I had two conversations that inspired me to make this blog post. Last night I had a lengthy conversation about some career opportunities that I may or may not have down the line in addition to various topics that always creep into our late-night conversations, and today I had a short talk with another close friend of mine that I don’t see all that often. What came up in both conversations is the fact that I like to work hard on difficult to solve problems, mostly related to baseball. The first person shares this love for hard work with me, though in a different realm – so we commiserate easily about that. The second person does not, however – he’s incredibly frustrated at his job where he busts his ass and has little energy afterwards to pursue opportunities that he likes to do.
My second friend told me today that he’s very proud of me. Knowing that he probably wasn’t referring to my newborn son, I asked him: “Proud of what?” He said: “You pursue your dreams, and this opportunity that you’re involved with now seems like a dream opportunity finally come to life due to all your hard work!”
I reflected for a bit, and it made sense why he was burnt out from hard work at his day job and frustrated with some aspects of his life. (He is generally a very positive and happy person, lest I make it sound like he’s always negative.) I told him: “Achieving the goals and ends I have for myself are the least important part of my life. I take great pleasure in the hard work I do to pursue these goals that I have – I do not expect to be content when I reach these mid-term goals that I have for myself.” He responded that he wished he had energy to pursue some of the goals he had but that his day job sucked much of the life out of him, and I told him: “Your day job is what it is. Leave it there. My day job often frustrates me due to its complexity, but at the end of the day, we are both employed, earning a pretty good salary, and if this is what we fall back on, then that’s pretty good. Cherish the fact that you will have the opportunity to work hard on projects you love. Whether or not they bear fruit is meaningless.”
I give my Introduction to Political Science professor (in junior college) a lot of credit for enlightening me to process-oriented concepts; a life philosophy that was ironed out by studying sabermetrics and the Moneyball revolution.
My first friend put it very succinctly: “The opportunity to put in hours and hours of hard work on something that has meaning to you is a very rare opportunity in the world.”
When I summed all this up for my second friend, he seemed to understand. I hope he is able to find peace and the time to find the same opportunity that I’ve been given, for it is the greatest gift that I have in my life.