#14 – My hierarchy of needs

I think I’m done with hobbies. We have had some fun, made a few puts, hit a few jumpers, baked a cake, strummed a few notes, but I think it is time we parted ways.

This is sort of strange for me as I’ve always thought hobbies were something every person should have. I took pride in the fact my hobbies were diverse and numerous. I was a man of the world, exploring all that it had to offer.

Today I’d go sailing, tomorrow maybe a game of badminton followed by an evening of classical guitar playing and sipping fine wines. I was the most interesting man in the world, or at least in the 19041 zip code.

It is my intention to start widdling my life down to what is most important. Is learning to hit a fairway bunker shot or play Stairway to Heaven going to help me get where I want to go? Probably not.

Several months ago I decided to sell my guitar. I love music, but what I really loved was the idea of being the kind of person who played the guitar. So, despite having rocked out maybe five times in the past 10 years I kept my guitar, convinced that someday I’d be in the rock band I had always dreamed of.

I decided enough was enough, I was never going to spend the time to get good at playing the guitar and so up on Ebay it went.

Next up on the chopping block my gold clubs. I’ve not gotten rid of my clubs, nor do I think I can, but I have come to view the one sport I once loved more than any other as a complete waste of time. I’m never going to be good at golf. Could I be good at golf? Probably, but like guitar playing I’m never going to put in the time to get good at it.

What is the point spending time on something just to be mediocre at it when I can put that energy towards doing something that might actually make me happy?

What I’m looking for will not be found in any extracurricular activity.

This morning I was listening to Howard Stern and he was interviewing Tiny Fey, they were talking about the Vanity Fair Oscars after party. At the after party there was a photo booth where celebrities could go and get their picture taken. Howard and Tina were amazed at this phenomenon. Howard commented that there must be a black pit an endless pit of need inside the celebrities that after being showered with praise and attention at the Oscars feel they still needed more.

Normal people would have gotten their fill of being seen already.

Is that what hobbies are for me, a way to fill an endless black hole of need that was not being met by my work? That maybe a little extreme but I do feel there is some truth there. Whatever satisfaction I was looking for in my professional life and was not getting, I filled with outside interests.

I do not want to hop from one interest to another hoping to fill the void in my professional life. I want to find work that I feel so compelled to do I no longer have a desire nor the time for outside activities. My work will be an extension of who I am. It will afford me the opportunity to do what I love day in and day out rendering the need for hobbies irrelevant.

So just to reiterate, I don’t want a hobby let alone hobbies.

Tiny Fey doesn’t have a hobby, Jerry Senifeld doesn’t have a hobby and I’m going to assume neither did Mother Theresa. They could not even fathom of having enough time to pursue a hobby. They are too busy doing what they are called to do, making people laugh and helping the poor. I think you can figure out who does what.

I’m sure if you were to ask Jerry now he may lay claim to have a hobby or two but I doubt he likes it very much. Despite having more money than God he still works. He not only continues to tour doing stand up but has incredibly entertaining web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.  Work is his hobby.

That is what I want. Work I love so much I could spend 16 hours a day doing it, because I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.

I’m not looking for work just so I can retire. I don’t want the point to be, I work hard so someday I can stop doing what it is I’ve spent most of my life doing.

I look at my Uncle. He is a very successful entrepreneur and someone who I respect and admire at what he has accomplished professionally. He has gotten to a point where he still owns his business but he really only spends 2-3 days a week there max. Is that I want? I thought I did, but I don’t.

I want to love what I do so much that even after I’m successful I want to keep doing it. I will take days off but not because I want to but  because I feel like it might be a good idea.

Jerry Seinfeld could afford to take time off, but he doesn’t want to. I don’t want to. My uncle, he wants to.

I think he feels incredibly grateful for his company; he certainly has been successful by most any metric except than the one I’m using.

In the words of Mr. Rob Bell, it is that thing you cannot, not do. Mick Jagger can’t stop making music, Jerry Seinfeld can’t stop making comedy, my Uncle he can stop doing what he is doing.

This is not to say I don’t want to be an entrepreneur. I’m just saying if I’m to be successful and happy my business will need to look and be different for me than it is for my uncle. I can’t really imagine currently what that would look like but, I’m holding the space for it to appear.

There would need to be more to my being an entrepreneur than making sure budgets are in place, the packing designed, recipes tweaked and the new product is on target to launch.

It needs to be more than just business stuff if that makes any sense.

This post is seems to be turning into a therapy session for me, which is okay, that was kind of the intention of the blog in the first place. I’m working through all the shit rattling around me head. That was not a typo, I was talking in my Irish accent.

At this point I want to be clear that I’m not advocating for or saying I want to be a workaholic. Work should not and will not define who I am. If I look at my life like a pie chart it really has only 3 main areas, let’s call them Todd’s hierarchy of needs.

At the bottom you have family, followed by spirituality then work, for me these are the equivalent of food, breath, water, etc. If I have those 3 areas of my life satisfied then everything else is just gravy and right now I feel pretty darn good about my spiritual and family life. When it comes to family I’m about as lucky as it gets. I realize I’m way ahead of most people, but I’m still going to purposefully and passionately search to find the “work” piece.

Workaholics only have the work piece. They use work to make up for the God sized void in their spiritual and family life. Their focus is only on work, completely ignoring anything else. I look at that as like having just your breath, but no food or water, you will live, barley, but sooner rather than later you will die.

Okay so let’s see if we can put a nice little bow on this post and wrap it the fuck up.

I’m going to throw out, at least for the time being hobbies that don’t serve me.

Golf gone, guitar playing gone, record collecting gone, basketball gone, extreme ironing and competitive dog grooming, you guessed it, gone. Okay so maybe I made the last 2 up, but you get the idea.

What stays; spending time with my family, running, cooking and writing. That is it, everything else is superfluous.

Seinfeld was talking with Steve Harvey on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and they were discussing golf. Harvey said, “I’m busy as hell, I’m not gonna get good at this(golf).” Jerry then  commented, “if your golf game is good, something else is going to have to suffer.”

So it appears as if I will continue to suck at golf for the foreseeable future. FORE!!!




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