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“Do the work. Be happy with that. Everything else is irrelevant.”

This was the last line in the Oct 3 issue of the Daily Stoic newsletter. It was a reminder that it’s the work that matters, not so much the awards or prizes it could win. 

The start of the newsletter highlighted a quote by Nassim Taleb: “Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel, or a private jet.”

Hard work, great work is not always rewarded. There’s a little bit of luck — being at the right place, at the right time — at play as well. 

But without the work, all the luck in the world won’t be able to help. 

The Daily Stoic newsletter reminds me that the distinction lies in knowing what’s up to me, and what’s out of my hands. 

“Pioneering new research in science—that’s up to us. Being recognised for that work (e.g. winning a Nobel) is not.

“Writing a prize-worthy piece of literature—up to us. That’s time in front of the keyboard. That’s up to our genius. Being named as a finalist for the Booker Prize is not.”

Striving for rewards is all good. But at the end of the day, if there were no rewards to be had, the work is all I have. 

“Be happy with that. Everything else is irrelevant.”

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