This post from the folks at 37Signals is the most powerful and positive piece of startup advice I’ve seen in the year I’ve been working on Genlighten. I read it in breathless disbelief. Disbelief that David could so clearly grasp both the quiet counsel that got me started on this path and the loud fantasy that often tries to drown out that counsel.
“The classic argument for enduring 80 to 100 hour work weeks for years on end — sacrificing relationships, hobbies, and anything else that doesn’t progress the mission — is that at the end of the rainbow lies early retirement. The reward for risking it all on a crazy startup idea. This wonderful place is filled with anything you want it to be. Never a dull moment again, all the flexibility and freedom in the world.
Why does the idea of work have to be so bad that you want to sacrifice year’s worth of prime living to get away from it forever? The answer is that it doesn’t. Finding something you to love to work on seems to be a much more fruitful pursuit than trying to get away from the notion of work altogether.
It’s much easier too! The likelihood that you’ll strike gold after year’s of death-march living is still pretty low. The chance of finding something you love doing? So much more achievable. Millions of dollars not required.
If you come to the realization that work in itself isn’t evil, you can stop living your life as a waterfall-planned software project too. No need to divide your timeline on earth into the false dichotomies of Sucky Work Era and Blissful Retirement Era. Instead, you can just fill your life with a balanced mix of activities that you can sustain for decades.”
Thanks David. I needed that.