I loved the Bee Gees documentary on HBO, so much so that I would consider it worthwhile to pay for a month of HBOMax just to watch it. I am not ashamed to admit that I love their music, which takes me back to happy moments in my childhood. I also loved learning about their songwriting process, and I found it to be a moving and complex story about siblings working together. (I am literally only just now realizing the parallel to the Kopp sisters story. I’m not real insightful sometimes.)
One thing struck me: Over and over, through the years, you hear them say that their very specific goal was to be FAMOUS. And you know, when that’s your goal, you make very particular career decisions. You see this play out time and again as their fortunes rose and fell.
There are a lot of different reasons to make music or art, and they don’t have to be about fame or fortune. Just look at Seth Rogen and his ceramics.
Most of us WANT to make some money doing the thing we love, or…well, doing something, but what is the money FOR?
I mean, it’s to put food on the table, obviously. We all have long lists of things we’d do or buy if we had more money, but underneath all of that is the idea that if we had more money, our days would look different. We would do something other than what we’re doing right now.
I guess this wasn’t the case for the Bee Gees. Fame was the point. As long as they were doing “fame,” they got what they wanted. But I think that for a lot of us, we struggle with what we actually want and what we’ll do now to get what we want someday.
So it’s kind of like…we spend our days doing this thing that earns money so that someday we’ll have enough money to be able to stop spending our days doing that thing and instead spend them doing something else.
I think a lot of self-employed people in particular struggle with this: We get an idea to do something, but then there’s this question: Am I doing this because it’s something I genuinely want more of in my life, or am I doing it in the hopes that I’ll make enough money that I can then stop doing it and go on to do whatever I genuinely want more of?
Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference. And the difficulty is that if you put a lot of time and energy into doing a thing, you’ll generally get more of that thing. But maybe what you’re really hoping for is the freedom to have less of that thing.
It’s been such a hard year that I’ve been thinking a lot about how to fill my days with activities that are pleasurable in the moment, with no future outcome in mind.
And that got me thinking of this passage from The Little Prince, where a man is selling pills that quench your thirst, so you can save fifty-three minutes a week by not having to drink.
The little prince replies, “If I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”
I guess my point, which I admit is half-baked, has to do with finding the intrinsic value in doing the thing you’re doing, or finding a way to do more of the thing that has intrinsic value. I’ll leave that for you to ponder and I’ll do the same.