Enjoying The Struggle

The NY Times has a great longish piece on David Letterman today.

This quote got my attention:

Maybe life is the hard way, I don’t know. When the show was great, it was never as enjoyable as the misery of the show being bad. Is that human nature?

Building companies includes a lot of “misery of the show being bad” as David Letterman puts it.

And I really love the idea that you can enjoy that struggle.

Obviously you want the “show” to be great, but his point is that greatness is fleeting and you have to go through a lot of bad shows to get to some good ones and you’d better figure out how to enjoy that struggle, as he and his team did.

Good advice for all of us who hang out in startup land.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Same with blogging

    1. fredwilson


  2. Twain Twain

    Here’s Thomas Hobbes, who published ‘Leviathan’ in the same year Pascal and de Fermat “invented” probability (1654) — which has since become the basis by which we measure the value of any thing, including human life.Aka, the mathematical and economic model of “Let’s assume Man behaves rationally like dice.”Yeah, the irony of this! https://uploads.disquscdn.c…We struggle, we suffer, we seize the moments and then … we succeed.

  3. William Mougayar

    I agree with his son, I think his beard is kind of creepy.

    1. LE

      In this particular context, shows a certain mental condition. To me I read it (once again in context) “I don’t know what my life is about now and I am searching for it”.Say what you will about Trump this to me says everything you need to know about the type of person Letterman is. After having Trump on his show many times throughout the years and recognizing him as a great guest and using him to his advantage, he says this (which was in reaction to his imitation of the crippled reporter):And then I thought, if this was somebody else — if this was a member of your family or a next-door neighbor, a guy at work — you would immediately distance yourself from that person.So this is the world that David lives in. Letterman who regularly made fun of people, places and things on late night TV to his benefit, and used them to get his fame and fortune. Then he takes a guy who was a benefit to him personally (Trump) and he not only shits on him but seems to think that a good practice would be to for the average man to turn his back on ‘a neighbor, a guy at work’ because they made fun of someone. (Issue here isn’t whether Trump deserves to be President or is qualified, it’s simply David of all people deciding that the average guy should turn away someone equally average who made fun of someone in that way).

  4. awaldstein

    Here’s the rub.Startups and building companies is a bitch. And there are very bad days.Anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong.I do love the process and embrace the struggle but for me, i like winning more than all the rest put together.

  5. Chimpwithcans

    Enjoy the process. recognise when you dislike the process/job and move on.

  6. LIAD

    In life you get what you’re prepared to struggle for.When you reframe struggle as a necessary step to achieving your goals it becomes something you can embrace and actively look for.Wouldn’t go as far as him in saying the struggle itself is more enjoyable than the destination.Seems a bit masochistic to me.

    1. awaldstein

      If it wasn’t about the win we would all be Sisyphus.That ain’t how it is.

    2. Jess Bachman

      Persepctive is everything.

      1. LIAD

        For sure. Meaning is subjective.

    3. LE

      Wouldn’t go as far as him in saying the struggle itself is more enjoyable than the destination.By my reading, I don’t think that was what he was saying.He said:When the show was great, it was never as enjoyable as the misery of the show being badSo this is like saying that the suffering was far worse than the high provided by having a good show. In other words the journey was not worth the reward.

  7. pointsnfigures

    When you are going through it, it sucks. It seems there is no out, no hope. This is why it’s key to have a great co-founder (and team) that can pick you up. If you go it alone, it can get really dark, really fast.

    1. Dave Hayes

      Just re-read Ben Horowitz’ “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and that was one of the main themes I took away. Learn to Embrace the Struggle!!!

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      Key word is “great.” If you don’t have great partners — in business and in your personal life, it truly is better to go it alone. If I was still married to my ex-husband, for example, I wouldn’t have accomplished half of what I have. Ditch the people who aren’t great even if you have to go it alone.

      1. Devon Gunter

        There’s a lot of innate wisdom right there in your comment

      2. pointsnfigures

        And to be clear, “great” is 100% subjective. I have the opposite-if I had not married my wife I wouldn’t have made it anywhere.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Oh, I’m sure I would have gone fartherif I had the right partner in life. Just never found the right person.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Don’t quit looking. You will find one where you least expect it.

          2. Susan Rubinsky

            We’ve talked about this before. I don’t really care anymore (maybe this is part of turning 50. I really just don’t give a shit anymore about a lot of things). If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

          3. LE

            If that is what you want than fine. If it’s a defense mechanism (against feeling bad if you don’t achieve the goal) then I guess it’s ok as well. But I would caution in being to rigid on that point of “I don’t care”. It sends a message to anyone who might be interested in you that “you aren’t important to me I can do without you”. Once again I don’t know you personally so this is just general thoughts based on what you are writing in case anyone else is reading. I just hate to see someone come to the conclusion that because they are 50 they will never find someone to spend time with. The fact is there are millions of people out there. You only need one person. It’s good to have that person, especially if you are older. It’s good that we don’t know each other. I’d be beating this into you on a weekly basis.I worked really really really hard to find my 2nd wife where most people would have given up. I left no stone unturned and worked at it every single day (for years with 2 failures). And it worked out better than I would have expected and is especially enjoyable because (ironically with today’s post) of what a struggle it was. I actually found the process fun.

          4. Susan Rubinsky

            I’ve been on hundreds of dates. Literally. Because I used to make it a priority to seek out a partner. Not sure when you last dated, but the dating world is pretty much a nightmare these days, especially for women of a certain age. I have better things to do with my time like accomplish my goals. It’s not negative. It just is.

          5. LE

            Was online dating exclusively (jdate iim), 8 years ago (and before that as well 2 times when it didn’t work, total of 7 years there) but yes the difference is I am a man and you are a woman. The age thing isn’t as big of an issue if you are willing to accept a guy who is older than you are. Call it 10 years, ok? The woman issue is tough I will agree. If you have literally been on hundreds of dates then perhaps your pre-qualification process is not good. For example I never took an “anything is possible” approach. If certain attributes didn’t exist I didn’t waste my time because I didn’t want to get wrapped into something that rationally I knew would never go anywhere. Just words of encouragement. Would help you personally but my wife wouldn’t be happy with that unfortunately.

          6. Susan Rubinsky

            I have a prequalification process. I’ve been single for most of the last 14 years (had a four year relationship in the middle). If you divide out 100 dates by 10 years that’s 10 dates a year.I’m unwillling to date older men (I have made exceptions for exceptional men from time to time and have dated up to 18 years older and up to 14 years younger). In general, though, I’m interested in men who are around my own age.

          7. Susan Rubinsky

            But the truth is that a relationship/life partner isn’t necessary. I’d rather spend my time on other, more rewarding and more attainable ventures.

          8. LE

            I can’t argue (your other comment ‘don’t need’) with what you say your needs are. But the entire idea of needing someone “exceptional” is a bit elitist which of course is your prerogative. It’s the classic mismatch between supply and demand and what you can get vs. what you want. This is a reason there are many single people, women in particular out there. A nice guy isn’t enough sometimes. Once again don’t know enough about you to really say more than a generality.Note that in buying goods and services that almost never happens. You don’t say “I won’t buy a car because I can’t get a Tesla” or “I won’t buy a house (or rent) because I can’t live in a certain neighborhood”. You quickly realize where your place is in the world relative to the competition. And you fill a need. (Which you say you don’t have so I will take your word for that). But I know others are single and aren’t thinking the same, they are just unrealistic in what they are looking for or perhaps they are difficult and that makes them unattractive.In my case my wife (and the girl I dated before that) was 13 and 10 years younger, respectively. I dated younger because I could. If I couldn’t I would have dated older and potentially older than I am. And she is very well educated, has a nice job and all of that.

          9. Susan Rubinsky

            Indeed, it is my prerogative.

          10. Donna Brewington White

            I kind of hated dating.

          11. ShanaC

            hello, picture of my cousin!!!

        2. LE

          Like Fred, you are really lucky.I have what I call the air conditioning test. If you have to wonder if it’s working it’s not working and you need to call the repairman or get a new unit. Cold air is cold air. You know it when you feel it.Some advice I can give people is:a) Get out early if things are not rightb) Don’t think it will get better if you have kids it won’tc) Don’t have more kids if you have themd) Maybe it’s you and not them. e) Maybe it’s both of you that simply aren’t right for each other. It should be obvious that not everyone is compatiblef) There is someone out there that will accept you for who you are but if you aren’t willing to put the effort in or be flexible you will probably remain single. [1]g) It doesn’t matter if you share interests what matters is how compatible you are on other levels. If you think that because both of you like mountain climbing you will make a good couple you might be in for a surprise.[1] After divorce, when I was dating, I ran into so many women who were totally rigid in what they expected. From finding a guy who would allow the life to revolve around her kids 100% to one girl in particular who told me that her dog slept in her bed everynight and she wasn’t going to change that for anyone. (Never met her, this was by email…)

  8. FlavioGomes

    Someone that I admired, who was a successful entrepreneur told me with a seriousness you can’t fake….”this will be the absolute hardest thing you will ever do in your life and always check your blood pressure…avoid stroking out”.

  9. Richard

    David Letterman is like a VC, without his guests there is no show. Without great guests, there is no revenue. Sometimes VCs don’t get this.

  10. Brandon Burns

    Someone woke up thinking about Twitter again :-P#easyjoke

    1. jason wright

      Bird brain 🙂

  11. Jean-François Noël

    Am I the only one that reads that the pleasure when the show was great is not equal to the misery of the show being bad?

  12. kevando

    I am a big fan of late night talk show comedy, and this reminds me of a great quote when Conan interviewed Judd Aptow> It’s like your building a mosaic. You cant see the whole mosaic cause its thousands of pieces. Some days you’re laying down a bright color and other days you’re laying down light blue pieces, the background.https://www.youtube.com/wat

  13. Kirsten Lambertsen

    That’s some Zen, right there.Two aged men at the Perkins are going through the line getting their food. One says, “I don’t know why I eat here. The food is terrible.” The other replies, “Yes, and such small portions!”I’ve learned from the hard times I’ve gone through, not so long ago, that it’s essential to see the *beauty* in the struggle. It’s transformative, if you can do it. It also makes the good times much more *real* and delicious. And besides, there’s always someone else whose struggle makes yours look like a walk in the park.”If all the year were playing holidays,To sport would be as tedious as to work,”— from Henry IV by Shakespeare

    1. jason wright

      A Woody Allen? Annie Hall?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Very good! I put my own little spin on it, but that’s the joke. I also love the joke in “Annie” about the guy whose brother thinks he’s a chicken. The family would love to get help for him, but they need the eggs.

        1. jason wright

          Love that film.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        [sniff] I’m not cryin’ — *you’re* cryin’!

    2. Donna Brewington White

      In retrospect, right?Or do you see the beauty in the moment while the struggle is in full force?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I think because I’ve been through a series of boom/bust cycles since ~2010, I’ve actually come to seeing the beauty while I’m in the struggle. And I know for sure that my struggles have made me a better person.But I certainly have my moments where I’m very gloomy and wear my eyeliner extra dark and sooty 😉

  14. drmarasmith

    Really great piece along these lines: http://qz.com/807975/how-sh…Whether it is startup land, or life in general, this is an important perspective.“He believes failure is the more common state, the real human state, the more interesting state,” Firestein says. “Tolstoy has his famous phrase in Anna Karenina, that all happy families are happy in much the same way, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. That’s true of failure too. Success is nice, but, really, you succeed and you get on with it, whereas failure is endlessly interesting, isn’t it?”

  15. Pranay Srinivasan

    There is great value in accepting and welcoming struggle, pain, betrayal, cash struggles, pettiness, lawsuits and suchlike while building / scaling a business. Until you become a sadistic, bitter and unrepentant founder who is anti-something instead of pro-something.Visualizing success and knowing thats what you ultimately want is very important to “enjoying” struggle.We are here to look back at our struggles as a means to winning.

  16. Eric Satz

    I think for competitive, driven people, the wins are always short-lived. Worth celebrating for sure, but not basking in. It’s always “what’s next?” Similarly, great athletes forget about the last play, good or bad.

  17. PCS

    I immediately thought of how Ted Williams’ insight could be amended… “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” Building a successful company requires many failures and as such the skill, will and optimism to persevere… baseball just puts those individual failures on display like nowhere else. But when a slumping slugger hits a grand slam to win the game, it washes everything else away.

  18. Rob Larson

    I read that differently, as in “the enjoyment when we put on a great show was never as strong as the misery felt when we put on a bad show”i.e. asking is human nature such that we gravitate to the misery and live there more deeply than the enjoyment of the good times.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Cup half full or cup half empty, or …Wrong size cup.Gravitate to reality its as good or bad as it gets.

  19. Dan T

    exactly what I was telling my high school senior daughter – don’t expect ONE glorious celebration for when you achieve a major goal in the future – – you have to enjoy the journey and all the little victories along the way – the collection of those positive experiences will far outweigh the joy of the final victory.

  20. iggyfanlo

    For those interested in a book of a very similar vein and it includes the similar struggle/victory paradox (incl “Coach”), https://www.amazon.com/Monk

  21. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Trouble with going to bed sober – when you wake up its the best you are going to feel all day long:)

  22. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Winning a tough negotiation feels like winning. Clearing a low bar feels like nothing.Moral – aim just higher than prior experience suggests is possible.

  23. sigmaalgebra

    The best thing I could do with Letterman is to come out with a top 10 list for why I should ignore Letterman.

    1. LE

      I think at the core Letterman was greatly damaged by achieving his dream. From all I have observed about him he is a good example of “be careful what you wish for”. He achieved his dream early on, and had little place to go from there. It’s actually quite possible that he would have been happier if he had remained a weatherman, maybe moved to a larger city, and continued to joke on air and dream of being a late night comedian and perhaps made guest appearances on someone else’s tonight show. Once you achieve your goal (replacing Carson) where do you go from there? What do you dream about? What he is doing now? Nope. I am saying this strictly from observation of him over the years and how he deals with and interacts with people (the ‘little people’). At the core Letterman doesn’t appear to be a happy person and guess what he isn’t a people person either. As such he is now in the prison of his fame [1] not being able to take people on face value who simply see him as a celebrity. That is something he doesn’t have to work for at all. Hence there is only the pain, no struggle.[1] As opposed to, say, someone like Trump (or many politicians) who truly enjoys getting all of the attention he can out in the world.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > I think at the core Letterman was greatly damaged by achieving his dream.I can believe that something “damaged” him — maybe “achieving his dream”.I’m not vulnerable to that: I’ve got several lifetimes of stuff I want to do — most of it I won’t get to, but I will never do all of it, i.e., never achieve the dream.> I am saying this strictly from observation of him over the years and how he deals with and interacts with people (the ‘little people’). At the core Letterman doesn’t appear to be a happy person and guess what he isn’t a people person either.It’s been a very long time since I watched any Letterman, but I do recall that when I did I guessed that with people he was a nasty guy.> Hence there is only the pain, no struggle.I can understand that it’s important to stay busy, but IMHO the good point of busy is accomplishment, maybe with some struggle, or even a lot of struggle, but not just the struggle alone.> As opposed to, say, someone like Trump (or many politicians) who truly enjoys getting all of the attention he can out in the world.Maybe Trump likes some of the attention. Maybe that was a big part of some of what he did in business. But for what he has been doing in this campaign, there is a lot of attention he gets, and his family and businesses get, that is nothing to enjoy.I’m concluding:(1) One of the things he really wanted to do was to build a good family. He wants to “hear the pitter-patter of little feet” and have those grow into good adults. While people talk about maternal instinct, for Trump it looks like there is strong paternal instinct, and more generally I’m slowly concluding the radical, provocative, wildly politically incorrect point that in good families the paternal instinct is more important than the maternal. I.e., when there is a really good, strong family, the reason is more paternal than maternal.(2) On why he is so bombastic, out-spoken, direct, counter punches, etc., my guess is that those behaviors have long been his main ways to get publicity and build his brand, that his brand helped him get a lot of customers, business, and earnings, and he believes that those behaviors can be effective in his campaign. My guess is that he has modified the technique some due to some of the feedback.(3) I’m concluding that he is correct and is saying what he believes when he says about this campaign that he doesn’t need this botheration, that he had built a great business and great family and could return to doing more deals and enjoying his family.(4) On why he is doing this campaign, I’m concluding that helping the country, in particular the bottom 95%, and also the country as a whole in its standing in the world, is the main reason. Since this campaign is a lot of work, has risks to his health just from the hard work and also of assassination and is hard on his family and business, there is some big reason he is doing this; I believe the reason is so strong it is something quite solid and not just some sick-o, psych-o, wack-o nonsense. He has long, decades, been concerned about politics and the future of the country.On this goal, I am concluding that he is sincere: Although I’m not great at reading faces and hidden agendas, when I look at him he looks sincere. Also I’m running out of any very believable alternative explanations for why he is doing all of this.(5) At this point, I am guessing that he very much doesn’t want this effort to be a flop, that he very much wants to win.(6) I don’t know if he is winning or not: The MSM and polls say he is winning by a little down to losing by a lot, but no way can I believe the MSM and also have to doubt their polls.My guess is that he is winning by a significant margin. Why? (A) As JLM has described, sometimes a lot of people don’t express their opinion definitely until election day and then can make all prior polls look like nonsense. (B) Trump gets HUGE rallies while Hillary has a hard time filling a phone booth. (C) The rich, powerful people who want for-sale Hillary are pushing really, really hard against Trump, likely because they are afraid he will win. (D) In attention in Internet media, Trump looks like a big winner.But, overall, I don’t yet get it, don’t yet understand what is going on in this election for POTUS:First-cut, to me, Hillary has several pieces of just reeking, fuming baggage, any one piece of which should have knocked her out of the race in the minds of nearly all the voters or via her actual resignation. But as far as I can see, no such thing has yet happened. I don’t get why.Why?One guess is that there is enough big money and power that very much want for-sale Hillary. Why? My best guess is money: Some people/companies have big bucks at risk, stand to make big bucks from (i) being able to import, and sell, cheap products without tariffs, (ii) being able to import cheap labor, (iii) being for wind and solar energy (where they can get subsidies) and against everything else, and (iv) in general have the POTUS readily for sale whenever needed for whatever comes up in the next 4 years.A second guess is that Trump is so determined, so good at getting crowds on his side, has such comprehensive plans — such definite plans for the US economy, foreign trade, foreign policy, the US military, US taxes, US education, the poor, central US cities, US energy, etc. — that Trump plans on making a big omelet where he has to break a lot of eggs. So people are afraid of how many eggs or just what eggs he might break.Sure, I’m supposed to believe that the NYT, WaPo, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, Boston Globe, BI, etc. are all just so totally in the tank for Hillary no matter what, from the owners and publishers down to the editors, producers, and newsies, that all their bias actually works on a lot of voters who are suckers for any distorted, fabricated, lying daily dirty trivia about Trump but totally ignore the by now widely publicized, really nasty, pathological lying, seriously crooked, US foreign policy and national security disasters of Hillary. I can’t believe it: All people who pay attention to that biased media by now have Ph.D. degrees in ignoring even rather well done ad campaigns. So, such experienced media consumers should be able to junk Hillary as fast as they junk some company that is caught selling canned food with botulism, serving hamburgers with e-coli, selling ground beef with sharp shards of metal, selling powdered milk with fatal contamination with pesticides, plus several more. Heck, supposedly the scandal of the ad guy for Subway actually significantly hurt Subway sales for a long time. If people can have a significantly bad taste in their mouth for Subway from such a scandal, which really had nothing at all directly to do with Subway, then 330+ million people in the US should continually upchuck “that chunky industrial waste puke” over Hillary. Gee, after each person votes, we will have to use a fire hose and then some chlorine solution to clean the voting booth?To me, trying not to look at anything subtle and just from her very well documented reeking baggage, Hillary is a very sick person from between her ears down to her toes and very dangerous for the US. She is sick, just sick-o, on life goals, lifestyle, life values and ethics, sense of family, political values and goals, basic judgment, respect for the US and its citizens, US laws, US national security, and more. Somehow she is so bad at getting good things done that there is no way we could hope that she would help the US. Moreover, nearly always, whenever she gets involved in anything at all serious, she creates a mess down to a US national security disaster.There’s no very good way to describe what drives her except to say that it is psych-o, sick-o, wack-o, highly dysfunctional, and dangerous. She needs strong meds and then belongs in a cottage with Huma and Mills, in a general hospital, in a mental hospital, in court, and then in jail, NOT the White House.If she gets elected, she might get impeached for some of what she has already done. Else, if she refused to, let’s see, in the US Constitution on the duties of the President,:Section. 3.”… shall take Care that the Lawsbe faithfully executed … enforce the long standing US laws on immigration and deportation, then she should be impeachable.So, if she refused to enforce the laws, a Republican Congress could get rid of her in a few days.If she takes bribes, violates laws on handling classified information, lies to the FBI, or lies under oath to Congress, in the future or even just in the past, she can be impeached.For her SCOTUS nominations, as McCain recently said, all will be DOA.Then if she mostly just rests, enjoys more Saul Alinsky,http://media.breitbart.com/…hangs out with Huma and Mills, and enjoys having Bill “doing whatever he does with women” and the US doesn’t actually need a POTUS, then we stand to survive. For most of our problems, just let Mother Nature take her course.If we do need a POTUS, then we will be in very deep, smelly, fuming, flaming, black, toxic, sticky stuff and may never really recover. In one word, Hillary is very SICK.Every tough leader in the world from Singapore, Viet Nam, China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, Iran, Germany, England, etc. will see that she is weak, foolish, with horrible judgment, grotesquely incompetent, really deeply, profoundly, bitterly HATES anyone in any US uniform, is out basically to dissolve the US, can be bought for $100 million, and can be pushed around like a weak, sick kitten and then rush to take advantage of the US.And, sadly, by electing her, we will 100% deserve it.Where would be a good place to move to? Norway? Sweden? Iceland? England? One of the Baltic countries? Switzerland? New Zealand? Canada? Germany if Merkle cleans up the mess of the refugees?

        1. JLM

          .There is a tsunami of gaslighting going on whereby the MSM is trying desperately to project some notion that the election is over and it is, in fact, not.Trump has done some stupid stuff but the average American gets it that the leadership of the US is, in fact, rigged. Not in the context of stealing votes — which is also happening, no doubt about that — but in the context that the elites are looking down their privileged noses at the deplorables, the standard rednecks, and the under educated.This was one of the drivers of the 2014 election, which almost every pollster got wrong.If the MSM, the GOPe, the DEMe, the White House, the punditry haven’t been able to knock DJT out by now, it isn’t going to happen. Frankly, it surprises me how strong the SOB truly is. I guess a country built on twerking has a pretty high threshold for taking offense.Obamacare has gotten so bad even HRC is going to “revise” it. Not that one could trust her public pronouncements, no?No, this baby is in play and will be a barn burner. Trump is not out of it by a long shot.If you must move, go to Mexico.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. LE

            that the elites are looking down their privileged noses at the deplorables, the standard rednecks, and the under educatedThey call them low information voters as well.What is funny is this. MSM and elites don’t like Trump because of the way he speaks (not the Queens English or even close) they want the stuffy white man or at least actually they want Joe Biden. However they claim (because they are liberals) that we should be accepting of people who are not like them (or us whatever). We should not feel that because people in the ghetto speak ghetto english they aren’t worthy and they should be accepted. But for some reason when someone is running the country and the stakes actually matter they would never elect a 1980’s Al Sharpton in an aerobics suit or whatever that (clown) used to wear.Will agree of course that there is a link often between a way a person sounds and how educated they are. In some cases even how intelligent they are. Which are two different things.Melania spoke on CNN last night with Anderson Cooper (who sounds like a fucking therapist he is so trying to be neutral. Melania came across as honest in all possible ways. Didn’t sound like she had been prepped or anything.One thing to admire about Trump, even if you don’t like him, is that he doesn’t appear to control what anyone who is a supporter says about him. You get the impression that he lets the chips fall where they do. You don’t get the sanitized speech that you get on Clinton’s side. You can just tell by how at ease everyone is by there body language. Very truthful.

  24. Rob Underwood

    I think related to the idea of “the struggle” is “the practice.” The older I get the more I think our most joy is perhaps to be found in the practice of doing something. A practice is often found in people’s avocations, but sometimes people are lucky when their practice is their vocation too.I have found “the practice” of getting under a heavy barbell a few nights a week, usually in preparation for some meet well into the future, has been incredibly helpful for “the struggle” at work. Moreover, I speculate I’m happiest when I’m in the middle of “the practice”, not necessarily at the fleeting meet (the reward).The irony is that it can be hard and painful and in one very real sense I’m not enjoying it at all, though I’m, at once too, happy. Mindfulness is to be found in the moment of practice. Yoga, practicing an instrument, learning to code all can be a practice, provided they provide some form of struggle on to themselves.Practice has the additional benefit of training our minds, bodies, and souls for the grind at work – the “we just to bear down and gets through this and do a good job” moments. Essentially the mini-struggle of overcoming roadblocks in our avocations – the “I can’t get this”, “I can’t do this” of a barbell or instrument that – followed by the inevitable breakthroughs, provide us the model, and in turn confidence, to take on the struggles – and enjoy them – in our work.

    1. cavepainting

      Well played and very well written !

  25. PhilipSugar

    This is related to the post of two days ago. This is when caring matters. I don’t disagree with accountability at all. It’s great to do all the things JLM pointed out in that post because then when you struggle people can’t point out obvious details that weren’t completed.I always say you can’t throw a good punch when you are standing in a pile of your own shit.But when you are in the struggle which Arnold points out is the life of the Entrepreneur two things can happen:You can have unsupportive people that want to play the blame game and get people outYou can have supportive people that are not pushovers or meaningless cheerleaders but help you work through the struggle.That is caring.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Yep. Caring and careful, so that our upsides don’t end being other people’s downsides and vice versa. I explain this very clearly to people I work with because usually we start working before we sign any agreement, even sometimes without any formal agreement at all. Yes, I have been skinned, but allow only one ‘event’ per counterpart. I think this is an evolutionary way to build a trust map.

    2. ShanaC

      caring is a super hard thing to do, because pushover vs cheerleader vs helpful vs overprotective is a hard balance to strike

      1. PhilipSugar

        I’m sorry I don’t agree and that is me being caring :-). The biggest thing you need to know as a leader is when to give a pat on the back ,a quiet observation, or a kick in the ass.

  26. Dorian Benkoil

    “Life is a journey, not a destination.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  27. Brandon Burns

    It was low hanging fruit!

    1. John McKearnan

      Still you nailed it twice in a row with the same comment , back-to-back

  28. Nidhi Mevada

    Keep inspiring 🙂

  29. JLM

    .When you are an entrepreneur, you are compensated by three things: money, self-esteem nourishment, ego enrichment.At times, the money plays second to the other two. These are not three objectives that people are comfortable speaking about in public because they (the people) are, essentially, dishonest.Men are defined by their work. Ask a man who he is and he responds: “A venture capitalist. A carpenter. A lawyer. A plumber. A developer. A soldier.”We are our work. When we have “good” work, we are happier than when we don’t. This is why the specter of unemployment and underemployment are both troubling.Want to stop a riot? Give everyone a job and an early start time.Being an entrepreneur is a different life than being a corporate beastie in which the path of things is dictated to you. An entrepreneur holds the map and the compass (GPS these days, no?) and is free to determine their own path.One of the greatest elements of freedom is to be able to submit yourself to a difficult test without knowing whether you can master it. This is why guys go to Ranger School — I wonder if I’m tough enough to make it through Ranger School?It is why people start companies. Sure, they are going to change the world or solve a big problem but more importantly they are going to test themselves and see what they’re made of.There are a huge number of people who will go to the library and study, outwork their competition but they are not willing to take a personal, financial, physical risk. I struggle for a better word but I suspect “cowards” is the right one.Being a coward sounds bad but there are a lot of people who are happy standing in the back of the throng and letting others do the work and provide the leadership. Nothing wrong with that.It is the difference between people who view life as being pessimistic v optimistic. An entrepreneur has to be an optimist.The test — can I do this? — IS the struggle. The struggle is the juice and it is what drives and energizes an entrepreneur. Once you’ve done it, you become addicted to that blank canvas to finished product drug and you can’t stop doing it.I would rather be the boss of a rowboat than the second in command of the QE II.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Lawrence Brass

      When are you going to write the friggin’ book? Because I want the first one coming out of the press, dripping ink and signed with blood. I know that this last bloody part will be easy for you. 🙂

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Maybe it can be simpler: Work is important, if only for necessary money and desirable freedom, sense of security, and fun that money can provide.So, in the commercial world, broadly there are only two options: (1) Work for someone else who owns the business or (2) own the business and work for yourself.If your work does not have much commercial value, then getting paid well with either (1) or (2) will be tough — bummer. So, let’s assume the your work does have good commercial value.If your work actually has good commercial value, then with (1) you will get paid at most only a small fraction of that value (likely also true if your work has only a little commercial value!). So, you are better off with (2) where what is left over after all the expenses, taxes, etc. is YOURS and MUCH more than you can get paid doing the same thing but working for someone else.Simple.Or, in looking for a job, that is a case where you are asking someone else to set up a running business, be able to pay you, and hire you. Instead, just do that work yourself, set up your own business.Yes, to set up your own business, you have to have something of at least good commercial value in some sense, hopefully a sense that will last, and be cheap enough and easy enough to convert to a business that you can get the business to good positive earnings with the resources you have. So, when picking a business direction, think of these other criteria, also.Current example: Can plug together one heck of a powerful server computer for well under $1000 in parts. If use that computer for a Web site and, due to your work having good commercial value, can get enough traffic to keep that computer busy, then just by the revenue from running ads just from ad networks, stand to grow like a weed. Examples: Drudge Report. Plenty of Fish. Just from that one computer kept busy, we’re talking $100+ K a month in revenue. In that case, if can keep up the growth, then have plenty of money for more computers, office space, staff, etc. It’s one of the best business opportunities in the history of the world, no joke.Sure, the challenge is having something of good commercial value, but that is essentially part of any good success, employee or entrepreneur, in the commercial world.All that stuff about ego, challenge, pride, etc., doesn’t have to hold. That is, the real commercial success is being a successful owner, not someone who rushes out the front door with a lunch pail at 7 AM M-F.

    3. Adam Sher

      In general, I agree with the gestalt of your post. It is a different, and difficult challenge to succeed in a corporate environment. Cowardice is close but the risk one takes in a corporate environment is substantial, albeit different if your goal is to run a company. It takes a lot of optimism to be a company man. You need to believe that the company is stable, will provide an opportunity for career advancement, and let your accomplishments speak louder than your politics. Personally, I started working for myself because the paths I set out at my former companies did not pan out.

      1. JLM

        .”gestalt” — Well played!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Yup. Been there, done that.

      3. cavepainting

        Gestalt ! You sent me scampering for the dictionary and I learned something new.

        1. Twain Twain

          Gestalt as it gets applied in Neuroscience and in AI.https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…@fredwilson:disqus @lawrencebrass:disqus @JLM:disqus @le_on_avc:disqus @philipsugar:disqus @SixgillBlog:disqus @JimHirshfield:disqus @pointsnfigures:disqus @wmoug:disqus @ShanaC:disqus @MsPseudolus:disqus @sigmaalgebra:disqus — Notice Google’s started to structure its AI more like the female brain.LOL.12 Oct 2016 = Google Deepmind released Differential neural computer for memory lateralization.27 Sept 2016 = Google released its sequence-to-sequence Neural Machine Translation in Google Translate.Does that mean Google will crack Natural Language Understanding first?Not necessarily … because Google’s Achilles is it doesn’t get social like Facebook does and it doesn’t get art like Apple and it doesn’t get YinYang like Baidu.Will we crack the Natural Language & Moral Understanding problem in the machines in our lifetime?Yes, in ways Turing couldn’t imagine.

    4. LE

      There are a huge number of people who will go to the library and study, outwork their competition but they are not willing to take a personal, financial, physical risk.That is because the academic course is all laid out and if you are good at it, simple and gratifying. This is why we have people who sail through and get advanced degrees with little or no effort. And with ease. You get immediate feedback. Want to be a doctor or a lawyer? Simple if you are academically inclined. You know what courses to take and exactly what to do. Sure there are decisions (which specialty) that come later but in general nothing like starting a business. Even today (forget yesterday when there was no help at all). With business yes more like war. You have things that guide you but no exact clear path and things are always changes.The fact is some people don’t do well with that and some people actually like that part. I like that part. More satisfaction that way. To easy, what fun is that? Think Fred would want every thing he chooses to turn to gold? I say he’d be unhappy.I had a guy that rented from me, a doctor, didn’t want to own the place. Was afraid and wanted someone else to be able to call if something needed fixing. But he could operate on your ears (he was a surgeon) because he had been taught exactly how to do that and had practiced. Later after the lease expired he bought his own place. He saw it wasn’t a big deal at all to be an owner.I would rather be the boss of a rowboat than the second in command of the QE II.Often though the 2nd in command is the defacto commander.Some people though are lazy shits. Honestly. Not everyone gets satisfaction from a hard day at work. I feel lucky that I do it’s really the only thing that I never knew. The lazy shits died in the concentration camps (in addition to those that were to old or to young if you couldn’t work you were toast..)

      1. sigmaalgebra

        That is because the academic course is all laid out and if you are good at it, simple and gratifying. This is why we have people who sail through and get advanced degrees with little or no effort. And with ease.Grade school teaching? Have to mother the kids, and mostly how well they do depends on their home life, not the teaching.High school teaching? Maybe six sections a day of 30 students a section? Not so easy.Ph.D.? It’s not a clinical or professional degree, not like law or medicine. The work is RESEARCH, “worthy of publication”, “new, correct, significant”. Except for a tiny fraction of grad students, that’s not so easy.It’s a joke but not fully wrong, all have to do in, say, math or physics, is come up with something significant that von Neumann and Einstein missed.The more significant work is severely competitive: All the work that is counted is openly published. Then, anyone in the world can build on that. So, each research prof is in competition with essentially every other researcher, prof or not, in the world. ANYONE in the world who comes up with some really good results will be welcome at YOUR university, and maybe suddenly more welcome than you are. No joke.In fact, in practice, for a huge fraction of Ph.D. program grad students who were just terrific in K-12 and college, grad school is HELL, the worst part of their lives with lots of damage and a surprisingly high dropout rate and, even for the ones who get a Ph.D., death rate. No joke. I saw seriously damaged lives every day in grad school.The dropout rates for Ph.D. programs, even for fantastically good K-college students, make the Navy Seals, the Army Rangers, the submarine service look like fuzzy, bunny play time.E.g., commonly only 1 in 10 to 1 in 30 or so students entering a Ph.D. program ever get that degree. It’s usually from HELL down to a blood bath. In several universities, I saw a lot of really terrific people very seriously hurt.In some fields, say, where need expensive equipment obtained by a famous senior prof with big grants, the Ph.D. work can be years of close to slave labor.Once get a Ph.D., usually a career as a college prof is a total pain. We’re talking maybe some years as a post-doc living dirt cheap. Then maybe 7 years as an assistant prof in a small apartment and an old, rusty car or no car. Then maybe 5 years as an associate prof with still not money enough to buy a house or support a family. Even if get tenure, the pay need not be much and need not keep up with inflation. Easy to go 10-15 years without a raise.Academic politics is grim.The profs who do well are, really, quite creative, hard working, and determined entrepreneurs. They are not so much employees as free agents — closer to NBA, MLB, or NFL stars. So, from mostly research, they get to be a star in their field, with their name well known, get big research grants (that’s what the university REALLY wants since it takes 60% as overhead) consistently, get paid for publishing popular text books (only a tiny fraction are popular, and, due to computer word processing and the Internet, much of the money in academic book publishing is gone), and hop from one university to another, better, university, over and over, as their career builds. Then, if they become a prof at Princeton, Harvard, etc., they get pushed out fairly quickly as they get some gray hair and have to take a slot at some university 2-3 steps down. If they have some family money or a spouse who works, it can be better, but the moving is hard on the career of the working spouse and the marriage.The overall expectation is that the prof cares only about research, is dedicated to being a prof, and doesn’t care about money or even having a family. Any paid consulting is supposed to be limited to one day a week and is frowned on. So, profs are not even supposed to be making much money.Besides, living in nice neighborhoods near Harvard, Princeton, or Berkeley is too expensive for a single income college prof family.For nearly any Ph.D. college prof, it’s a BS career.For the Ph.D.s, for the whole show, from the prof, the department, the university, etc., really there is just one main source of money, Congress, and that money intended for US national security and, for the bio-medical Ph.D.s, solving the diseases of aging (the Members of Congress tend to be old). There is a little lip service but not much money for US economic development. For a Ph.D., mostly the money flows via NSF, and the competition there is severe with a quite good review process. There is also money from NIH, DARPA, and a few more. For bio-medical research, there is NIH plus quite a lot of private money.So, really, there are only a few, well known sources of money with severe competition.Med school profs commonly get paid much better. Maybe also for law school profs.But maybe some of the academic research material can have commercial applications, and then might make that commercial application. That doesn’t happen very often. One example was A. Viterbi (high end math EE and QUALCOMM). Another was E. Wong (high end math EE and relational database).There has been a good niche: For much of the STEM fields, a Ph.D. has a good shot at a good career in US DoD work, mostly around DC, as an employee, as a consultant, or as an owner of a small firm doing contract, technical DoD work. Part of the barrier to entry is the need for US citizenship and a high security clearance.I had a good career going around DC in applied math and computing. After a while at FedEx, I got a Ph.D. to learn some material that would help that career. Mostly I’ve learned on my own, and that way learned a lot, including a lot that I needed for my Ph.D., but a little of the Ph.D. work taught me some terrific stuff. I was a college prof for a while only due to some issues of taking care of my wife, very seriously hurt, fatally, by her Ph.D. program. My brother was also seriously hurt, but not fatally, by his Ph.D. program. Really, for me, my Ph.D. program was fast, fun, and easy except for a few bad days, and I didn’t get hurt at all. I got lots of practice in being treated badly by my K-12 teachers — grad school was not nearly as bad! For K-12 I did all of it in one building. So, I had a reputation including among the teachers, and it was not good. So, usually I was treated badly. Where I could easily save myself was in math and physics, and I did well there. My reputation was so bad that when my SAT scores came back and the teacher, same as I’d had in the sixth grade, read my Math SAT scores, she said “There must be some mistake.” There had been, for all those horrible years in that school. I agree there was some mistake with my Math SAT score — I was not first in the class of about 180 students and, instead, by a few points came in second.But I do not now nor have I ever had or ever will have any desire for a career in academics in any sense. But, what I learned in academics is the crucial foundation for my original research for the crucial core and key to my startup (the math and corresponding software are all nicely done — fast, fun, easy, as expected), the crucial intellectual property, the technological advantage (ability to deliver much better, by far the best, results to the users), and high technological barrier to entry. That’s just what I always thought, from Algebra I to the present, math should be — make money.We come full circle: Gotta be entrepreneurial.

        1. LE

          So the question is why do people go down that path if a) the failure rate is so high and b) the pay and outcome are not great?The only thing I can guess is that they think they will be the lucky sperm that makes it. Similar to what happens in sports, entertainment (acting/music haha) and the like.I mean in aviation I believe the pay sucks generally for all but the guys at the top (and even then it’s not great) but people do that because they love to fly.Is this some academic industrial complex where young easily influenced people are somehow told and instructed that they stand a good chance of a decent life? Or is it simply that they have bought into the idea that it’s special to be in that field?My father in law was a teacher. He said to me “you know it’s a calling not everyone is cut out to teach!!”. I don’t buy into that. Especially since he originally did it to avoid the draft (Vietnam) ditto for the last girl I dated father. Told me the same thing.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            > So the question is why do people go down that path if a) the failure rate is so high and b) the pay and outcome are not great?It’s simple: A few simple steps:In the more advanced countries, nearly everyone goes through K-12. Many of the students are highly encouraged and/or motivated to do really well. The ones who do really well are highly encouraged to go to college — if they did really well in K-12, they are welcomed at good to great research universities with full scholarships, tuition, room and board, fees, books, etc.If they do really well in college, then their profs will encourage them to go to grad school and have careers like the profs have.That’s why so many people try grad school Ph.D. programs. It’s as simple as that.Yes, at times some areas of academics do write notes of warning to students on some of the challenges of being a prof.Rarely do they write the most important warnings — the severe threats to health and even life of grad Ph.D. programs. It’s a horrible, hidden chuckhole in the road for some of our very best college grads — brilliant, dedicated, determined, ready to work nearly to death, etc. thrown into HELL for little to no good reason.Much of the grad school HELL is because doing really well in K-12 is usually not the “right stuff” for doing well in a grad school Ph.D. program.For a joke, for K-college, the good student looks at the material, thinks it’s great stuff, and eagerly learns it. For grad school, the good student looks at the material, thinks most of it is junk, learns some material they respect, and does their research there.More serious is everything about the “right stuff” issue: The Ph.D. is a research degree, for research, where the three most important things are, right, research, research, and research. In fact, there is contempt for expertise: It is well understood that no one can carry the library around between their ears so that no one should try. Again, what is respected is research.E.g., I got my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins. I did take some courses, but officially there there is no, none, zip, zilch, zero coursework requirement for a Ph.D. There was a coursework for a Master’s and the courses I took were sufficient for that, and I did also get a Master’s.For a Ph.D., there can be some qualifying exams, but not all departments require those.The main requirement is simple: “An original contribution to knowledge worthy of publication”. This determination is made by a committee, a Graduate Board committee, assembled uniquely for the student, who looks at the student’s research, gives the student an oral exam, and certifies to the university that the work is as in the requirement.To make the determination more objective, the Chair of the committee and a majority of the committee is to be from OUTSIDE the student’s department.For publication, the usual criteria are “new, correct, and significant” as judged by reviewers for an editor for the editor in chief of a peer-reviewed journal.In astoundingly strong conflict with information technology venture capital, it is actually possible to get research carefully reviewed.So, really, at Hopkins, the student is supposed to do the research, finish it, and submit it. Well, for help along the way, the student has some advisers.What saved my tail feathers at Hopkins was some research I did. I did some of it on a plane ride before I went to Hopkins. I did most of the rest independently, that is, without any advisers, in my first summer. Later I had two advisers and gave a grad seminar on what I did. I never got any real advice from my advisers, and except for the seminar they didn’t really know what I was doing. In the end, the Chair of my Graduate Board committee is the only one who really understood what I’d done. I had to explain one paragraph to him about three times and rewrite it, and then he got it. He was a famous guy, Member, US National Academy of Engineering, a student of mathematician A. Tucker at Princeton, etc.So, the oral exam was an easy hour or so, and that was it.There was an intermediate key: I took a problem I’d seen in a course, couldn’t find a solution in the literature, found a nice solution, and along the way got a nice, surprising, new result. That was two weeks of work, mostly on the bed as my wife watched TV. The work was clearly publishable. So, technically, I’d just done my Ph.D. dissertation. Later I did publish the work and, then, discovered I’d also solved a problem stated but not solved in the famous paper in mathematical economics by Arrow, Hurwicz, and Uzawa. Poor Uzawa, AFAIK, he has not gotten his Nobel prize yet!So, it was some RESEARCH. Surprising. Publishable. Well, THAT is what is respected. From then on, I had a halo. Or, again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, it’s a RESEARCH university.Well, that K-college stuff for the best students does little to help and maybe a lot to hurt ability at research.

      2. Adam Sher

        “The lazy shits died in the concentration camps (in addition to those that were to old or to young if you couldn’t work you were toast..”Are you referring to Nazi concentration camps?

        1. cavepainting

          I am hoping he did not. If that was an attempt at humor, it is dangerously close to striking some really wrong notes.

          1. LE

            See my reply about to Adam.

          2. cavepainting

            Hi, I do not have a personal experience with the Holocaust as you do, so I am really not qualified to comment on it. Nevertheless, I find it hard to understand how we can justifiably say something like the lazy people did not make it and the hard workers were the ones who ended up on the other side. War and evil have no logic or moral code to it. It seems wrong to say that those who died were any less resilient than the ones who did not.

          3. LE

            Well perhaps the use of the word lazy is wrong and not the correct word. Maybe industrious and able to take advantage of opportunity and work hard. My father, for example, had a skill that was needed in the camps. And he worked hard as well. And he wasn’t even formally trained. He just kind of faked it until he made it. Not because he told me that (he said practically nothing) but because I know that with respect to how I was raised. Before the war as a kid he worked in a bicycle shop. In the camps he did that and electrical work. He used to stall the elevators. When he came to this country he did electrical work on the side as well. I remember going with him to replace light ballasts.Before the war, when he was a teen, he also took the time to learn english so after the war he got a job helping the US Troops (OSS) hunt down Nazis. (I have pictures of this he was wearing a US Uniform). That was quite unusual. None of his friends did that. I am even talking about the ones that survived that I know!The point is there are differences to people. My guess is that those who were “lazy” and maybe entitled didn’t fair as well in the system there. I would guess that the same may be the case in American prisons (total speculation). I can see the difference in my stepson and how he is what I would call “lazy” and even my ex wife. Here is a really small example. When my ex wife wanted something she would sit and yell out for me. When I want something I get up and go to the person. See the difference? Small example for sure. People are different. Some people do have a better attitude and work harder. We are not all the same.All of my fathers friends here that I know that are survivors are big time hustlers. So yes you could say that my Dad only was friends with hustlers. I don’t think that is the case though.Not claiming scientific fact but just common sense. If someone sees value in you and you do a good job anywhere it will keep you alive. If they don’t see value in you you will get shitty jobs and might die doing those jobs. At least with a higher probability.

          4. cavepainting

            It is fair to say that survivors were hustlers and street smart and also lucky. I do get the larger point you are making, but the Holocaust is a bad example in the sense that the evil context of it is much larger and overwhelming.

        2. LE

          Yes. My father was at several and survived. And my grandparents and other relatives (his siblings who were young) died in them. Hard work was really the only thing that mattered in terms of staying alive. Also staying healthy and able to work.

          1. Adam Sher

            What about a significant amount of luck w/r/t avoiding disease, having enough food, or not being executed on a whim for being a Jew in a camp? Most of my family was executed (including healthy men in prime physical labor age), and it was not for a lack of effort. Or those who fought in the underground resistance and died from those efforts?I hard work was not THE factor in survival, and your original comment denigrates those who died in the camps.Below is an illuminating study done on Jews from Amsterdam who survived. http://ije.oxfordjournals.ohttp://www.wollheim-memoria

          2. LE

            It depends on what camp you were at. If you were taken to a death camp then you were executed. If you were taken to a work camp then the ability to work was key. Which was my point. Nothing I said denigrates at all. I have no need to be politically correct and keep my mouth shut and walk on eggshells. As mentioned people in my family were killed as well. Many people were killed obviously there were a multitude of circumstances involved including luck, health (which I mentioned) and so on.The larger message is “don’t be a lazy shit” it doesn’t improve your chances of survival anywhere. This is true today for lazy shits who don’t exercise and are at an increased risk of dying as a result. Doesn’t mean people that exercise who are not lazy shits don’t die and doesn’t mean every lazy shit dies. Just general advice.

    5. Twain Twain

      Women are defined by our relationships and how we care for others.Jack Ma of Alibaba on the “secret sauce” of women to their success: https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    6. cavepainting

      “you become addicted to that blank canvas to finished product drug and you can’t stop doing it.” – Very true words that sing a song.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Don’t know if they are cowards or just have better sense.I think entrepreneurs are crazy people.

      1. Twain Twain

        I own 2 T-shirts that can only be bought in Cupertino’s Apple Store. One of them says “Crazy 1ne”.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Oh right, I wasn’t the first to have that idea. ;)Funny that you should mention t-shirts because in another comment in this thread I almost mentioned but deleted that I once had an idea for a t-shirt that says “Misery loves chocolate” and to my surprise someone had beat me to it.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          That’s great!

  30. Joe Rizk

    I’m not sure that’s what he’s saying at all. He’s observing, I think, that the lowest lows always superseded the highest highs… net negative. And in that way he is wondering whether we’re always predisposed to worry and fear more strongly than joy and happiness.

  31. Marc Baskin

    I think its possible that many commenters (and Fred) may be misinterpreting Dave’s message. He said “[the great show] was never as enjoyable as the misery of the show being bad”What everybody here is interpreting this as if Dave is saying that the misery is enjoyable. I believe the true meaning is that he is comparing the ‘amount of joy’ and the ‘amount of misery’ in an almost quantifiable way. The height of his joy for great shows doesn’t get as low as his misery for bad shows. For instance, he may consider that his great shows only give him a ‘6’ out of 10 for enjoyment and his bad shows can routinely go as low as -10, well beyond an equal -6.Actually ‘enjoying the misery’ as many here are suggestive of Dave’s meaning would be more akin to the outlook of life of Larry David and Richard Lewis. I believe Dave has high expectations of himself and does not get as much joy out of a great show because internally he expects it of himself, is somewhat happy about it then moves on. The lows, however, really eat at him and can take him much lower to a degree emotionally.As I understand it, it was this emotional inequality that led to the demise of Kurt Cobain. He didn’t find much joy in the highs and struggled with how much misery the lows affected him.Not saying I’m right here. I don’t know what Dave is thinking. But to me his statement isn’t at all about the ‘enjoying the misery’ but instead the differing affects that good news and bad news has on an individual, Dave in particular.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I read it the same way you did.

  32. Eric Friedman

    I believe its the journey not the destination – which sounds a little cliched but I believe it. I am sure Jerry has a lot to say on this as well.

  33. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:A message from Canada. Americans who can read and are positive already knew.A Toronto-based ad agency made this video featuring real Canadians telling America all the reasons it’s already great, despite a fraught election season. – http://wapo.st/2eiE9Vn

  34. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Best sports moment tirades.Great and late Junior Seau pulling Ryan Leaf away and Late Dennis Green. Golden sports moments in a place of struggle.http://youtu.be/8N3-x8XjftQ

  35. ShanaC

    This reminds me of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.I admit I am bad at what you are writing about. Sometimes the struggle gets me down. I’m trying to figure out new ways of tracking the struggle, so I can break out of the struggle becoming self-feeding (bad) and becoming a learning experience I enjoy (good).I know there is science data out there to do this, but I am at a bit of a loss about the best way – suggestions?

    1. cavepainting

      Virtual hugs to you. I think the struggle is difficult for everyone, though not everyone wears it on their sleeve. I have a lot of respect for people who are transparent about it.The real question is how we deal with it internally. I feel that a) if there is a larger purpose behind the project or the startup that is beyond a material or ego driven pursuit, it is easier to keep forging ahead, and b) if there is such intense focus on the problem itself that you are willing to lose yourself in it, there is the possibility to just stay focused without getting lost in the drama.Either way, I believe the secret may be to live in the present and not let the ego get involved. Which also means to not worry about others’ perceptions or your own mind’s incessant chatter. I have not done any of these well, but have had few periods where I have been able to delink the state of my mind from the expectations of the outside world. But it continues to be something that I struggle with every day.

  36. Henry Yates

    I first read this post yesterday. I enjoy “The Struggle”. I feel much more alive when I am not there yet, on a quest for the answer – searching and willing it to happen. However, that is me looking at “the Struggle” with my positive filter on high. Not all struggles are equal. I like the ones that I vanquish so I can then move on to the next one. I like having the luxury of being able to lose to the struggle and fight again another day. I have been thinking about Carl Rahn Griffith this morning, and I guess I just wanted to share that here.http://avc.com/2016/03/carl

  37. Donna Brewington White

    I got something different from this quote although I didn’t read the entire article. What I interpreted is that the misery when things are bad is more intense than the enjoyment when things are good. Not that he enjoyed the misery.The struggle is at different levels. Some parts of it are invigorating. Other parts just plain miserable.But in my own situation much of my misery has come from some decision I have made not to leave well enough alone. Some inherent need to make things more difficult. Never regretted the outcome but hell getting there.

  38. Douglas Crets

    one could draw inspiration from Carl Jung, who basically said that true leaders and the honorable only craft a singular personal identity and a hero’s purpose by going through hardship and the grey areas of life. If you have crap sticking to you, it’s not because you are bad, but because you are on the journey to being very good. Here’s to all of you who struggle. The insight is always found in the struggle, whether the one you are lead to unwillingly or to the one you approach head on, to solve it.

  39. jason wright

    I’m saying that it’s an immutable ‘law’. One must Labour to produce, suffer for the art.

  40. Chimpwithcans

    Agreed – the odds of having a fantastic blog post each day are pretty small. It’s about consistently doing it and enjoying the process – then the good ones will come when they come. I think this is actually pretty similar concept to Fred’s ‘selling’ post yesterday – process more important than outcome. Outcome is a symptom of the process/habit.

  41. LE

    Your stuff was just about sold out at 10am at WF this am.

  42. LE

    For a single person a dog actually prevents them from seeking out people is my theory. Because the dog helps them from hitting bottom and putting in the effort to go out and find a person. Ditto for living in an active place like NYC. You can get by being alone because there is so much activity and distraction. If you lived in a small town with a dying main street and only 5000 people very likely you would need a companion or go stir crazy.

  43. Susan Rubinsky

    LOL. I have cats. I can leave them to go away for long weekends without any worries. I like dogs but they impede freedom. One of my cats is really dumb too.

  44. Susan Rubinsky

    I don’t live in NYC, I live in Farifield County, CT, on Long Island Sound. Though I do have a theory about NYC men because I’ve dated a few: They are always looking over your shoulder to see if something better may come along.

  45. Susan Rubinsky

    Also, I don’t need a man to be happy. I already am happy. I’m not even close to hitting the bottom.

  46. Lawrence Brass

    I think the opposite, caring for a dog actually sends the message “I can care for” to others and may help to mantain a healthier mind, emotionally speaking, which may increase the probabilities of meeting someone by chance. Lot of movies use this script. I regularly see people in parks gathering to talk about their pets, which means more human interactions.I was very critic before about young couples caring for pets instead of kids, but realized later that the experience probably was an early step before asuming parenthood.Didn’t you have a hamster being a kid?

  47. LE

    That sucks. One thing I never ever did was look at another woman when I was on a date. Ever. As much as I wanted to I was just respectful like I’d want to be treated. Didn’t flirt with waitresses either. Didn’t play any games. [1] But I heard stories exactly like yours. In fact women were surprised that I didn’t. Ditto for not paying attention to something on the TV (like some game) that was easy of course because I’m not into sports.What you are describing is “looking for the bigger better deal”. Applies to both men and women by the way.[1] My strategy was always ‘I like you and I am not going to play games to hide it. If you don’t like me equally I will go elsewhere”.

  48. LE

    Sure but it’s not about now. It’s about the future. There are many things that aren’t important currently that become important later. But later it becomes harder. It’s kind of like that.I don’t need a woman to be happy either. I don’t need to travel to be happy. I can be happy with very little. So I get your point but still offer the preceding to think about.Lastly I am sorry if it appears that I am ‘hocking’ you. I don’t like when people do that to me!

  49. Lawrence Brass

    … and, whenever in need, play the joker video. 🙂

  50. Susan Rubinsky

    It just is what it is. Neither good nor bad. You just decide whether it’s something you want to live with or not. For me, it’s not.

  51. Susan Rubinsky

    Thank you for the apology.

  52. LE

    As a prop, sure. But meeting someone in the park is very time intensive compared to what we have now with online dating and the opportunities there. Where you can iterate at a far far greater rate than going to the park and hoping to meet someone (or at the supermarket). If done right that is. Just not as opportunity rich. Plus you are limited geographically. With the internet and dating you open yourself up to people that you would never meet in your local park. Every night, when I was doing it, I had a system that made it really quick and easy to see if someone was on the dartboard that I even wanted to date. In the park the only thing might be “are they attractive”. I wouldn’t know anymore about them and most likely wouldn’t try either. (What you see is what you get …)Didn’t you have a hamster being a kid?I had a dog two times.My point was as follows:a) Needing another human is not 0 or 100. It’s somewhere in between. Everyone is different.b) Having a dog to take care of and to come home to at the end of the day (or to a lesser extent a cat) changes your position on the scale. Might matter, might not, depending on where you are on the scale. Same as living in a place like Manhattan or Brooklyn let’s say or any really active place (ok even maybe Venice Beach). I feel very strongly about this by the way.Doesn’t mean there isn’t an upside, there is or that someone shouldn’t have a pet. Just that it has an impact. Ditto for a woman who has a large group of friends and/or has male (gay) friends that she hangs with. Lessens the chance that she will feel she needs to find someone, keeping in mind that impact of those people introducing her to someone. (Vice versa for men obviously).

  53. sigmaalgebra

    But with feminism, there are no longer any human females as worth being cared for as a kitten, cat, or even stray cat!

  54. Lawrence Brass

    We are talking about increasing chances here, please cooperate! :)Cats are very special creatures. I lived alone with a cat for almost five years, after my first marriage split. She wasn’t any cat, she was my mothers’ cat that I had inherited and I was living at ‘her home’. We got along quite fine, specially during winters until I cheated and got myself a human fiancee-wife. Sadly, Cleo the cat had to stay with my sister because of my new mother in law allergies. Cleo died last year.As Points pointed out at the beginning of this thread and in my particular case, yes I can live alone, but the better version of me happens with my wife.

  55. Lawrence Brass

    You are underestimating the utility of a wing-dog. Caring for something alive is better than caring for nothing (the plants at my office must be laughing or crying), but I understand your point.I am getting fond of your practical views which of course doesn’t mean I share them all. The other day I applied the ‘straight face tactic’ while in a negotiation, inspired by your story of the middle easterners that came to buy your equipment. To my surprise, it worked flawlessly, the moment was completely erased from the collective memory of the participants.”I had a dog two times.” – same dog? 🙂

  56. JLM

    .Those don’t fall under the umbrella of “compensation.”Those are what you feel after you’ve been to the pay window. Small difference but a real one.I am on record as saying a man can do more good works with a full pocketbook than he can with an empty one — why nobody should ever be ashamed of making a lot of money.You can fund good works. You can gratefully repay everyone who helped you on the way up and fund noble causes. You can spread the mojo with a bit of juju and a side of lagniappe.The result of it all is the joy of having done the best you could with what you had.That’s a wrap.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  57. sigmaalgebra

    For a very long time, domestic cats who were not nice to humans encountered some of the severe rules of Darwin. So, for a very long time, what was left in the gene pool of domestic cats was cute, sweet, darling, adorable, precious, friendly, well behaved, tolerant, affectionate, loyal, clean, easy to care for.The birth rate of the feminists. angry, resentful, strident, hostile, messy, disloyal — weak, sick, dead limbs on the tree — show that Darwin is doing the same to human females. Soooo, in another few generations, the only human females left will be as cute, sweet, darling, adorable, precious, friendly, well behaved, tolerant, affectionate, loyal, clean, easy to care for as current kitty cats! Where can I apply to return in another 100 years?Human females have some good points kitty cats will never achieve, but the feminists have a wildly too high view of their desirability.As I’ve written elsewhere at AVC, the human females should all try to look really good in, say, shirtwaist dresses. Uh, I don’t really know anything about women’s clothes, just enough to take them off, but my wife told me about shirtwaist dresses!Next, the race is not really fair: If I were one of the judges, the women in or from north of the Alps, east of the Pyrenees, and west of the Urals have a big head start!Yup, here I go again with “boys locker room banter!” Why? “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys”!Note: Everything, EXACTLY, Trump talked about in his “boys locker room banter” JFK actually DID in the White House to recent White House intern, 19 year old, debutante, engaged, Miss Mimi Alford, as inhttp://rockcenter.nbcnews.c…and since soon they were without clothes in a White House bathtub playing with floating rubber ducks, literally — I’m not making this up — Miss Alford didn’t much object.Trump was correct: Some women under some circumstances won’t object.Trump did a good service for Bush. It’s not easy for boys to discover all such stuff, and swapping information in locker room banter is one of the best ways. When I was 12, Dad had yet to explain all such details to me. Bummer!I’ve never grabbed a woman and have never wanted to — didn’t want her treated that way. But I very much wish that I’d known that some women under some circumstances would like such behavior. Now from Trump’s tape, lots of boys are better informed.And lots of fathers now know to be sure to tell their daughters in no uncertain terms never to tolerate such attacks and that some boys will try such things.Our poor, struggling human civilization makes some progress sometimes.

  58. LE

    Thanks. The other easy to remember technique is the immediate head shake. So someone tells you their selling price (or gives you a counter offer). Simultaneous to hearing the number you begin to shake your head “no” and look disappointed. Actually it’s hard for me to describe exactly what to do since it’s an automatic process that is catered to each situation. You also have to be careful not to overuse it for the crazy dog catches on. [1]Different dog. First dog my parents sold it to someone who had a farm. Then they tell me that the dog was fighting with the other dogs. It made me so sad. Permanent damage from that one.[1] This is the story about when you run and a dog chases you you then run like a crazy person toward the dog not away from it. But it generally only works the first or second time until the dog figures out you are not a threat.