions’. Yes, that would be great and I would love to make lots of money, and plan to work my ass off throughout my lifetime, but that kind of success will never define who I am.

      Reply
  31. Great post, Matt. I really enjoyed reading this. For me, I’m not sure that my motivation comes from how I will be remembered when I’m dead, but rather how I’ll be known today.

    Reply
    • Simply put and well said Ben. I feel the same way – living life for people to remember you as great once your dead is no way to live. I’d rather live for the now, I want people (namely family and friends) to think of me as great while I’m still around to know about.

      Reply
  32. Great post, Matt. I really enjoyed reading this. For me, I’m not sure that my motivation comes from how I will be remembered when I’m dead, but rather how I’ll be known today.

    Reply
    • Simply put and well said Ben. I feel the same way – living life for people to remember you as great once your dead is no way to live. I’d rather live for the now, I want people (namely family and friends) to think of me as great while I’m still around to know about.

      Reply
  33. Matt, another fantastically insightful post! I’ve written a lot about work/life balance as well, and I think it’s something that we figure out with time. At different stages in our lives, we’re going to have different priorities, so the degree of balance we desire might change. As for being remembered, I think that every once in a while, we need to take a look back at our lives so far and really think about where to go from there. I just wrote about whether success and happiness go hand in hand. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. If you’re successful and you’ve made a name for yourself, but you’re totally unhappy, is it worth it?

    Personally, I’m not so focused on being remembered as making a difference and accomplishing my goals. Even touching the lives of a small group of people can make a huge difference. I want to be able to look back and be proud of how I led my life. If I’m famous, great, but it’s more important that I achieved what I set out to do, made memories with my friends and family, and lived a happy life.

    Reply
    • Sam, thanks so much for the compliment! We’ve all talked this topic of work/life balance to death haven’t we? Yet we keep finding ways to bring it into our blog repertoire again and again.

      Success and happiness don’t necessarily go together. I’ll refer you up to Carlos’s point on geniuses. Mozart, Picasso – those guys were insanely good at what the did, but they weren’t the happiest of sorts, Picasso cut his frickin’ ear off! We’ll talk about them forever, but did they leave wonderful, happy lives – probably not, because they shut everyone out and focused on their passions, their work defined them. Some people let their careers define who they are, while I have the mindset that work will always be work, it will come and go, but relationships, family and friends, those are eternal, even after we leave this place.

      You say: ‘Even touching the lives of a small group of people can make a huge difference’ – I can’t agree with that more. If I touched a few lives and inspired a few of you all to look inward and think about your own lives, that’s a small success I want to remember. You can work like a dog and still make time for family, I’m not saying that at all. But the initial point that shocked me into writing this was Jun’s concept of ‘choosing’ work OR family – if you choose work and neglect your own life, what are you living for?

      Reply
  34. Matt, another fantastically insightful post! I’ve written a lot about work/life balance as well, and I think it’s something that we figure out with time. At different stages in our lives, we’re going to have different priorities, so the degree of balance we desire might change. As for being remembered, I think that every once in a while, we need to take a look back at our lives so far and really think about where to go from there. I just wrote about whether success and happiness go hand in hand. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. If you’re successful and you’ve made a name for yourself, but you’re totally unhappy, is it worth it?

    Personally, I’m not so focused on being remembered as making a difference and accomplishing my goals. Even touching the lives of a small group of people can make a huge difference. I want to be able to look back and be proud of how I led my life. If I’m famous, great, but it’s more important that I achieved what I set out to do, made memories with my friends and family, and lived a happy life.

    Reply
    • Sam, thanks so much for the compliment! We’ve all talked this topic of work/life balance to death haven’t we? Yet we keep finding ways to bring it into our blog repertoire again and again.

      Success and happiness don’t necessarily go together. I’ll refer you up to Carlos’s point on geniuses. Mozart, Picasso – those guys were insanely good at what the did, but they weren’t the happiest of sorts, Picasso cut his frickin’ ear off! We’ll talk about them forever, but did they leave wonderful, happy lives – probably not, because they shut everyone out and focused on their passions, their work defined them. Some people let their careers define who they are, while I have the mindset that work will always be work, it will come and go, but relationships, family and friends, those are eternal, even after we leave this place.

      You say: ‘Even touching the lives of a small group of people can make a huge difference’ – I can’t agree with that more. If I touched a few lives and inspired a few of you all to look inward and think about your own lives, that’s a small success I want to remember. You can work like a dog and still make time for family, I’m not saying that at all. But the initial point that shocked me into writing this was Jun’s concept of ‘choosing’ work OR family – if you choose work and neglect your own life, what are you living for?

      Reply
  35. I am actually in the process of writing a post about this as well. How do you know when to cut someone loose who isn’t going to support you, who doesn’t understand your drive?

    This post is amazing, and thank you for writing it.

    Personally, I’m totally okay with picking work. My parents and sister and the people that truly matter will always support me in my endeavors. Why waste time keeping people around that aren’t going to be a positive influence on your life? I guess I can say that I’ll oil work bc in the long run, I thrive better in an environment where there are people that are okay with the sacrifice I make in order to make a difference.

    We are at a rough point now. A point of high critiques and not a lot of understanding. Those that are remembered don’t shy away now, they go forward, guns a-blazing. Ready to make a differnece, no matter the cost.

    If you aren’t living life for yourself, why aren’t you? I want to know why people eat, live and breathe to meetthw expectations of others, not ones they’ve set from themselves.

    PS I wrote this on my iPhone so sorry for any typos. :)

    Reply
  36. I am actually in the process of writing a post about this as well. How do you know when to cut someone loose who isn’t going to support you, who doesn’t understand your drive?

    This post is amazing, and thank you for writing it.

    Personally, I’m totally okay with picking work. My parents and sister and the people that truly matter will always support me in my endeavors. Why waste time keeping people around that aren’t going to be a positive influence on your life? I guess I can say that I’ll oil work bc in the long run, I thrive better in an environment where there are people that are okay with the sacrifice I make in order to make a difference.

    We are at a rough point now. A point of high critiques and not a lot of understanding. Those that are remembered don’t shy away now, they go forward, guns a-blazing. Ready to make a differnece, no matter the cost.

    If you aren’t living life for yourself, why aren’t you? I want to know why people eat, live and breathe to meetthw expectations of others, not ones they’ve set from themselves.

    PS I wrote this on my iPhone so sorry for any typos. :)

    Reply
  37. If you aren’t living life for yourself, why aren’t you? – this speaks volumes Sydney. Too often we (myself included) measure our success on the basis of others. What are other people doing? How can I compete with so-and-so? When in the end, it isn’t about competing, it isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being yourself and showcasing your own unique perspective, your passion for whatever it is your doing, you define yourself, no one else does.

    I talked about this in my podcast – this idea of defining yourself. So many people are saying ‘I hate my job’ or ‘my job sucks’ – this may be true, but many times, people are saying this because they let their work define who they are, when it should be the other way around. Obviously there are some ‘restrictions’ here depending on the work your doing, but there is always room for you to define the role you’re in.

    Now, at this stage in our lives, the balance beam can sway towards work, we can take more risks, be more bold, because we don’t have as many responsibilities to tie us down. I understand that completely – you are being bold by packing everything up and moving to Chicago – your following your passion which is fueled, right now, by advancing your career (correct me if I’m wrong).

    But you still can’t neglect living your yourself, getting away from work and factoring in ‘me’ time. I’m working a nine-to-five and doing this blogging and networking thing like a madman on the side – my balance is shifted toward work right now, but I don’t let it run my life and I now that my hard work now will pay off over the long run. What compelled me to write this post was Jun’s ‘either or’ mentality, which I just can’t relate with. You have to have BOTH in your life to remain sane – if you throw away the people in your life that matter now, you’ll regret it later.

    Reply
  38. If you aren’t living life for yourself, why aren’t you? – this speaks volumes Sydney. Too often we (myself included) measure our success on the basis of others. What are other people doing? How can I compete with so-and-so? When in the end, it isn’t about competing, it isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being yourself and showcasing your own unique perspective, your passion for whatever it is your doing, you define yourself, no one else does.

    I talked about this in my podcast – this idea of defining yourself. So many people are saying ‘I hate my job’ or ‘my job sucks’ – this may be true, but many times, people are saying this because they let their work define who they are, when it should be the other way around. Obviously there are some ‘restrictions’ here depending on the work your doing, but there is always room for you to define the role you’re in.

    Now, at this stage in our lives, the balance beam can sway towards work, we can take more risks, be more bold, because we don’t have as many responsibilities to tie us down. I understand that completely – you are being bold by packing everything up and moving to Chicago – your following your passion which is fueled, right now, by advancing your career (correct me if I’m wrong).

    But you still can’t neglect living your yourself, getting away from work and factoring in ‘me’ time. I’m working a nine-to-five and doing this blogging and networking thing like a madman on the side – my balance is shifted toward work right now, but I don’t let it run my life and I now that my hard work now will pay off over the long run. What compelled me to write this post was Jun’s ‘either or’ mentality, which I just can’t relate with. You have to have BOTH in your life to remain sane – if you throw away the people in your life that matter now, you’ll regret it later.

    Reply
  39. @sydney even though I would pick family I agree with you point about picking only those people that matter. My parents, sister, and husband come first and a few close friends, but of course these are the people that understand when I have to ignore them for work, they are supportive and they cook for me :)

    Reply
  40. @sydney even though I would pick family I agree with you point about picking only those people that matter. My parents, sister, and husband come first and a few close friends, but of course these are the people that understand when I have to ignore them for work, they are supportive and they cook for me :)

    Reply
  41. Matt, you’ve brought up thoughts and ideas that we all think about and ponder. So for that, thank you for opening up the conversation.

    I consider myself a really hard worker. I guess some might even say ‘workaholic’ (uh oh) because I completed 5 internships in college, worked two jobs, graduated at the top of my class and was active on campus. However, even at my age now, I realize that all those pieces of experience were relevant and got me here today, but if it weren’t for the passion, the people and the friendships, that all the “work” would mean very little. I constantly struggle with finding balance but I now know, that balance is what I strive for. If it’s a choice between a good friend that needs me and staying at the office later, I will always choose the friend. Jobs come and go. I’m not saying, forget about your work but life happens and work is just part of it. I also believe that you can still be successful and focus on your personal life. I’m not saying it won’t be hard, but if it’s important enough, it can be done.

    Prioritizing is important and I think the phrase, “To Each Their Own,” is highly relevant here. Figuring out what you need to drive happiness, your legacy and the most important pieces of your life is huge. Thanks for sharing, Matt and I’m loving reading every comment.

    Reply
    • Grace, thanks so much for coming by – this topic has inspired some amazing discussion, I love all the directions it’s took, from faith to gender quality, we’ve really opened up Pandora’s box here. It really does come down to a personal decision, but I think that personal decision should never leave out the ‘life’ part of the balance. It’s easy to be consumed by work, it’s easy to shrug family and friends off, especially if it means getting ahead and climbing the ladder with your work, but in the grand scheme of things, you have to prioritize and place value on the things that will always be there – balance is key, but life should always come before work.

      Reply
  42. Matt, you’ve brought up thoughts and ideas that we all think about and ponder. So for that, thank you for opening up the conversation.

    I consider myself a really hard worker. I guess some might even say ‘workaholic’ (uh oh) because I completed 5 internships in college, worked two jobs, graduated at the top of my class and was active on campus. However, even at my age now, I realize that all those pieces of experience were relevant and got me here today, but if it weren’t for the passion, the people and the friendships, that all the “work” would mean very little. I constantly struggle with finding balance but I now know, that balance is what I strive for. If it’s a choice between a good friend that needs me and staying at the office later, I will always choose the friend. Jobs come and go. I’m not saying, forget about your work but life happens and work is just part of it. I also believe that you can still be successful and focus on your personal life. I’m not saying it won’t be hard, but if it’s important enough, it can be done.

    Prioritizing is important and I think the phrase, “To Each Their Own,” is highly relevant here. Figuring out what you need to drive happiness, your legacy and the most important pieces of your life is huge. Thanks for sharing, Matt and I’m loving reading every comment.

    Reply
    • Grace, thanks so much for coming by – this topic has inspired some amazing discussion, I love all the directions it’s took, from faith to gender quality, we’ve really opened up Pandora’s box here. It really does come down to a personal decision, but I think that personal decision should never leave out the ‘life’ part of the balance. It’s easy to be consumed by work, it’s easy to shrug family and friends off, especially if it means getting ahead and climbing the ladder with your work, but in the grand scheme of things, you have to prioritize and place value on the things that will always be there – balance is key, but life should always come before work.

      Reply
  43. I think you’re on to something here. If given the choice, I’d prefer to be remembered as someone who have a passion and drive then whatever product I did with it. But for me, I am much more interested in being remembered by those that care about me then having a real “legacy”. It was cemented for me when I was 20 years old and I broke my hip. While I was a pretty popular guy, had a lot of friends, and was well respected at my job, my mom was the one who wiped my ass (literally) because I couldn’t.

    Food for thought: In the end, aren’t most legacies decided not by you, but by how other interpret what you’ve done?

    Reply
    • Well said Norcross (I dig you blog by the way – thanks for coming by my neck of the woods). Sometimes it takes an extreme circumstance (as with your example of breaking your hip) to make us realize what and who are really important in our lives. I know there are people who would always put me before work, so why would I not do the same for them?

      Legacies are up for interpretation, and I firmly believe that they are created and interpreted by the self, not shaped by others.

      Reply
  44. I think you’re on to something here. If given the choice, I’d prefer to be remembered as someone who have a passion and drive then whatever product I did with it. But for me, I am much more interested in being remembered by those that care about me then having a real “legacy”. It was cemented for me when I was 20 years old and I broke my hip. While I was a pretty popular guy, had a lot of friends, and was well respected at my job, my mom was the one who wiped my ass (literally) because I couldn’t.

    Food for thought: In the end, aren’t most legacies decided not by you, but by how other interpret what you’ve done?

    Reply
    • Well said Norcross (I dig you blog by the way – thanks for coming by my neck of the woods). Sometimes it takes an extreme circumstance (as with your example of breaking your hip) to make us realize what and who are really important in our lives. I know there are people who would always put me before work, so why would I not do the same for them?

      Legacies are up for interpretation, and I firmly believe that they are created and interpreted by the self, not shaped by others.

      Reply
  45. I just clicked over from a comment you left on Brian Linton’s website. Your blog has to be one of my best finds recently.

    I share similar sentiments towards Work + Life and its balance. I too, also shared concerns with Jun’s belief that you must give up so much to chase after your dream. I believe if you have to stop living to achieve your dream, then you won’t be happy even when you achieve it.

    If you spend your whole life chasing happiness, you’ve wasted it. If you spend your whole life happy, you’re living.

    Reply
    • Mark – thanks so much for coming by and for the compliment. I hope you’ll keep LWP bookmarked! I totally dig the ‘Take on Life’ theme of you website – good stuff man. And I love your quote, ‘if you spend your whole life chasing happiness, you’ve wasted it. If you spend your whole life happy, you’re living.’ – words to live by.

      Reply
  46. I just clicked over from a comment you left on Brian Linton’s website. Your blog has to be one of my best finds recently.

    I share similar sentiments towards Work + Life and its balance. I too, also shared concerns with Jun’s belief that you must give up so much to chase after your dream. I believe if you have to stop living to achieve your dream, then you won’t be happy even when you achieve it.

    If you spend your whole life chasing happiness, you’ve wasted it. If you spend your whole life happy, you’re living.

    Reply
    • Mark – thanks so much for coming by and for the compliment. I hope you’ll keep LWP bookmarked! I totally dig the ‘Take on Life’ theme of you website – good stuff man. And I love your quote, ‘if you spend your whole life chasing happiness, you’ve wasted it. If you spend your whole life happy, you’re living.’ – words to live by.

      Reply
  47. Ahhh perfect! Anytime I can get someone into a little soul searching I feel very satisfied :-)

    I agree on the work issue! There is definitely a fine line. Where we really evolve in ourselves though is when we’re in that place of ‘work,’ that really feels like WORK, but are able to be in a state of presence and happiness regardless of the situation. It’s the concept of BE-DO-HAVE. It doesn’t mean you have to settle for that job that feels like work and maintain your entire life being a part of it…but it does mean that you let go of the resistance to what your ‘ego,’ does not enjoy. Ultimately what we perceive as joyful or nonjoyful is simply our ‘ego,’ creating it that way. Our higher self sees all things as one…

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying ego is bad. In the community in which personal growth has transitioned and tied into spirituality, there are people who have developed this perception that the ego is something that is bad…but it’s not! We live in a world, a realm where ego plays a role. That’s fine! When you’re able to move to a higher state though and not BE that ego, but be the entity that’s behind the ego in observance, that’s where true growth occurs.

    You said: “If I’m in a situation that prohibits me from doing that, I’ll get myself out of it – I’ll take a step backwards in my career if it means I can be more personally fulfilled – it’s just the value I’ve placed on the way I want to lead my life.” — Awesome! You and I are actually in a TON of alignment. I did the same thing myself in that the place of employment I was at for a year and a half, just a few months ago, ultimately wasn’t serving me. I grew a LOT there. I learned a LOT! And in fact, when things went sour in that place (it lost it’s integrity and the leaders were not practicing what they preached), I learned to practice that sense of ‘being,’ regardless of circumstance. Even though a part of me wanted to resist the place, I developed an incredible sense of ‘awareness’ to those feelings and thoughts that would go through my body, that I knew ultimately isn’t my higher self.

    When you’re able to step aside and observe those thoughts and feelings…wow, you really start to grow and launch.

    Side note: Read my two posts on “Sacrificing short term profit for long term wealth…” I keep hearing in my head ‘you’ve gotta share that with Cody,’ — Something about it I know you’re going to resonate with and will get something out of it. There’s to much from it to say in this post though….

    On balance: here’s an interesting concept that took me a while to grasp. Balance does not necessarily mean equal :-) Meditate on that for a bit.

    You: “Thanks so much for coming by and sharing all of your thoughts. I hope you’ll be a regular around here in the future!” — Absolutely man. I like what you do and will hope to interact with you on my blog as well. We can learn a lot from each other. What’s great about personal blogs is a. You’re learning and growing yourself by writing your own posts…but then, when you’re responding to others? You’re growing even more and you’re going inward and looking for insights again.

    I love the concept of the path to mastery I learned from one of my mentors, Alex Mandossian…he encourages that you first study something…than you learn…than you teach…and eventually, mastery finds you! Study –> Learn –> Teach <– Mastery. That’s what we are doing by being engaged on each others blogs…learning from each other, and then sharing our own insights as well.

    Best wishes brotha!

    –Sean Patrick Simpson
    **The Mindset Apprentice**

    Reply
    • Great thoughts again Sean. I am a firm believer that everything is connected, and that ‘all things are one’. My ultimate goal (and I’m sure many of the people here will agree) is to have a solid integration of work and life. Going to work and loving what you do is something I will be at, I tell myself that every day when I struggle in finding meaning in something – everything has meaning and will lead to a more ‘complete’ life for yours truly.

      Many say that you can never be in ‘love’ with work because in the end, it’s still work. I disagree – I want my work to be something that I love doing every single day. In the meantime, while I build to that point, I’ll keep learning, focusing, and growing. Thanks for adding so much to this discussion!

      Reply
  48. Ahhh perfect! Anytime I can get someone into a little soul searching I feel very satisfied :-)

    I agree on the work issue! There is definitely a fine line. Where we really evolve in ourselves though is when we’re in that place of ‘work,’ that really feels like WORK, but are able to be in a state of presence and happiness regardless of the situation. It’s the concept of BE-DO-HAVE. It doesn’t mean you have to settle for that job that feels like work and maintain your entire life being a part of it…but it does mean that you let go of the resistance to what your ‘ego,’ does not enjoy. Ultimately what we perceive as joyful or nonjoyful is simply our ‘ego,’ creating it that way. Our higher self sees all things as one…

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying ego is bad. In the community in which personal growth has transitioned and tied into spirituality, there are people who have developed this perception that the ego is something that is bad…but it’s not! We live in a world, a realm where ego plays a role. That’s fine! When you’re able to move to a higher state though and not BE that ego, but be the entity that’s behind the ego in observance, that’s where true growth occurs.

    You said: “If I’m in a situation that prohibits me from doing that, I’ll get myself out of it – I’ll take a step backwards in my career if it means I can be more personally fulfilled – it’s just the value I’ve placed on the way I want to lead my life.” — Awesome! You and I are actually in a TON of alignment. I did the same thing myself in that the place of employment I was at for a year and a half, just a few months ago, ultimately wasn’t serving me. I grew a LOT there. I learned a LOT! And in fact, when things went sour in that place (it lost it’s integrity and the leaders were not practicing what they preached), I learned to practice that sense of ‘being,’ regardless of circumstance. Even though a part of me wanted to resist the place, I developed an incredible sense of ‘awareness’ to those feelings and thoughts that would go through my body, that I knew ultimately isn’t my higher self.

    When you’re able to step aside and observe those thoughts and feelings…wow, you really start to grow and launch.

    Side note: Read my two posts on “Sacrificing short term profit for long term wealth…” I keep hearing in my head ‘you’ve gotta share that with Cody,’ — Something about it I know you’re going to resonate with and will get something out of it. There’s to much from it to say in this post though….

    On balance: here’s an interesting concept that took me a while to grasp. Balance does not necessarily mean equal :-) Meditate on that for a bit.

    You: “Thanks so much for coming by and sharing all of your thoughts. I hope you’ll be a regular around here in the future!” — Absolutely man. I like what you do and will hope to interact with you on my blog as well. We can learn a lot from each other. What’s great about personal blogs is a. You’re learning and growing yourself by writing your own posts…but then, when you’re responding to others? You’re growing even more and you’re going inward and looking for insights again.

    I love the concept of the path to mastery I learned from one of my mentors, Alex Mandossian…he encourages that you first study something…than you learn…than you teach…and eventually, mastery finds you! Study –> Learn –> Teach <– Mastery. That’s what we are doing by being engaged on each others blogs…learning from each other, and then sharing our own insights as well.

    Best wishes brotha!

    –Sean Patrick Simpson
    **The Mindset Apprentice**

    Reply
    • Great thoughts again Sean. I am a firm believer that everything is connected, and that ‘all things are one’. My ultimate goal (and I’m sure many of the people here will agree) is to have a solid integration of work and life. Going to work and loving what you do is something I will be at, I tell myself that every day when I struggle in finding meaning in something – everything has meaning and will lead to a more ‘complete’ life for yours truly.

      Many say that you can never be in ‘love’ with work because in the end, it’s still work. I disagree – I want my work to be something that I love doing every single day. In the meantime, while I build to that point, I’ll keep learning, focusing, and growing. Thanks for adding so much to this discussion!

      Reply
  49. Wow, today is my day of quotes off the back of my picture frame! I just respoded on “Wanting to Fear Regret, Not Failure” at Brazen Careerist with another one. Long story short, I have a frame on my desk at work with quotes on the back of it that help define my career, and life really. I never want to be one of those people that others are like “When she was at work she was like this but when she was home/around friends/etc she was a totally different person.” The frame quotes, which only I can see from my vantage point, remind me daily of the person I want to be, a concept sometimes lost in the world of Corporate America.

    Anyways, the quote is incorrectly attributed to Emerson frequently, so I don’t know who actually wrote it, but it is “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, THIS is to have succeeded.” It’s gotten me through a lot with life, and I think it helps me to leave my legacy.

    My question to you would be do you NEED to have one great White Whale to be remembered or can you have thousands or millions of easier breaths? Is Melville’s epic masterpiece any greater recognized than Shakespeare’s small plays or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales?

    Which leaves the greater legacy…to be remembered for one great thing by people who don’t even know you or to be cherished for many things by people who’s lives you touched?

    Reply
  50. Wow, today is my day of quotes off the back of my picture frame! I just respoded on “Wanting to Fear Regret, Not Failure” at Brazen Careerist with another one. Long story short, I have a frame on my desk at work with quotes on the back of it that help define my career, and life really. I never want to be one of those people that others are like “When she was at work she was like this but when she was home/around friends/etc she was a totally different person.” The frame quotes, which only I can see from my vantage point, remind me daily of the person I want to be, a concept sometimes lost in the world of Corporate America.

    Anyways, the quote is incorrectly attributed to Emerson frequently, so I don’t know who actually wrote it, but it is “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, THIS is to have succeeded.” It’s gotten me through a lot with life, and I think it helps me to leave my legacy.

    My question to you would be do you NEED to have one great White Whale to be remembered or can you have thousands or millions of easier breaths? Is Melville’s epic masterpiece any greater recognized than Shakespeare’s small plays or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales?

    Which leaves the greater legacy…to be remembered for one great thing by people who don’t even know you or to be cherished for many things by people who’s lives you touched?

    Reply
  51. Great post Matt. Well written and thought provoking.

    I’ve been thinking about the same thoughts you mentioned in this post but in a slightly different light. I’m about to graduate from college, and trying to job hunt, build up my personal brand, network, the list goes on and on. But at the same time, I want to spend as much time as possible with my college friends before school is over and we all go our separate ways. Sure, we’ll stay in contact and see each other after, but this is last time we’ll all be here together.

    If I can write and create things people will remember, and be an important person in my friend’s and family’s life, that will be my legacy. My father once told me “The most intelligent man is a man that knows how to make himself happy.” Success, in my eyes, is measured by happiness and fulfillment.

    On the flip side, many career service advisers and possible employers are impressed with my resume, portfolio, website, etc. I take pride in building myself up as a young graduating professional, and wouldn’t feel right now spending plenty of time working on these things for myself.

    So where is the balance? Where can I find the happy medium between getting in my last licks of college while still pursuing my work and career? My solution so far has been to first weed out the crap. I remember reading an article by Ju Loazya saying cut down on TV time and other things that can keep you from being productive. I don’t really watch TV anymore, and spending free time focusing on my work is a lot more fulfilling. Another thing that helps me find the “White Whale of balance” is getting my friends involved with stuff I’m working on. I’ve encouraged some of my friends (haha, some would say forced) to get on twitter, make blogs, and take a look at their own personal brand.

    Reply
    • Preston, thanks so much for lending your insightful thoughts into this discussion. I agree that the balance is tough – especially when you living in the stage you are at, trying to wrap up college, graduate, spend time with friends before you all part ways, further your career, build your personal brand, network, look for jobs in an extremely difficult market – it can be extremely overwhelming – but you seem like you have things pretty well figured out and are doing all you can to incorporate and integrate your passions into one.

      It’s been said time and time again, but the key really is balance. And with that, PRIORITIZATION. Once you can place things in order of importance (sometimes easier said than done) you can really divide your time up more efficiently.

      It’s difficult to balance short term and long term. Right now, you want to spend time with friends before school ends in a couple months, but at the same time, you know you have to be aggressive looking for work for your long term future.

      Keep your chin up – maintain the balancing act. Focus on building your personal brand and furthering your career, but don’t neglect or forget your friends and family, because in the grand scheme of things, those are the things in your life that will REALLY matter. Cheers!

      Reply
  52. Great post Matt. Well written and thought provoking.

    I’ve been thinking about the same thoughts you mentioned in this post but in a slightly different light. I’m about to graduate from college, and trying to job hunt, build up my personal brand, network, the list goes on and on. But at the same time, I want to spend as much time as possible with my college friends before school is over and we all go our separate ways. Sure, we’ll stay in contact and see each other after, but this is last time we’ll all be here together.

    If I can write and create things people will remember, and be an important person in my friend’s and family’s life, that will be my legacy. My father once told me “The most intelligent man is a man that knows how to make himself happy.” Success, in my eyes, is measured by happiness and fulfillment.

    On the flip side, many career service advisers and possible employers are impressed with my resume, portfolio, website, etc. I take pride in building myself up as a young graduating professional, and wouldn’t feel right now spending plenty of time working on these things for myself.

    So where is the balance? Where can I find the happy medium between getting in my last licks of college while still pursuing my work and career? My solution so far has been to first weed out the crap. I remember reading an article by Ju Loazya saying cut down on TV time and other things that can keep you from being productive. I don’t really watch TV anymore, and spending free time focusing on my work is a lot more fulfilling. Another thing that helps me find the “White Whale of balance” is getting my friends involved with stuff I’m working on. I’ve encouraged some of my friends (haha, some would say forced) to get on twitter, make blogs, and take a look at their own personal brand.

    Reply
    • Preston, thanks so much for lending your insightful thoughts into this discussion. I agree that the balance is tough – especially when you living in the stage you are at, trying to wrap up college, graduate, spend time with friends before you all part ways, further your career, build your personal brand, network, look for jobs in an extremely difficult market – it can be extremely overwhelming – but you seem like you have things pretty well figured out and are doing all you can to incorporate and integrate your passions into one.

      It’s been said time and time again, but the key really is balance. And with that, PRIORITIZATION. Once you can place things in order of importance (sometimes easier said than done) you can really divide your time up more efficiently.

      It’s difficult to balance short term and long term. Right now, you want to spend time with friends before school ends in a couple months, but at the same time, you know you have to be aggressive looking for work for your long term future.

      Keep your chin up – maintain the balancing act. Focus on building your personal brand and furthering your career, but don’t neglect or forget your friends and family, because in the grand scheme of things, those are the things in your life that will REALLY matter. Cheers!

      Reply
  53. Thanks Matt, another very good read.
    This whole work/life balancing act really interests me. Well, basically because I don’t really subscribe to the work-life debate. I just don’t see them as two mutually exclusive parts that one can weigh up against each other. Work is just another part of life. Yes, it will probably be for most of us what we spend a huge chunk of our life’s time doing.. which is why I figure I might as well do something that I love. I’m haunted by that quote “it is a small part of life we really live” – I want to make that part as big as possible, and doing something I really enjoy will hopefully help achieve this. So anyway, I don’t think that it should be seen as such a clear division between work and life, I think that they should be thought of as integrated, and both able to enrich us. Work doesn’t have to be the draining, ‘non-living’, no fun part of our lives, it is also able to fulfill and enliven us.

    But ‘work vs family’, well that I can better understand because in most cases when you are working you are not with your family and vice versa. This is a tricky one, but I still don’t like the idea of choosing one over the other, you have to have both. I do believe (maybe idealistically so) that you can have it all; that you can be a good friend, a good parent, as well as motivated and successful in whatever work you do. I think if work makes a person happy, fulfilled, excited by life, and challenged, then work can only enhance this person’s relationships. If work gives you meaning and enjoyment, then you will just be a nicer, happier person to be around and probably a better friend and parent.

    Reply
    • Claire – I 100% agree with you here – I think that something we are seeing in this day and age, especially amongst our generation, is the concept of ‘Work/Life integration’ – we want our 9 to 5 to be much more than that – we want it to have meaning, purpose, and we have a need for our work to be personally, as well as professionally fulfilling. Most of the time, this is easier said than done. But I think it is the ultimate goal (at least for me) to continue working TOWARD that integration. I’m not there yet, so I currently am in the middle of the balancing act – which is fine in it’s own right, I’m able to separate work and life for now while I continue pursuing passions and dreams – and I have the understanding that I will get there eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later).

      And as for work v. family – there is no VERSUS here in my mind – and this is the point that initially inspired me to write this post. I think, in this case, you HAVE to have balance. If you continually neglect your family in favor of your career – you are going to deeply regret it somewhere down the line. I understand that difficult decisions will be made along the way, and you can’t always choose personal life over work – but they key, again, is balance. Making time for both, integrating the two into the grand scheme of things will pay dividends over the long haul.

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts on this Claire!

      Reply
  54. Thanks Matt, another very good read.
    This whole work/life balancing act really interests me. Well, basically because I don’t really subscribe to the work-life debate. I just don’t see them as two mutually exclusive parts that one can weigh up against each other. Work is just another part of life. Yes, it will probably be for most of us what we spend a huge chunk of our life’s time doing.. which is why I figure I might as well do something that I love. I’m haunted by that quote “it is a small part of life we really live” – I want to make that part as big as possible, and doing something I really enjoy will hopefully help achieve this. So anyway, I don’t think that it should be seen as such a clear division between work and life, I think that they should be thought of as integrated, and both able to enrich us. Work doesn’t have to be the draining, ‘non-living’, no fun part of our lives, it is also able to fulfill and enliven us.

    But ‘work vs family’, well that I can better understand because in most cases when you are working you are not with your family and vice versa. This is a tricky one, but I still don’t like the idea of choosing one over the other, you have to have both. I do believe (maybe idealistically so) that you can have it all; that you can be a good friend, a good parent, as well as motivated and successful in whatever work you do. I think if work makes a person happy, fulfilled, excited by life, and challenged, then work can only enhance this person’s relationships. If work gives you meaning and enjoyment, then you will just be a nicer, happier person to be around and probably a better friend and parent.

    Reply
    • Claire – I 100% agree with you here – I think that something we are seeing in this day and age, especially amongst our generation, is the concept of ‘Work/Life integration’ – we want our 9 to 5 to be much more than that – we want it to have meaning, purpose, and we have a need for our work to be personally, as well as professionally fulfilling. Most of the time, this is easier said than done. But I think it is the ultimate goal (at least for me) to continue working TOWARD that integration. I’m not there yet, so I currently am in the middle of the balancing act – which is fine in it’s own right, I’m able to separate work and life for now while I continue pursuing passions and dreams – and I have the understanding that I will get there eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later).

      And as for work v. family – there is no VERSUS here in my mind – and this is the point that initially inspired me to write this post. I think, in this case, you HAVE to have balance. If you continually neglect your family in favor of your career – you are going to deeply regret it somewhere down the line. I understand that difficult decisions will be made along the way, and you can’t always choose personal life over work – but they key, again, is balance. Making time for both, integrating the two into the grand scheme of things will pay dividends over the long haul.

      Thanks so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts on this Claire!

      Reply
  55. Matt

    Great post and conversations here.

    I don’t believe in the concept of work/life balance. Our priorities change with life. When you’re building a business you will need to give more time there. When you have a young child, the first few years will require a lot of your attention. Ultimately its about doing what that day demands, with all your heart. In sum, a balanced may emerge.

    Another concept that has created a lot of angst is this linear expectation of growth – getting on to ‘BIGGER’ things. Life sometimes has other ideas, and creates detours; dives into places you didn’t know about, slows down when you want to run and hurtles ahead when you want to rest. Accepting this isn’t easy. But there’s a reason why so many inventions and discoveries were made when they were least expected i.e. fortune favours the prepared mind and an OPEN heart.

    Curiosity is the most over-looked gift of life — thats how we find white whales!

    Legacy is another subject thats got muddled between physical creation / intellectual creation. The list of heroes you may put together will be different from mine, and thats quite alright. The universe is thankfully large-hearted enough for all kinds of heroes to shine.

    So then it comes down to finding and living our own personal legend. Whether it means writing a great book, inventing a car than runs on water or espousing a philosophy that changes the lives of millions – what’s important is to give back, make a difference and live a life that makes us, our families and friends proud of. That’s my understanding of legacy and immortality!

    Cheers
    Anita Lobo

    Reply
    • Very, very well said Anita. Each of us, individually, are writing our own legacies as we speak. The beauty of life is that greatness and success are in the eye of the beholder. Success shouldn’t be (although it often is) determined by what other people think – but in the end, it comes down to you, what you’ve done with your life, the goals you’ve laid out for yourself and the ‘white whales’ you’ve conquered. Love your insight here – thanks for adding to this discussion. This post, by far, is one that I consider my greatest thus far at Life Without Pants, if for nothing else but for the amazing conversation and soul-searching it inspired.

      Reply
  56. Matt

    Great post and conversations here.

    I don’t believe in the concept of work/life balance. Our priorities change with life. When you’re building a business you will need to give more time there. When you have a young child, the first few years will require a lot of your attention. Ultimately its about doing what that day demands, with all your heart. In sum, a balanced may emerge.

    Another concept that has created a lot of angst is this linear expectation of growth – getting on to ‘BIGGER’ things. Life sometimes has other ideas, and creates detours; dives into places you didn’t know about, slows down when you want to run and hurtles ahead when you want to rest. Accepting this isn’t easy. But there’s a reason why so many inventions and discoveries were made when they were least expected i.e. fortune favours the prepared mind and an OPEN heart.

    Curiosity is the most over-looked gift of life — thats how we find white whales!

    Legacy is another subject thats got muddled between physical creation / intellectual creation. The list of heroes you may put together will be different from mine, and thats quite alright. The universe is thankfully large-hearted enough for all kinds of heroes to shine.

    So then it comes down to finding and living our own personal legend. Whether it means writing a great book, inventing a car than runs on water or espousing a philosophy that changes the lives of millions – what’s important is to give back, make a difference and live a life that makes us, our families and friends proud of. That’s my understanding of legacy and immortality!

    Cheers
    Anita Lobo

    Reply
    • Very, very well said Anita. Each of us, individually, are writing our own legacies as we speak. The beauty of life is that greatness and success are in the eye of the beholder. Success shouldn’t be (although it often is) determined by what other people think – but in the end, it comes down to you, what you’ve done with your life, the goals you’ve laid out for yourself and the ‘white whales’ you’ve conquered. Love your insight here – thanks for adding to this discussion. This post, by far, is one that I consider my greatest thus far at Life Without Pants, if for nothing else but for the amazing conversation and soul-searching it inspired.

      Reply
  57. Life and work both are important for me. Without work life can not be survive and without life any think con not be imagine.

    Reply
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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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