If you read this article, you see they each have side projects, other musical interests and they do not devote full time to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And it sounds like their lives and their work are the better for it.
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One way to be calm is to have adequate variety in your life.
This article about how critical rest and relaxation are to productivity also, without saying it, has a lot to say about the value of variety! Enough rest and relaxation add variety to your life. I also think, in addition to rest and relaxation, variety itself can be rejuvenating, as well as lead to creative and innovative ideas since you have a wider range of experiences to draw upon.
Probably sounds like heresy.
Sometimes being a variety person takes guts.
Because sometimes variety trumps money.
There have been many times when I could have made more money, but chose not to so I could have time for the kinds of variety that make life worth living and make life interesting. Things like time to workout, or sleep enough, or see a friend, or cook a good meal, or learn something new, or create something, or explore, or spend time with family, or even something that makes some money but not as much as I could have made doing something else.
When I’m making decisions like these, I’m often acutely aware that I’m choosing to make less money than I could. It’s hard too because I don’t have much money, and don’t have a lot of room for error in terms of my budget. But both my main jobs right now are pretty flexible, so I often could be earning money when I’m not. I have both these jobs because they are flexible, so they allow time for variety and for work on my own projects (like varietypeople!) which may (or may not!) earn money in the future.
I listen to different parts of me, not just my wallet. Sometimes my body is saying, “We need a run!” And my body is so happy when we go for that run. Sometimes some part of me is saying “We need more socializing!” Or “More sleep!” Or “We need something different today, not just the same old things we’ve been doing lately!” You get the idea.
If you can manage it, and perhaps tolerate it, I highly recommend work that is flexible. That way, you can listen when variety seems to be trumping money.
Perhaps we should start posts here that list jobs we know of that are flexible, and allow for the kinds of decisions in favor of variety that I’ve mentioned. Here are my two main current jobs: One is a Field Rep for the US Census Bureau, where you get cases to work, but can mostly choose when you want to work on them. The other is being a background artist, also known as an extra, on TV shows and films, which I can choose to be available for day-by-day. I’m tagging this post with the tag “flexible work ideas” so if you have ideas for other kinds of flexible work that allows for variety, please tag your post similarly. You can also add your “flexible work ideas” in comments to this post.
Come to think of it, both my jobs also have quite a bit of variety themselves. Interviewing people in Census surveys means I meet a very wide variety of people. And being an extra means I’m always going to different locations and studios, playing different roles, and dressing in different wardrobe for the parts. I guess I’ll also tag this post “jobs with variety” to capture that idea. Perhaps you know of some jobs like that too, and can post about them and tag them the same way. You can also add your “jobs with variety” ideas in comments to this post.
Even having two different jobs can be awesome. If I only did one of my jobs, I couldn’t take it. But this way, I’m often like, “OMG, I’m so glad I’m doing this and not my other job today!” This change can be so refreshing.
I watched a documentary recently called “Happy.” It included a really wonderful section about cohousing in Denmark.
This cohousing seems to increase the variety in people’s lives. For example, they only have to cook dinner once or twice a month because everyone helps with the cooking. This frees up, one respondent said, about two hours every day for her.
One of the kids there also mentioned that it’s great to have more adults around. For example, if they get hurt, it doesn’t matter which adult helps, and there are more adults likely to be able to help.
They didn’t say this, but it’s likely the kids get a wider variety of parenting, growing up with a more diverse perspective. It’s also likely that if one parent can’t help them with something, another one probably can.
The main mother they interviewed said she had lived in the cohousing for 6 years, and would happily live there 6 more.
Just because machines are specialized, please don’t think you should be.
You’re not a machine (most likely!). You are a complex human being, that thrives on many different things.
The world is chock full of stories of people who specialize, become successful, and then become victims of their own specialization.
Someone once said that poison is often a matter of how large the dose is. With many things, a little bit can be wonderful. But a large amount, or too much, can kill you, either slowly, or quickly.
To be interesting, and engaging, and to feel alive, and to engage with the world, and to connect with people, you’ve got to be both different as well as accessible. You’ve got to be complex enough people can’t quite figure you out, yet they feel comfortable with you as well. How can you do all that? Embrace variety.
A life made full with variety is the best way I know of to really win at life. Partly because it becomes not about winning.
I guess this partly relates to the adage “living well is the best revenge.”
It also relates to something I’ve said from time to time: Variety — it’s the best kind of wealth.
If you watch the “making of” documentary on the Casablanca DVD, you’ll see how many different sorts of people contributed to it, especially to the writing of it. I think it’s quite possible the interactions of this wide variety of talent played a huge role in making Casablanca one of the great movies.
Another ProxPattern that played a role is allowing some uncertainty. They talk about not knowing how the film would end, up until very near the end of the shooting. This allowing of tension throughout the making of it I think also contributed to the special quality of the film.