ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Success Isn’t More Deserved When It’s Hard . . . BRAH

In: WTF is Success, Anyway?

Can we talk about the fact that today is February 2nd? How is it February the 2nd already? Am I eighty hundred years old yet? Because time seems not to be going my way. (Though a friend did recently compliment me on my skin, however that was only because she didn’t see my neck. Is this the decade in which we slowly descend upon a dysfunctional, passive-aggressive relationship with turtlenecks?)

Speaking of time, you ever notice that when you’re away from the computer, the day goes by soooooo slowlyyyyyyy? You walk around outside for two hours and it feels like you’ve just CROSSED THE GREAT AMERICAN PLAINS. Like, how many months was I out there? Food! Water! Shelter! Bootlegged everything! Contrast that with time on the computer. You spend two hours on the thing and it feels like, I mean, teenage boys last longer.

^Welp, Ash just crossed THAT line.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time, and how we use it, and what it all means, and why we spend so much of it doing stuff that we totally fucking resent. Like, why are you doing that thing that you really, really, really hate? And, of course, then I put it through a business filter, because I put everything through a business filter, and I think about all of the things in business I’ve done over the years that I didn’t love doing, but that I did, because, for some reason, success feels more deserved when the stuff is hard.

AND TIME OUT LET’S UNPACK THAT BECAUSE WHAT?

Success feels more deserved when it’s hard?

That’s a disgusting thought. But once upon a time I started thinking about how that was sometimes true. And sometimes we self-sabotage and put ourselves through the wringer so we can feel like we totally deserve the money we’re making, and there’s no doubt about it, and we are NOT having too much fun (contrary to snide remarks other people make) and see? See? I’m suffering right along with you, too! Just because you’re suffering in your 9-5 job does not mean that I am not equally suffering, too, and to prove it, LOOK AT THE TERRIBLE THINGS I’M PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH.

Two things about this:

  1. Why is suffering such a badge of honor these days?
  2. What if you decided to sell things that made you feel super guilty pleasurable—and made money from that, instead? Would that be any less esteemed? Would that somehow cheapen your work? Would you somehow be less of a “serious professional” because you actually had fun, selling fun things, and doing fun stuff?

I’m convinced we should all be doing as much as we can to get ourselves off with our work. And yes, sometimes it can feel like you are totally cheating the system, but by NOT doing the things you love, you’re totally cheating yourself. Every morning when I get up to write, for example, and I write for three whole blissful hours, it feels like THE DIRTIEST THING EVER—like I am somehow reading Playboy or looking at porn or smoking marijuana in somebody’s parent’s garage. (Which, by the way, I need to disclaim: I have never done. Did I miss out?)

Ditto when it comes to Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends, and all of the other Unf*ckwithable things I have planned for this year. (LIKE GROUP TRIPS TO EUROPE. WE’RE VOTING NOW. ITALY IS IN THE LEAD, FOLLOWED BY CROATIA!) (ALSO LIKE THE NEW WEB DESIGN THAT’S COMING DOWN THE PIPELINE. WHATTTTTTTT.)

Because that’s really what this is all about, isn’t it? Not who can torture themselves the most, in order to earn money in “the most dignified, stuffy, I’M A SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL PLEASE TAKE ME SERIOUSLY kind of way,” but who can earn good money, period, and do it in a way that makes your life a fucking joy to live.

Can we agree that pleasure is an important part of the equation, already?

Pleasure is what we should really be competing on, here. “Those Jones’s, I tell you what, they are *ALWAYS* having a good time.”

Because pretty soon, you *are* going to have more wrinkles than you can hide with a turtleneck, and you *are* going to feel like not just two hours have passed you by, but maybe your entire life, and you *are* going to wonder if you lived well.

And even though this seems like a selfish conversation to be having in a world full of political animosity, maybe it’s an important one, too. Because living well should be the point of all of it—not just for you, but for all of us. Quality of life should be important—everyone’s.

And maybe, just maybe, aiming for pleasure is one of the most radical—and noble—moves you could make.

Love + Vodka,
Ash

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