Why do you want to do great things

As a newbie to the software industry, I sometimes feel scared out by the scale of things that people do around the world. Its always hard to be persistent. I recently stumbled on a comment from HackerNews. It kept me going. I had to share this,

Why do you want to do great things? Seriously, dig into it. When I ask a lot of people in startups this question and dig long enough, it comes down to money– they want to be rich, they want to be free.

Fact: I’ve met these rich/free people and they are largely working their asses off to get more rich (and presumably more free?). The ones who make it (largely) LOVE THE GAME. The few who get rich somehow but don’t actually love the game of getting rich are listlessly complaining about being unhappy.

You don’t love the game, it seems. The way to be happy/satisfied is to find the game that you love or learn to love the game you’re playing. The latter is often what to focus on– there people with much less interesting jobs that are satisfied with them. Whatever job you have, figure out how to be freakin’ awesome at it and opportunities fall into your lap- trust me. Or be the guy who gets by, can’t be happy, is always looking out the window.

All that said, don’t settle for a shitty job. Get one where you’re surrounded by people who impress you in an industry/market that has potential. That’s where you’ll find your next co-founder.

If you’ve got great ideas, start side projects. They turn into businesses all the time.

Reduce your burn rate ruthlessly and save $. Seriously, your car/house/clothes are too nice, and you have them because society makes you feel less successful if you don’t. Happiness and stuff have virtually no correlation. Get to the point where you’re downright smug about your burn rate. Smirk at people who drive BMWs.

Remember that a million years of evolution has made humanity naturally discontent– do you think happiness/contentedness is a survival trait? Add to that the external pressure of peers who make it big, do “great things”, and the river of marketing telling you that you need fancier watches, shinier cars, the newest iPhone. Being happy/content takes smarts and discipline that most people simply can’t manage. Be one of the ones who can.