Optimizers are almost never happy

Once start working, everything falls into a pattern. Usually I hate repetition, especially mindless stuffs, but as long as it’s work-related, I am dedicated to pursue with 100% energy, cuz… well, people pay me money for doing things that they don’t want to do; therefore, those boring tasks become my responsibilities. Moreover, I love my boss and my boss’s boss too much to let them down: given the maximum possible length of time that I could work for them in my career, I would definitely cherish this fate and relationship. Working for respectable people is the most important driving factor for me right now.

Yes, most New Yorkers of our generation strive hard to be at the top of their field. Ambitious and competitive people are everywhere. But looking around, I feel like most people are seriously overestimating themselves. In reality, having a consistent record of strong performance versus being a predator just to prove oneself is better than others are completely different story.

I can’t say that I am happy all the time. But really, happiness is a relative term. For people like me who constantly look for something better, somewhere to improve themselves, we are just never complacent. By comparison, merely liking the status quo leads to stable happiness.

You see the tradeoff here? It’s all about the mixture and the balance of when to move forward, when to stop, to reflect and to enjoy what’s around.

Being slightly uncomfortable is probably the best state of life: it pushes you to acquire more awareness rather than feeling as if you already know everything.

However, optimizers who are always looking for the best of everything are almost never happy. They usually get greatness in their lives in many aspects, but they care too much.

As Penelope Trunk once pointed out:

What you really pay for with the exorbitant cost of living and the hard lifestyle is to be surrounded by strong performers, huge ambitions, and constant need for change and innovation. To live in New York City, you have to trade happiness for this. To most New Yorkers, it’s a no-brainer. They would take that trade any day. To most people outside of New York City the trade-off is crazy.

Do I value an interesting life over a happy life?


I guess I am at the exact right place during this period of my life.