The Work is the Win

In the back of a comedy club, a struggling comedian got a chance to talk to Jerry Seinfeld.

He said he’d been struggling and sacrificing for about 10 years to make it” as a comedian. Approaching his 30s, he was worried he’d taken the wrong path.

Seinfeld gave him this advice:…

— Billy Oppenheimer (@bpoppenheimer) May 12, 2023

My friend is on a sabbatical and he’s spending it learning holistically about computers, his current focus learning low-level computing like compilers and assemblers. While passionate about computers, he’s also an expert in Artificial Intelligence, an area that has been rapidly growing. He’s struggling to decide if he should double down on AI or continue learning low-level computing.

I told him a story between Jerry Seinfeld and a struggling comedian. The comedian had devoted a decade to his career but had little to show for it. As he was closing in on thirty, he asked Jerry Seinfield if he should call it quits. Comparing his life to others, he said, My friends have made it; they have money, spouses, kids, houses and normality.”

Jerry remarks, This [gesturing towards the stage] is so special,” Seinfeld adds. This has nothing to do with making it.’”

For the struggling comedian, comedy was a means to an end. To Jerry, comedy was the end of itself.

After telling my friend this story he asked himself why he would pursue this AI trend anyways. Maybe it’ll make him wealthy. Then what? Do the exact same thing he’s doing right now: pursuing his curiosity and learning about subjects that interest him.

June 19, 2023

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