Category Archives: Philosophy

How to Use a Life

I was very interested to read Bob Jones’ article in the Herald entitled “Many Definitions of Happiness”

He says

We all have our own definitions for happiness. Putting aside family and friends considerations, mine is to wake each day with interesting and varied things to do; no more, no less.

Which I thought was a pretty nice definition actually.

And this is from a guy who has a property portfolio worth around $700 million.

And so a couple of questions come immediately to mind:

1)  Does one need a huge amount of money to “wake each day with interesting and varied things to do”?

2) Why such a simple requirement out of life from someone who has so much?  Like why doesn’t he want loads of fancy things like cars, planes, houses, clothes, attractive women around him etc. etc.

The answer to question 1, is surely, no.  You can be fairly broke and still have interesting and varied things to do each day.  In fact you can be on the dole and have your whole day to yourself to do many things as long as they don’t cost a lot of money.

But of course Bob’s simple desire does depend on a number of things such as: Living in a country where one is able to go about your business without being restricted by the powers that be, basic rule of law and so on.  There are many many countries where this is not the case.  So we’re pretty luck actually to live in a place where you can stroll down the road anywhere in the country, even stand up on a box and say the prime minister is a dick, or whatever you want to do and you will be left alone, as long as you are acting within the law.

The answer to question 2 is more complicated, but only a little.  The Lotto adverts show people leaping out of planes, quaffing expensive champagne on fancy boats and so on.  But this sort of lifestyle is appealing to anyone with half a brain for about 6 months.  If you carried on this way you’d be a 120kg miserable alcoholic.  You just can’t spend your whole life eating, drinking, getting massages or whatever.

And you soon bore of the fancy sports cars, the big pool at your  big house and all the other material things.

So what to do?  Well this of course is the eternal question…

In our westernised society you either have to find a job or start a business so you can pay your way in life.

I recently came across a couple of articles which discuss this really well.  The first is entitled “Don’t Do What You Love, Do What You Do” and is very good.  It references this article which discusses the whole “Do What You Love” fallacy in some depth.

And so I’m going to Do What I Do.