Philosopher W.V. Quine wrote a letter to James Harmon for his book, Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two. In his letter the philosopher writes about cultivating curiosity, striving for a job that you enjoy as much as your leisure time after the job, and building meaningful friendships. His letter is brief, but is full of wisdom that is easy to comprehend and powerfully reinforced in his writing.
In the first part of his letter he writes, “enjoy what you are doing, what you are seeing as fully as you can find anything in it to enjoy.” When I first read this section I thought about my “Luck Diary” that began after listening to an episode of Smart People Podcast. I had listened to an interview with Richard Wiseman who wrote a book about the science of luck, and one of his recommendations was to keep a journal of ones lucky experiences from each day. The journal reminds me of what good things happen each day, so that I go to bed focused on positive events rather than the negative. It also helps me be thankful for experiences that I have on a daily basis, and for all the good things that happen to me in general.
I think that Quine’s message in the quote above is very similar to Bruce Benderson’s message in my previous post about finding enjoyment in all that we do. Quine is encouraging everyone to find even the smallest pieces of the mundane tasks and chores of life that are enjoyable, and to savor those enjoyable pieces. Quine continues on to encourage us to look for careers where the mundane tasks that we dislike are at a minimum so that we can enjoy the work we do almost as much as we enjoy our leisure time after work. This strategy may make it a little easier to find the pieces that you enjoy, and focus on your luck for being around things that are enjoyable.