In the second part of John Allison’s Ayn Rand lecture he spoke about work. Now, the subject of work rarely surfaces in this Slow Life blog, which is mainly preoccupied with gardening and food, music and art. But of course, Slow Life is very much about achieving the right balance between work and leisure and in finding that balance how much weight should be given to work? John Ellison had some interesting things to say about this.
He began with the premise that the vast majority of human beings want to make the world a better place and that it’s important to believe that your work is making the world a better place. If your work is just work, he said, you are missing what life is about and if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing you are wasting your life. He also observed, and this is at the core of the Objectivist philosophy, that self-esteem is the foundation of happiness. The driver of self-esteem, he said, is your work, and if you don’t do your work the best you can, you will lose your self-esteem and be unhappy. On the other hand, if you can say- “That was a lot of blood sweat and tears and I’m glad I did it”, you will be happy.
This sounds right to me. There are times when your work just has to take over, and there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s as fulfilling as your leisure time. In other words the right work/life balance will change from day to day, from week to week and from year to year.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this “Who Is John Galt” poster, brilliantly prepared for the event by Teresa Bianchi of iMadeBritain.com.