Bill Waterson On The Inportance Of Inventing Meaning

James Clear shared the following excerpt from a Bill Watterson commencement speech. Its been banging around in my head for a while now. It’s easy to measure ourselves with the rulers provided by others. It’s much more rewarding to invent our own rulers and measurements based on whatever matters most to us. It can change over time, and it inevitably will evolve alongside our lives, but once we figure out what matters, we should make sure we don’t forget it. Easy to say, hard to do. Completely worth the effort.

“…having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

Full speech here: Some Thoughts on the Real World from One Who Glimpsed it and Fled

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