work

“You’re Matt?”

Last night I counted 17 dreams that happened or attempted to happen, and I know there were many more that I wasn’t lucid for. An interesting thing about being aware of my dreams is that I know how they affect me, i.e., whether they make me happy, sad, whatever. I always wonder if other people can’t remember their dreams, and if that’s where the saying “got out of the wrong side of the bed” comes from, meaning that they had a dream or series of dreams overnight that triggered them in a certain way.

I was about to get out of bed this morning when another dream started, so I let it play out to see what was going to happen. At first I was working with a man and a woman at some company, and we couldn’t figure out how something was supposed to work. Then the woman and I ended up making out in a car outside the building. After that, she and I were goofing around at some sort of amusement park. I was in a swimming pool, holding some sort of swim/water-related device I had just broken, and decided I had had enough of the dream, so I was about to wake myself up.

What do you do for a living?

I went to a local coffee shop and a talkative man behind the counter asked what I do for work. I told him I’m currently writing three books on computer programming, one young adult novel, and a mindfulness app for iOS and Android, in addition to running this website. When you say it out loud it sounds a little crazy, but in the midst of it it’s not a problem, I like bouncing between the projects.

If you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness ...

“If you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion and respect, then you can do any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you will ultimately reach your goal.”

~ the Dalai Lama, in this tweet

Perform the work that has to be done without attachment

I like most of Dana Stabenow’s work, and while I didn’t particularly like Dead in the Water, I did enjoy some of the quotes in the book, such as, “Always perform the work that has to be done without attachment,” which comes from the Bhagavad Gita, of which there are many translations (such as this one, this one, and this one).

Use what you got

Thought of the last day or two: "Don't let what you don't have keep you from using what you do have." (Lou Holtz) Or in my case, "Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do."

Which reminds me of the song, Use What I Got, by Jason Aldean.

The need for discipline disappears when ...

“The need for discipline disappears when you love what you’re doing.”

~ paraphrasing Tony Gonzalez from a Hall of Fame interview this past week

The frustration of working with people who aren’t “A” Players (or don’t care)

Let me start by saying that I don’t know if I’m an “A” Player. In part, that definition depends (a) on what work I’m doing, and (b) who you compare me to. For instance, if you compare me to Linus Tourvalds as a Linux C programmer, I’m very clearly not an A Player. Shoot, I’m not even a player.

But if you were to judge me on other skills, I’d like to say that I’m at least a B Player in the things I care about. As I wrote in my book, A Survival Guide for New Consultants, my superpower as a programmer/analyst is empathy; I care about my work, and about my success and my client’s success. If you pay me $100,000 to do some work, I want you to make at least 2X or 10X or more from my work. I want my clients and sponsors to succeed.

Beyond that care, since I began paying attention to Apple and Jonathan Ive starting back around 2005, I’ve become more interested than ever in quality. When I work on something, I imagine that I’m either working with Mr. Ive, or that I’m going to have him review my work, and I want it to be impeccable.

Quotes about work and Zen (practicing Zen at work)

For many years I struggled with how to combine two of my main interests, Zen and work. I have read that the Zen mind is the mind before thinking, so it seems like Zen and work must be totally unrelated. Over time I came to understand phrases like, “When working, just work.”

This article contains a collection of quotes that have been helpful to me in understanding the relationship between Zen and work. Please note that I don’t wrap each quote in double quotes, and I also try to attribute each quote to the correct author/speaker. If you’re interested in how to combine Zen and work, I hope you’ll find them helpful.