Living a Dangerously Unhealthy Life

To follow on from the Death by Blogging post I wrote earlier, read Jason Calacanis' post on What the New Your Times' "Death by Blogging" Story Got Right. It's long, but it's worth a read.

He writes:

The New York Times sees the common thread amongst these folks as blogging, but that's a superficial assessment. The truth is the common thread amongst these four individuals--and it's kind of shocking the New York Times missed this--is they were all entrepreneurs.

The Times would have been better off blaming entrepreneurship over blogging. Of course, there are tons of healthy entrepreneurs out there who are not dying, and a certain number of men between 35-60 die from stress on a regular basis, so the story's premise is flawed from the start.


... however there is one thing the New York Times did get right: the human species inability to deal with stress.

I know where Calacanis is coming from because I've been there myself.

Back in 2005-06 I went through a really difficult period in my life: my mother had just died (less than three months after we discovered the cancer), I was having a hard time at work (one of my colleagues had left and I was stuck doing his job which, at the time, was way over my head), I was working evenings and weekends on a second job (finances were an issue and I enjoyed the second job much more than the first), and I hadn't gotten the scholarship I needed for my MBA (though I did, thankfully, get it in the subsequent round). All this coupled with a mostly unhealthy lifestyle (specifically, no regular exercise) and very little drumming (which is a great stress reliever) left me burnt-out and bordering on depression.

Interestingly, it was the hard time I was having at work that prompted me to go for an MBA in the first place so at least one good thing came out of all this!

Things have changed since then (life is simpler when you're a student anyway; especially when you're on an international student's budget!) and I like to think I've learnt a few valuable lessons on how not to live along the way. Ironically enough, the MBA has taught me a lot about how to live a more balanced life as well [1]. And now the jobs I'm applying to and the life my wife and I intend to lead are both going to be of the more balanced kind. And though I do enjoy (yes, actually enjoy) the occasional 60 hour work week, I know that it should be a deadline-approaching exception to the norm.

So thanks, Jason, for that blog post. I needed it to remind myself about what is important in life. Others need to hear that kind of advice as well. Let's just hope everyone listens.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[1] I learnt this primarily through some teachers and one of my career counsellors. A heartfelt thanks, then, to Gavin Lister, Amanda Sinclair, John Onto, and Brian Gibbs.