Strong opinions, weakly held

Paul Buchheit on living life

I didn’t link to the original “tiger mom” story that was published in the Wall Street Journal because I’m not a parent and I don’t know a whole lot about parenting. Besides, people who criticize other people’s parenting styles are jerks. (If you missed the original article, it’s here.)

Today I read Paul Buchheit’s response, which discusses intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation contains a lot of wisdom. You can’t beat his basic approach to life:

My strategy can be reduced to two rules: 1) Find a way to make it fun and 2) If that fails, find a way to do something else.

And this hit home for me, as I’m sure it does for many people:

One of the problems I’ve faced throughout life is that I’m kind of lazy, or maybe I lack will power or discipline or something. Either way, it’s very difficult for me to do anything that I don’t feel like doing.

I think that a life full of things you feel like doing is a pretty good life. Oddly enough, for me they don’t necessarily have to be fun as long as they enable to attain a goal that is genuinely important to me.


  1. “Besides, people who criticize other people’s parenting styles are jerks.”


  2. What Chris Said.

  3. My late step-father’s best advice to me was: “If you get bored with something, stop doing it immediately and do something more fun. If you find something you really want to do, just drop everything else and do it.”

    I haven’t always been in a position to take that advice, but I try to keep it in mind, and have acted on that advice numerous times (including moving to the US from England). Mostly I do so by trying to be in a position where I could stop doing something immediately without panicking. Renting & keeping a rainy day fund have been helpful there. People talk about working at startups long enough to “make their f— you money”, but they always seem to have an amount of money in mind much larger than I think is required for a f— you fund, and as a result often seem to spend a lot of time grinding away at jobs they hate.

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