The Good Life

There is some throwaway Tucker line about how if you’re going to be fat, you better be cool because if you’re not, what are you offering the world? My point in the post about traffic and about Atlas Shrugged is “if you don’t make the world a better place, why exactly do you exist?” My feeling is that if you don’t make the people around you better then you are not working hard enough, you’re not bringing enough value to the table.

And that is why I run every night–in the rain or when I’m tired. It’s why I start my day a 7:30 and finish well after midnight. It’s why even when I eat, I read. And my only real break is when I spend time with my girlfriend–who by association makes me a better person. It’s why for most of what I get paid to, I’d probably do for free if I had to. It’s why this quote is above my bed.

History is composed of individuals who pushed ahead–who for whatever reason, innovated and raised the playing field. And at the same time, they were combated every single step by people who cherished regression and lived for spite. We broke through each sociological, intellectual and economic barrier because one was a little stronger than the other. We avoided equilibrium and stasis through their will and their insistence on having the last word.

There are an infinite number of ways for you to be part of the former and an equally large and tempting number of ways to be part of the later. But it doesn’t seem to me like it is much of a choice. So my question is this: If you’re not spending your time trying to improve yourself and by extension everything around you, what exactly are you spending your time on?

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.