The Only True Wealth Is Health

Steve Jobs is on indefinite medical leave again — in an email to his staff on MLK Day he cited health reasons. As a quintessential icon of our contemporary culture — to encompass business, technology, and influence — it saddens me greatly to see someone as hardworking as he to have to struggle through so many health issues.

Steve Jobs On Medical Leave

Update: On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away due to complications from advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

That brings me to the point that a freelance client once brought to my attention — “The only true health is wealth.”

In between trying to keep up with my business, my startup (one actualized, one conceptualized, and a few on paper), and grad school, I try to have a life outside of that. Most of that “life” is spent thinking about my work, planning how I’ll go about my work, about new projects I want to work on…you get the point. Every once in awhile I’ll turn on my Netflix or crack open a book that is not related to school, business, or marketing. I have an overflowing box of periodicals dying to keep my perspective contemporary. But alas…my brain wanders right back to where it began.

I’ve seen how hard my parents have worked. Their business not only required brains but, to some extent, brawn. They came back emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted from their work daily. My father always urged that I studied hard so that I could get a good job — one that required me to use my brain more than my brawn (as if I had any). Unfortunately I think somewhere along the line I had equated a job that required more thinking to be less physically laborious. I have been proven wrong a number of times in my life, and most severely in the last four. I have fallen ill with reemergent PTSD, strep throat, mono, bronchitis, and pharyngitis. I figure that I’m in my twenties and that it’s not a big deal, but honestly it’s a bit excessive for one human being.

I enjoy what I do. I freakishly enjoy what I do. So, I use it as an excuse to work whenever I want, where ever I want, for as long as I want. I jam pack my schedule to a point where I can’t even view my schedule in its entirety in the month view. I am one of the lucky ones with a full plate, an agenda, and the opportunity to do what I want to do, so I try not to waste it. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at the end of the day, the tunnel is really all in my head and every day I get better at placing that light just a little further out of reach. It’s as if I’m playing mind tricks on myself and continually rearranging the pieces on the game board to make things more challenging for myself…which I suppose really begs the idea of motivation theory.

Because of my fanatic work schedule, a lot of people ask me where I get my motivation. My family makes the assumption that I’m pulling in boatloads of cash. (Not true!) Don’t get me wrong — money is nice and it has the potential to provide me with comforts. The key word in that phrase is potential. However, my work — right now — provides me with that emotional and mental comfort. It challenges me. It makes me want to find better solutions to problems my clients (and my own projects) are facing. The thrill of challenging myself and finding those solutions are my primary motivations. I figure that the rest of it is just gravy and that somewhere on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs I’m just picking at the top level.

So, since I am not really in the right headspace to even be seriously blogging, I’ll leave you with a great video @SuYo and @maestroism both sent to me on the same day. It’s a great piece on motivation theory. For the best impact, watch it all of the way through. I had learned most of the information they brought to life via my own working experience but it is a great piece for entrepreneurs and business owners.