Something For Those Who Hate Mondays

Danny Choo is a guestblogger on Boing Boing. Danny resides in Tokyo, and blogs about life in Japan and Japanese subculture - he also works part time for the empire.

What day of the week do you dislike the most?

I ask folks this question from time to time and more often than not, the reply is usually "Monday."

When asked the reason, most would say "because I have to go back to work or school."

Typical answer yet interesting. If one dislikes Monday because of school or work then why does one continue to go back to work or school? I believe that folks like this are probably in the wrong job or studying the wrong course and probably should look for something that enables them to enjoy Mondays - and every other day for that matter. Those who genuinely enjoy work or school probably wont give "Work or School" as the reasons they dislike Monday.

Quality Not Quantity
I watched an extremely moving documentary about a girl called ashley who had a medical condition called Progeria where her body aged 13 times faster than a normal human being. The condition is said to affect 1 in 8 million newborns. A person with the condition normally dies at the age of 13. She just had her 14th birthday and she knew that she was going to die any day. She said that she was prepared to die and that she had lead a great life up until now - it was all about her experiences, the friends she was able to meet and being happy. Living a longer life was not important. The quality of life over quantity was more important.

Death Is A Reality
We watch the news and see people dying left right and center - people being stabbed, run over or just plain dying in everyday accidents. Many folks who see/read about others dying don't usually think much about it - and the folks who died probably didn't think too much about it either.

I was talking to my estate agent at the time we purchased our house - I asked him how I should go about writing my will - he looked at me as if I started to grow horns and said that people don't usually write their will until they are about 60. I was thinking to myself "apart from being a liar, this estate agent is an idiot too."

This may seem the obvious but the thing is, none of us have been given a guarantee that we are going to live until we are golden. One could live in the "safest" part of the world, be healthy and still have their life cut short by a knife, bullet or drunken driver. None of us know when we are going to die but there is one thing that we do know for sure - we all will die someday - could be in another 30 years time, could be tomorrow morning. Death is a reality that we must all understand - its the final piece of our jigsaw puzzle that we all will collect.

(more after the jump)

The Comfort Zone

Now I would like to talk about something I call the "Comfort Zone."

The comfort zone is where one is content with their current situation and I'm going to use an ex colleague who I shall name as Sally as an example. Sally had a job doing what she was good at (web design) and had a small team to manage. She had a good salary and good working hours considering that it was Tokyo.

But she wanted more from her life than just being content - she wanted to be happy. My personal interpretation is that being happy and being content are two different things. Being content fulfills basic human needs of being able to eat and have shelter. Being happy is going a step further and fulfilling the need to live ones passion.

One day, I asked Sally why she didn't start to do something about her situation. She said that she was waiting for somebody to give her an opportunity. When I asked "who", she said "I don't know..."

Sally was in the Comfort Zone and going nowhere fast. Her comfort made it difficult for her to take her own initiative to seek other opportunities.

The Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is a jigsaw puzzle. You don't know whats going to go where, you don't know where the pieces are but you do know that you need to keep looking for the pieces and figure out where they go. All events that happen to you is a piece of your puzzle. if you are stuck in a rut at school or work and keep asking yourself the "what if" question then its a sign telling you that there are no more pieces of the puzzle to be found where you are.


I could have chosen 15 years-ish ago to stay in the comfort zone content making shoes back in London. I was content but kept asking myself the "what if" question. I knew I wanted more to life but didn't know what it was until I discovered how passionate I was about Japanese culture.

I chose to seek my passion instead - done everything I could to get me closer to my dream including taking a BA in Japanese at London University, working nights after classes at a Japanese restaurant (t'was the Benihana's in Chelsea) so that I could save enough money to travel to Japan every year to absorb the culture. Ended up as a Computer Engineer at Japan Airlines and finally got hired by the Japan office of the scientific journal Nature. I reached my first destination.

The second destination was for me to start up a business by the age of 35 which I managed to do. I didn't want to take any venture funding or angel investment so needed to find other ways of building up capital.

As Website Manager at Amazon, I helped with the launch of the Japanese Amazon Associates Web Service API. I built the first ever Japanese AWS powered website and with permission of the Finance Director at the time, all Amazon products on my site had an associate tag.

I set up a sole proprietorship in Japan so that I could declare my earnings and expenses which you can legally do on a working visa - if you are doing stuff on the side then I recommend you to set one up and if you are doing it in Japan then here are the instructions.
Learning about the accounting involved in running a proprietorship brought me a step closer to setting up my own company.

At first I thought it would be great to earn something like 60 USD per month to pay for the phone bills. Didn't see the earnings reach that amount at all and realized that I needed to learn more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), server side caching and what have you. Through this research and learning, the income from Amazon associates not only started to pay for the phone bill but started to pay for just about everything - bills, food and even covered my wife's salary.

While Amazon affiliate earnings paid for the daily stuff, salary from Amazon was being banked and helped with the 50,000 USD needed to set up a company - at the time, foreigners needed to invest that much (about 5 million yen) to start up a company. The affiliate earnings also helped us buy our current house too. These days you can set up a company with 1 yen but would probably find it difficult to do business when potential clients see how much you invested in your company.

Left Microsoft after spending a year with them as a Product Manager managing some of the Windows Live services to start up my current company Mirai Inc which focuses on licensing a community e-commerce platform called Mirai Gaia.

Many of our clients are Japanese companies in the subculture and entertainment field which makes my current job a dream job - doing something I'm passionate about (building websites) for clients who operate in an area that interests me most.

Life is great and I love my job and life in Japan. You can achieve anything with passion and focus. Destination 2 reached.

Getting To The Point
Given today's technology, one can put wo/man on the moon, split the atom and even replace the keyboard with a single wheel. But what humans have not figured out is how to sell bottles of time on the shelf. Just imagine - you walk into a store and say "Gimme the usual bottle of 1 hour."

Time is not on your side - its a friend for the duration for life but it never sides with you - never be under the assumption that time will favor you.

Self - Our Biggest Enemy
Many people make excuses for themselves like "but I got no time to do X" or "by the time I get home I'm so tired." These people are actually their own biggest obstacle because they build a tall wall of an excuse to do nothing.

If one can make time to eat, poo and pee then one can make time if they are passionate enough to start learning, experiencing, building or meeting. Lets encourage ourselves - not discourage buy making excuses.

The human race is still relatively young and we all have basic needs. One of the needs is to eat.

If you just sat in front of your computer for hours on end, most of you will eventually get up from your desk and seek food.

If there is nothing in the refrigerator or cabinets, you will either call for a pizza or go out to get something.

If all the shops around you were closed, you would travel to another part of town to seek food. You could alternatively wait until the morning when the shops open but you will still go out to get food.

The point I'm trying to make here is that if you really want something, you have the ability to get it.

Some of us have health constraints that may prevent us from easily doing stuff but if you are relatively healthy and can easily move around then you really don't have any excuse to do nothing.

Wrap Up
If you are unhappy with your current line of work and presuming that you work for 8 hours, sleep for 8 hours and use the reminder of the 8 hours for commutation, hygiene, recreation and nourishment consumption, you are spending 33% of your life doing something that constantly fuels that burning question of "what if"- don't fuel that question anymore - go out and do something!

It could be anything from starting to meet recruiters, taking up a new course or activity, research, meeting people with similar interests and so on. I may make it sound plain and simple but in fact it is. Something leads to something. Nothing leads to nothing.

Money is indeed important in this society we live in and I understand that one may need to do something that one may not exactly like to make ends meet. But, one can also be doing something on the side at the same time (learning, experiencing, meeting) in order to fulfill ones real passion. If you truly believe in yourself, your skills and ability, then you will be successful anyway - meaning that if you are going to ditch a well paid job to take a risk of a lower paying position where you can fulfill your passion, you will eventually make it anyway - because its you.

Taking the leap from safe comfortable steady ground into an unknown void is not something that comes easily. Humans basic instinct is to protect itself and places priority on food and shelter and taking risks could affect these necessities.

But life is not just about being comfortable - its about living your passion.

You can spend most of your life doing something you dislike to bring in the money which pays the bills which enables you to go back to work another day to bring in the money which pays the bills...

Life is short. One may not appreciate just how short it is while we are young but really start to understand as we get older. I'm in my late 30's now and am under no illusion whatsoever that I'm going to die at old age - I could die anytime like any of us. I want to ensure that I died while living a life doing what I love most. Don't want to live forever and am happy with the time I've been given - will make sure I make the most of the rest of my life and I hope you do too.

As for me - hopefully you can tell I love Mondays ;-)

Photos in this post taken from my last Kamakura visit.


  1. I really thought that said:

    “Something For Those Who Hate Monkeys”

    I read the entire post and was like, “There is nothing about monkeys in here!”

  2. One of the reasons that death is so dramatic these days is because of our disconnection from this morbid reality.
    100 years ago it was very different.
    You lived daily with death.
    Lowered life expectancy, infant mortality, hunting for food, dangerous occupations..death was all around us then.

    Now it is relegated to supermarkets and ICUs.

    This lack of understanding and contact adds to our grief.

    I know this, I have lost too many over the years.

  3. This is a wonderful, inspiring post. Great photographs as well, I particularly like the row of Jizo at the top.

    One thing though, you realize that the macbook “wheel” story is an Onion piece, right? It’s a parody. Quotes within the story should be a tip off, like “everything on your hard drive is just a few hundred clicks away” and “I’ll buy almost anything as long as it’s shiny and made by Apple”.

  4. @JimH, I bet he did recognize that it was a joke, and opted to include it without mentioning that because it’s funnier that way. He used the same technique in the previous posts.

    I think one of the things that makes pursuing one’s passion harder than pursuing food is the physical sensation. Our bodies are hard-coded to feel hungry when we need food and feel satisfied when we eat food. By default, that’s not true of pursuing passions. It’s possible to reprogram yourself so that it is true, but it’s a subtle art that varies with the person. Until you achieve that, you will often forget what you are passionate about, not because you are not passionate about it, but because it is not presently affecting your body.

    This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, just that you shouldn’t doubt your own passion just because you forget about it sometimes.

  5. My 2¢ on the topic of Mondays is as follows. I have disliked Mondays even when I was totally psyched about what I was doing (college) or at least neutral about it (work.) I think what aggravates me about Monday is the physical and mental discomfort than naturally arise from transitioning between two different activity cycles. For one, I am always under-slept on Monday mornings. I’m naturally a night owl, which is at odds with having somewhere to be in the morning. Friday and Saturday, I can’t help by indulging in late evenings, and Sunday night invariably involves lying sleeplessly in bed well past when I know I should be sleeping to be properly rested for Monday. By Tuesday, I get back into the grove and the rest of the week is fine. I apologize for being a little off topic.

  6. It must be something about web designers that makes us have an underlying resentment for our career choice and to yearn to be part of something more important, like “Sally” in the story above.

    life.careerSatisfaction {
    visibility: hidden;


  7. Have you seen/heard this song “Every Sunday Afternoon”? It’s about Ashley (the girl with progeria).

    Nice, eh?

    My girlfriend told me about it just a few days back… and has been singing it around the house ever since.

  8. After everyone saying nasty shit about Danny’s posts this week I feel terrible about writing this, but this seems very misguided.

    Maybe I’m just feeling especially existential/nihilistic, but I don’t know how people who feel fucked in their careers can suddenly turn around and “do what they want to make themselves happy despite their imminent demise.”

    How can you possibly think about your imminent death and also be happy/unhappy at doing something? If you retain a hyper awareness of your mortality, shouldn’t you be “grateful” to be doing anything at all? How the fuck do we explain “doing something for the PASSION of it” to someone in a third world country who has no fucking choice?

    Lately, I’m very confused as to the significance and usefulness of Western-based “happiness.” Call me a fucking curmudgeon, but I think it’s bullshit to hoist this notion upon humanity.

  9. @1 UKNOWBETTER … I did the same thing. I skimmed the whole thing, trying to get to the part about monkeys.

    It was only when I read your comment that I realized my mistake.

    The sad thing is that I was really looking forward to see what kind of thing was being presented to simian-haters.

    The saddest thing is that I was once an English major.

  10. Excellent post. After years of doing web design myself, I am now in my mid thirties, and just formed my own corporation, doing something I’m passionate about.

    In addition to that being awesome in itself, I frequently am so busy that I have no idea what day it is, so Mondays are irrelevant. Bonus!

    #8: I simply choose not to worry about those things that I can’t change. I know I’m going to die someday, but what’s wrong with enjoying the time you have? In my case that meant not doing a job that made me miserable and taking a chance on doing something that actually made me happy.

  11. I love this post. I especially love the first photo.
    I always say one thing to people who say, “I don’t have the time.” The fact is, you do have the time. You have 24 hours in your day, just like me. You may choose to prioritize other things over this, but be honest about that.

    I’ve found this gets through to a lot of people.

  12. throwing away your scabbard meant both resignation to what Fate might bring – including death – and also abstracting yourself from caring by living a greater Truth. Very pure. Also very stupid as Miyamoto Mushashi remarked to an opponent who had done just that: “Ya dumb fuck, that means you ARE gonna die” …. or so it is told.

  13. throwing away your scabbard meant both resignation to what Fate might bring – including death – and also abstracting yourself from caring by living a greater Truth. Very pure. Also very stupid as Miyamoto Musashi remarked to an opponent who had done just that: “Ya dumb fuck, that means you ARE gonna die” …. or so it is told.

  14. it’s OK Stolia, there are worse things than an English major. Hillbilly with an English degree for instance.

  15. I like my job.

    I like my workplace.

    I like my co-workers.

    What I hate is the very concept of work. The fact that I’m not doing what I want all the time, and need to perform tasks to provide for myself, is what upsets me. I want to do mechanical engineering for the rest of my life, but I want to do it whenever I feel like doing it and not because I need to.

    I know my feelings on this are very impractical, but that’s why I hate Monday. It’s also why I like Culture novels by Iain M. Banks.

  16. Personally, I’ve always hated tuesdays more. Monday is just a hazy, pain-filled blur. Tuesday is the same shit, but you’re awake enough to really feel it. It’s like monday squared.

  17. The author does seem to skip over the possibility that you’ll pursue your dream and fail, potentially resulting in a situation with neither happiness or comfort.

    It’s all well and good to be an extreme optimist about life, but pursuing comfort is a very reasonable strategy if you assume that life is basically a sorrowful, unpleasant thing– achieving comfort means that it’s not that bad right now. Success!

  18. I gotta say that I am loving Danny’s posts – this one in particular resonates with my situation.

    I very recently came to the same conclusions – I was in a comfortable job as a concierge at a 5* hotel in London, it was interesting and paid OK but it had no bearing on anything that I was passionate about, I kept thinking ‘next year I’m going to do something new’ or ‘some day something will come up’.

    Eventually I realised I needed to get on with it. So I quit, moved away from London and set up my own company. I knew I enjoyed what I was doing (roofing) but wanted it to be a bit different so have explored a whole host of new technologies and techniques and now have a very unique, interesting and fulfilling job.

    I have never been so motivated or excited, it’s taken over my whole life, which is brilliant.

    I am doing something I love – that I believe has a real value and benefit to the community I live in and the environment as a whole (I specialise in green roofs, renewable energy micro-generation and heritage crafts). My company is growing despite the economic downturn and I am inspired every day by my ‘job’.

    It has been very hard work, and there have been a lot of barriers to overcome. I am lucky to have had the support I did to get me here, but the one thing that made it happen was the realisation that it was up to me – I had to make the changes.

    Thanks Danny, for your thoughts. I’m off to write a will ->

  19. What about if, like me, you are completely bereft of any discernable talent or skill beyond the ability (most of the time) to stand upright for several minutes at a time?

  20. I’m certainly familiar with Sally’s situation. My better half and I talked about it as being at a local maximum, where you’ve optimized your life within its current constraints.

    The problem with a local maximum, of course, is that any move you make from there is going to involve a significant degradation in your quality of life. Sometimes this is temporary, and opens the way to a greater maximum further on. But it’s unquestionably hard to move from the local max.

    We left our local maximum two years ago, when we moved from Scotland to the Netherlands. It’s involved endless paperwork, two years of disrupted living, job searches, and the struggle to acquire a whole new language. It’s also been absolutely terrifying, even before the credit crunch hit. It may all still go horribly wrong.

    But for us, for a number of reasons, it is the way to a new, higher maximum in many ways.

  21. Cicada:

    Yes, sometimes we try things and fail. Sometimes we lose more than we can afford to lose. Sometimes we have commitments that mean that we cannot do the crazy challenging stuff. You have to take these things into account before you take a risk.

    Failure is always possible. Perhaps we learn from it, and progress from there into a greater success. In other cases what we learn from failure is that we can’t do everything.

    Sometimes the best thing to do is to be content. Contentment is a skill in itself, and without it, no achievement will ever be enough.

    It’s useful to remember that what Danny writes is what works for him. You’re not him. Listen to what he says, then go do what works for you.

  22. @21 Evilrooster: True, but consider the tendency toward selection bias here– “I followed my dream and succeeded” stories tend to promulgate widely…if for no other reason, the people who lived them derive pleasure from them. “I followed my dream and wish I hadn’t” stories are likely to not be spread with as much vigor.

    Without some idea of how these two possibilities balance, it’s difficult to get a realistic assessment of the idea…rather like if you only talked to winners of poker games about playing poker.

  23. I work at Social Security. One of my tasks is preparing judicial hearing folders. When a disability claim has been denied and then appealed and denied again, the claimant is entitled to a judicial hearing. I have to prepare the folders for the judges.

    I have to read every word of every folder. I have learned that on my WORST day, I do not have any problems.

  24. EvilRooster said:
    Sometimes the best thing to do is to be content. Contentment is a skill in itself, and without it, no achievement will ever be enough.

    It’s useful to remember that what Danny writes is what works for him. You’re not him. Listen to what he says, then go do what works for you.

    This is the most true wisdom that I’ve read on BB in a long time.

    I haven’t commented much on Danny’s posts since much of what I’d have to says would hardly sum up above ‘me too’. Yet, this one time at least, I want to say how much I especially appreciated his expressed reflections on day to day concerns. They may not apply as is to anybody but Danny but that’s where the last paragraph I quote from EvilRooster takes the relay.


  25. @22 Cicada

    You know, when I read this article and all the responses, I couldn’t help but think of the Randy Pausch lecture. In particular, his statement about metaphorical “walls” in life really strikes a resonant chord here– “Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.”

    Quitting your job and leaving for Japan is no small feat. There aren’t many people in his situation that would have done such a thing, but by virtue of that fact, he was one of the few people to seize the opportunities that he did. I think that is one of the author’s main points, that to reach your goals you have to push far past the boundaries of comfort and tread through land that most people would not dare to cross. Even if some people do fail at achieving their goals, most likely its because they refused to cross the no-man’s land and not because they were incapable of achieving that goal.

    Yes skill/talent/circumstance do play a role here and you can make an argument that a lot of people that may have similar ambitions could not have gone through the circuits he crossed. In this case, however, I believe the main limiting factor was again not factors beyond his own control, but the sheer drive to do so.

    The question of motivation for doing so is of course present, and I surmise that the author was in a stage in his life where he had very little to lose; single, no family, a job he could care less about, comparatively he could have had less to lose than other people in his situation. What makes his story inspiring though is the fact that there are so many people in such a situation where they really have very little to lose following their ambitions, and yet they refuse to play those gambits out of fear of losing everything that keeps them in their comfort zone.

  26. Very inspiring.

    Tuesdays. I hate Tuesdays.

    I actually find Monday quite pleasant..

    Monday gets an unfair rap.
    With most expecting ’twill be crap.
    I think their angers misdirected
    Monday’s joys are unexpected.
    They bitch and moan the day away
    When truth is – Monday’s quite O.K.

    Tuesday though – You’ve gotten over the expected crapness of Monday only to have Tuesday kick you in the nuts. Always.

    It’s why we call it C+nty Tuesday

  27. Great article. It all comes down to courage, making the first leap is the hardest. Here’s a collection of Memento Mori quotes, very useful for egging one out of the comfort zone:

    “Teach us to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a wise heart”
    -Moses, Psalm 90

    “What is most wonderful? Day after day countless creatures are going to the abode of Yama, yet those that remain behind believe themselves to be immortal”
    -Mahabharata, Vana Parva CCCXI

    “In the companies of the happy among them, whenever they are done with dinner, a man brings round a corpse made of wood in a coffin, an imitation wrought in the highest degree through both painting and carving, in size about one cubit long or two cubits long every way, and showing it to each of the symposiasts, says, ‘Looking at that, drink and enjoy yourself; for you will be, when dead, like that’.”
    -Herodotus ‘Inquiries’ 2:78

    “A frequent and attentive prospect of that moment, which must put a period to all our schemes, and deprive us of all our acquisitions, is indeed of the utmost efficacy to the just and rational regulation of our lives; nor would ever any thing wicked, or often any thing absurd, be undertaken or prosecuted by him who should begin every day with a serious reflection that he is born to die.”
    – Samuel Johnson, The Rambler No. 17. Tuesday, May 15, 1750

    “There are two parts to air, evolving and involving. Involving part only, gives vivifyingness to “I”. Only enough of this part is taken now for the Trogo-auto-ego-crat. Not until you have a conscious wish can you assimilate more of this good part of air. This involving part comes from the Prime Source.

    The secret of being able to assimilate the involving parts of air is to try to realize your own insignificance, and the insignificance of those around you. You are mortal and will die someday. The person on whom your attention rests is your neighbour. He will also die. Both of you are nonentities. At present, most of your suffering is “suffering in vain” which comes from a feeling of anger and jealousy toward others. If you gain data to always realize the inevitability of their death, and your own death, you will always feel pity towards others and be just, because most of their manifestations which displease you are only because of someone having stepped on their “corns” or also because of the sensitiveness of your own “corns”, but you cannot see this. Put yourself in the position of others. They have the same insignificance as you. They will die, like you; they suffer as you do.

    Only if you always try to sense this insignificance until it becomes a habit whenever you see anyone, only then, you will be able to assimilate the good part of air and have a real “I”.

    Every man has wishes and things which he holds dear that he will lose at death.

    From looking at your neighbor and realizing his insignificance, that he will die, pity and compassion will arise in you for him and finally you will love him.

    By continually doing this exercise real faith will arise in some part and spread to other parts. Then, already, man will be happy because from this faith objective hope will arise, hope of a basis for continuation.”
    -G.I. Gurdjieff, 6 February 1931

    “Therefore you should train yourselves: ‘We will dwell heedfully. We will develop mindfulness of death acutely for the sake of ending the effluents.’ That is how you should train yourselves.”
    -Siddhartha Gautama, Maranassati Sutta

  28. I’m with the people who hate Tuesdays.

    Mondays, you’ve still got a little bit of a glow from the weekend (assuming it was a good one).

    Wednesday–hey, Wednesday is Hump Day! Get past that and it’s smooth sailing until the weekend.

    Thursday, you’ve got one more day until Friday!

    Friday is self-explanatory.

    What’s special about Tuesday? Nothin’. The weekend’s truly over and the next one is four days away.

    People who hate Mondays read too much Garfield.

  29. “Don’t just sit there and waste your precious time. When you want to do something, do it right away. Do it when you can. It’s the only way to live a life without regrets.”

    Sonic Team, 1991 – Asian cover of Sonic the Hedgehog for MegaDrive

  30. @ cicada & ilovechocolatemilk

    What makes his story inspiring though is the fact that there are so many people in such a situation where they really have very little to lose following their ambitions, and yet they refuse to play those gambits out of fear of losing everything that keeps them in their comfort zone.

    And then there are the people who DO have a lot to lose (marriage, children, house) who take that leap and follow their ambitions, work their asses off, and fail. Like, um, my dad, for instance. Sometimes passion, talent, and hard work are not enough. I’ve seen it many times.

    Hooray for people like Danny Choo who make the jump and succeed. But for every person who makes it to the other side of the chasm, there’s another person falling to the bottom of the canyon like Wile E. Coyote. It’s disingenuous to imply that people fail because they didn’t want it badly enough or that they didn’t work hard enough. Sometimes external circumstances do play a role in career failure. In my own case, an autoimmune disease pretty much put the kibosh on any ideas I might have had of an exciting international career. So I have an ok, but not-so-exciting part-time job and do my artwork when I have the energy to do it. And I’m content. Happy, even.

    Some people, when faced with the reality of death, choose to focus on aspects of their lives that have nothing to do with their career satisfaction. Like family, friends, hobbies, pets, etc. Contentment is not such a horrible thing, you know.

  31. Thanks Danny for the nice words.

    Here’s how I can relate: I had a very satisfying, well paid and fun job a couple of years ago, but still knew there could be more, especially having never completed my undergraduate degree. So I saved some money, left on good terms with my employer, traveled around southeast asia solo for a month, came back to the US, took drawing and painting classes at a community college, prepared a portfolio, got into an art school and am absolutely loving life. Its a little weird at times being older than most students, but alas, I am very happy now that I put on the brakes a couple of years ago to gather some of the missing pieces before I forgot where they were.

  32. @ MrMopWater,

    Yeah I agree. I don’t know what’s with our cultural desire to find “happiness”… I can tell you though what probably gets exported out of America is all the crap that gets shoved into our face here, which is all wrong. Here it’s about money, having nice things, having a nice job, ect.. It’s never about enjoying life, or what you have, or yourself. I personally hate my job, and will probably hate most jobs I have, but that’s just me. My life is fine, I’d like it to be better. But it’s not like I’m just going to pickup my life move somewhere else do get a job I like. If I wanted that I could have done it 7 years ago when I left college. I’m content in doing a job for the sake of pay.

    I’m much more like Ren than Stimpy. I’m usually the happiest when I’m complaining about something. Stark negativity, efficiency, and productivity are what get me going.

  33. Love my job, love my family.

    No matter how much you love your job, Monday is a short, hard transition from an all-to-short two days with your family. It also breaks any weekend project you might be working on about the time you get up to speed and think you are accomplishing something, only to have to drop it for five days. During the week in winter-time, I’m too exhausted to bother continuing till then.

    So, what I dislike about Monday is the transition.

    If I hated my job, then it would really stink.

  34. “you have no excuse”
    Actually you do. And you probably have a lot of legitimate reasons. This myth of working hard at your passion as the means for happiness is perpetuated by the winners writing history. Of course all these success stories from people getting “what they want” from life makes it seem that if you follow their narratives, you, too, can be their story. However, anecdote is not fact.
    Personally, I AM working very hard at a passion to shape my own destiny, but I am not under the illusion that punishing myself with “no excuses” and overwork is going to redeem me or make me happy.

  35. I think those people who blithely say, “do what you love and the money will follow,” are giving bad advice to people with responsibilities… like feeding your children! I love playing boardgames. My family cannot eat cardboard.

  36. I think those people who blithely say, “do what you love and the money will follow,” are giving bad advice to people with responsibilities… like feeding your children! I love playing boardgames. My family cannot eat cardboard.

  37. Not only is the real estate agent a lair? Being a lair would be enough for me. I could secretly retreat inside him and plan my evil plans.

  38. Yeah, monkeys are great in the wild where they belong. Travis is not at fault for being given Xanax and kept as a pat.

    I want to also request more Danny Choo, please. Lovely, inspiring post and absolutely beautiful pictures.

  39. It may not have been his fault, Tak, but it nonetheless gave his genus a bad name.

    Tenn – you could keep me as a Pat if it meant no more Mondays going to work.

  40. Me, I’m an ex-pat. Which is why I had to Google “Travis monkey” to figure out wtf you guys were talking about.

  41. To elaborate: I despise the endless march of chores, the battle against entropy, the constant need to feed and care for a body I could really care less about, my inability to levitate objects with my mind. Just plug me into the matrix already.

  42. keeping chimps should be illegal. Apart from very expensive to run , huge facilities that mimic a jungle, no one has any damned business taking the poor creatures out of their world. Anyone who studied them for ten minutes would know that at fifteen, they hit sexual maturity and absolutely start kicking ass, regardless of how nice mommy and daddy were. The only reason to imprison them is to keep a few specimens alive after the last of their wild populations are exterminated. If we could save the genes for a thousand years, we might by then be civilized enough to reintroduce them to the wild. Which will have to be built from scratch too.

  43. revolutionary road anyone?:
    “You want to play house, you got to have a job. You want to play very nice house, very sweet house, then you got to have a job you don’t like.”

    plus, who’s going to be picking up my garbage at 6am if everyone has a job they like?

  44. Barring science fictional scenarios like Uplift, amen, Taku-sama.

    (We’d have to raise those theoretically re-introduced chimps in some very clever social simulation, too, or all we’d get is a slightly hairier version of Lord of the Flies. Chimp society is complex.)

  45. I pretty much hate all days equally. And as for the “follow your passion”, I have the problem that I really have no passions. There are things I like, sure, but nothing that I’m so passionate about that I’d love to do it on a regular basis. Especially not if I’m required to do it, as that takes much of the joy out of whatever I’m doing.

    I’m pretty sure there are no ways to get paid for the things I enjoy doing, namely a whole lot of nothing.

    Unless there’s a job testing recliners. Is La-Z-Boy hiring?

  46. Is to pursue one’s dreams, to do what one loves, and succeed really all there is to life?

    I ask because some people have the passion to go out and rape or murder people, and when they go out and do that, in their own mind, they are a success, but in the minds of others, they are a failure.

    In the grand scheme of things, passion isn’t always the solution to one’s life. It’s just one piece of the whole puzzle. There has to be passionate people in the world and there has to people without passion. Just like there has to be poor people for rich people to exist.

    All you can do is live life. Some people will succeed in what they want to achieve, while many people will fail miserably. Some people are content not even trying for anything and don’t even give themselves the chance to succeed or fail.

  47. I’ve foolishly been led to believe that humans are meant to be happy as a default state. We’re not – which doesn’t mean we’re not capable of it, but I really don’t think it’s a particularly natural state.

    Or rather – humans don’t live naturally, we’ve usurped nature and our original intent, or brains have sort of made “natural living” an outright impossibility. Unless you are willing to turn around and walk into the woods for the rest of your life (or desert, or whatever).

    Anyhow: waking up everyday and buying into the idea that I should be happy has made life… beyond difficult. It makes getting up near on fucking impossible. People who have found something that makes them estactic should be congratulated, but they shouldn’t be mistaken that it’s somehow the default way of living.

  48. Sorry for being grumpy, but it IS a Monday. This post reeks of privilege. Some people simply can’t quit their jobs and follow their joy. I’m really pleased you managed to get to Japan EVERY SINGLE YEAR and had enough money to make a start-up at age 35. This simply isn’t reality for a lot of people.

  49. Unable to jump into mist
    Not believing in the abyss
    He looks down a rope
    From which hangs a dope
    Who’ll learn to fly at the end

  50. Hooray for Danny Choo for having tried to make his dream real, succeeded and writing about it here. Hopefully, you have inspired someone to break out of their shell and try something.

    Being aware of one’s own mortality and happiness or joy are not mutually exclusive. Living on the edge, risking life and limb (any gravity sport) teaches some of us one aspect. Standing by your lover’s bedside in an ICU teaches you about wasting time and how precious it is.

    Don’t wait for someday (retirement) to go after a dream.. memories are far richer than dreams. Do it while you can!

    (#15 CANTFIGHTTHEDITE Iain M. Banks Yes!)

  51. 1. Found this to be kinda “1 part Freshman psych” plus “1 part back-of-every-self-help-book-ever-written.” Well written. Well intentioned. But if you’ve never read the nut of this exact screed before, well…

    2. Some anthropologists believe that humans’ capacity for higher thought is grounded in a species-wide schizophrenia caused by the more-rapid evolution of brain size compared to skull size. That is, big brains meant better survival skills, but smaller skulls meant a greater likelihood to be, you know, born. So you get bigger brains in smaller bony packages, making for a gentle, lifelong crushing of the old think-junk.

    Language is a metaphorical construct. And all metaphor is, to a certain degree, schizophrenic. You can’t point at a cheese and say “cheese” and then point a camera at someone and ask them to say “cheese” and not understand that the word is not the thing. Nor are words even, often, a substitute for a thing. Words are wrong. Words are not the world. They are very helpful, yes. But, then again, so is standing erect, yet that gives us back problems.

    So man evolved a big brain that got squoze and made us think that things aren’t always what they seem. So we have a word for “happy” and we have a word for “Monday” and both of these are constructs of a brain that, long ago, didn’t need either of them. But the same evolutionary path that gives us geometry gives us depression.

    A friend once asked me if, having to choose one, I’d rather be smart or happy. I chose happy. Easy. He said he’d rather be smart, because then he could figure out how to be happy, too.

  52. Brilliant. My buddy in England wrote a book once and there was a great chapter at the back called ‘Viking Behaviour’. Apparantly there used to be a theory in good old blighty that the Vikings would land on our beaches and burn their boats, giving them increased zeal and sending out a message that they meant business thus improving their chances of success. It is wise to note however, that before landing, they would have made adequate preparations.
    The message that burning the boats sent out to themselves and their enemy would have been massive.
    Maybe a touch of Viking Behaviour could get you out of your Monday rut.

    Glyn Morris

  53. Andyhavens: What a great contribution, at least to my post-Monday haze (I get the horror if it starting earlier than most, but also ending sooner. Yay sitting near the IDL!)

    As for the smart / happy balance… I would happily drop a few figures from my IQ, even the old “EQ” (maybe), as I know it’d make me happier.

    In fact – outright stupid seems like a blissful little bubble to be in. I think my ravenous THC intake is linked to the stupid brainstate being much more content.

    It also shows me how much mood rests on chemically sound brains and a good diet. Simply getting your life sorta “right” won’t just cut it – some understand this a lot more than others. Poor bastards.

  54. Came across this song not too long ago, “The time that’s mine” by The Miserable Rich.

    It’s all about Mondays, Tuesdays and what you use your time for.. Have a hear!

  55. It must be something about web designers that makes us have an underlying resentment for our career choice…

    Um…no. People from myriad careers have hated their career choices from since jobs first existed. It’s human nature. Being a web designer has nothing to do with it. Most jobs eventually become…just a job.

  56. Awesome post. I’m currently unsatisfied with my job, but I’m not doing anything to change that. I recently had some ideas which I’ll eventually follow through on, but I think I’m habitually lazy. Ah well, someday.

    “This must be a [Monday]. I never could get the hang of [Mondays].” — Arthur Dent remarking on Thursdays, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (yay Douglas Adams!)

  57. All the wording and the story within the post is very nice and could be inspiring for most of the people.

    But I agree with some of the posts above… This is an individual reality, it doesn’t apply for everyone.

    I would like to see you tell a III world country citizen that earns 250 USD a month to quit his job, grab his lifesaving (which if lucky can add 5000 USD) and to move to Japan… Not gonna happen…

    I mean it’s a nice story, and it’s not me I’m talking about… But let me tell you that some people don’t excel because they don’t have dreams or don’t want them hard enough… A lot of people don’t achieve their dreams because they never have a chance to do what they want…

    Overall it’s a good story and congrats to Danny for being one of the winners!

  58. Thanks Danny,this is especially timely for me as I move on from my current comfortable, yet unsatisfying job to one that makes me a little nervous, but extremely excited.

    This just came along at the perfect time for me, Thanks again!

  59. “Doing something you don’t like is good for you”
    I feel this is an axiom silently spoken about me, or, er, I mean by the people around me.
    The similarity I’ve noticed in all the people who seem to emit the axiom is they didn‘t pursue their ambitions. Previous to now, I thought that perhaps they found that this job leveled their over-stimulated thinking. I had thought they convinced themselves they were well paid to what kind of human being they were. They’re tirelessly slaving away in this job because they never had a passion so strong they would risk their lives for it. Really, they just didn’t believe they would survive if they just trusted themselves. They believe that this time SPENT (- NOT INVESTED -) into this godforsaken process is all anyone ever has to do to survive in this world. I kept diminishing my ability to think above this because the axiom kept repeating itself in my thoughts: “You haven’t kept a steady job as long as others.” “You feel old because you haven’t learned to accept this hardship as a fact of life.” “You don’t cope well.” “You haven’t had a steady job before, which represents that you haven’t worked that much. This means you have dues to pay, which is to struggle as anyone else you know struggles.” “You‘re old. That‘s why you feel old.”
    I’m alive. I’m lucky. I ordinarily would feel blessed and spirited and happy to be alive. I even used to really like this job and was extraordinarily happy.

    The saying goes that you’re no more special than anyone else, that tens of thousands of millions OF BILLIONS are going through hard times. Currently, if your hard time is that you dislike your job, then you have it better than most and you should appreciate what you have, because that’s giving you money, the American Dream. The American Dream, without a doubt built on the backs of hard, hard working people. This dream involves surviving hardships to profit from them. I don’t think that all managers are out to swindle you into believing this axiom; I personally know of one manager who represents the polar opposite of a (the) swindler, a coach in the truest sense. ____ is a fine accomplishment in regards to the cubical-created manager. She seems to keep above personally reacting to a situation, constantly assessing how to keep the process moving. She is older and wiser. She gives everyone respect while settling the bottom line (customer satisfaction), while other managers can only settle between respect or swindling. (&@$% YOU [someone else]! YOU -MASK- YOU SHAM FOR CORPORATE RAPE!) Money: it doesn’t process well an altruism like customer satisfaction when its intent is to create value for the company. Sure, there are joys, but none so many as to warrant continuing to do this job.

    This job is taking a toll on me. My time is not used for my passions. Since I’ve worked this job steadily, I’ve figured out all the time I’ve wasted when I wasn’t working; not because I wasn’t jobbing, but because I missed out on profiting from my passion by not being as fervent with it as I should have been. It’s also taking a toll on my spine; it curves unnaturally to the right from sitting all day, making the left side overcompensate. The ligaments in my left leg are tightened with so much tension that the fascia of my lower back has become paralyzed with pain, numbing the toes in my left foot. I almost walk like a retired trucker. My eyes are constantly blinded by the 100s of cheap overhead office lights and the constant staring at a computer screen. My mind is burned out on data entry and talking to so many stupid people. My stool has hardened from all the pain medications (and the lack of mobility (burned out when you get home, anyone?)) I have taken in the past two weeks for my back, for which I had to go to Urgent Care, then the Emergency Room when the pain became nightmarishly unbearable. This is ridiculous, listening to other people when I’m suffering and know exactly what the remedy is for me: don’t.- do.- this.- job.

    I don’t need this, I don’t need to endure this hardship. What kind of- what kind of happy horseshit is to believe that you, your ambitions -how immensely you must not believe in yourselves to believe that your ambitions can be traded for $16.35 (or less, because the company keeps telling management to tell you that the reason they can’t train you up is because training takes you off the floor, which doesn’t balance in the books against service level) for every hour of your life you work on this job.
    (Read What Color Is Your Parachute. In fact, that what’s I’m going to do.)
    It’s that kind of degenerated thinking that causes people to go to a job as though it’s some kind of do-or-die situation. Quitting this job, I will not shrivel up into a withered adult fetus ravaged by apartment cold, dying of starvation, gnawed at by debtors to the point of death -EVEN IN THIS RECESSION! I don’t have kids! Or a house! Or a car for which to pay for fuel and insurance!@ I -WILL- BE FINE! I’m not in a trench in the middle of a war, okay. I don’t need to steel myself or harden myself to the rigors of the kind of life that come with this kind of job. I will rely on my survival skills to keep me happy, something I lost sight of because I wanted to exhibit loyalty and discipline for a company I appreciated. If I am capable, if I am able, and if it is possible, I can survive on my terms; I can rely on my temerity to place me into a situation I want to be in. Until someone threatens my life, puts a gun to my head, until my car breaks down in the middle of a desert or a snow filled valley, until I’m swimming among sharks and need to keep my cool to spare the calories for swimming, I WILL NOT ACT LIKE I’M GOING TO DIE IF I DON’T KEEP DOING THIS! We’re not in Waterworld, this isn’t Siberia – this is *&%^#%@ America! We have it better than most. Just because you think we’re in dire straits doesn’t mean we won’t survive. Any declaration is delusional until it manifests. Keep that in mind when you think that my writing this is easier than facing eventual further hardship. Eventual hardship is always a possibility, in any situation regardless of income, status or location. Cynical disbeliever. Humankind -HUMANKIND (THAT MEANS THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF HUMANITY!)- has dealt with life and thrived! I know what’s hard. I know what’s important. I never had problems bouncing back before this job, so benefits were unnecessary. This job? Ain’t that important. Sure, I’ve made mistakes in my life, and I’ve had billions of lapses in judgment, but you’re not Karma bitch, okay? You don’t get to tell me how hard it needs to be. I don’t care what society I live in – I DECIDE! I remember what it was like to be poor. The worst part of being without money wasn’t the lack of things or the hunger: it was that I had started out unsteadily, not sure where to go. This caused me to feel constantly insecure. 6 years ago I ventured out to pursue my ambitions. It took me 5 years to get to this salary and all I racked up was a lot of debt (schools and a car.) So, what’s the point? I’m never going to be able to pay it off at this rate. This job barely sustains me to the next month anyway. Why worry if I can just pay for rent/utilities, some food, ___ fare and most importantly, MOST IMPORTANTLY (you have no idea how much power this has) – the internet.

    “I quit my job and had no idea what I was going to do.” Isn’t this what some of the most adventurous people have said before they went out in life and really succeeded? I won’t be stupid. I never was. It took me 6 years starting on nothing, barely a scrap of a soul left in this battered spirit. I am stronger, older, and wiser. I will actually have more energy, more vitality, as I will be directing all my time into fulfilling acts instead of creating reasons why debt will overwhelm me if I quit this stupid job.

    You say that the best position to be in life is to stay in tune with your current situation, that the easiest way to be fine is to just go with the flow. At this job, people are getting fat and limping! This is not what they meant! I’m not feeling my vitality burn out because my body is aging: I’M AGING BECAUSE THIS JOB IS BURNING ME OUT! I have lost my patience, and most importantly, my tolerance. I’m not even 30. I don’t need to feel this old.

    So, you say it’s attitude. You say it’s outlook which causes job dissatisfaction and all that you need to do is change how you view things to deal with them better. I would need to remove myself from the process that causes this burdened feeling. I don’t like this job anymore. I hate this job. I HATE this JOB.
    Ah. You’re really not getting the point, you say. You complain, you whine, but you don’t accept, you say. #$%& YOU! I read today about stupid, mumble-mouthed rappers not feeling the recession because they were playahs and took advantage of all the angles they knew to stay rich while spending loads of money. And they get to do what pleases them all @$#%^&@ day. All *&$%^#@ day! Every day! It’s not idealistic: it’s really happening!

    Oh, by the way? I was hoping to get laid-off. That’s the real reason I cleared my desk. It wasn’t because I was afraid or worried or sad. Those lucky bastards. Some of them were great people, great employees. I have no doubt they were specially chosen for a reward (golden parachute), no matter what management thinks.

    (This expectation has nothing to do with economic crisis.)

    A job
    Like this
    Is not what it means
    To be human.
    This is not my story
    Of being human.

    I quit tomorrow. (Actually, I wrote this last night: I quit my job today. It went well.)
    Doing stupid things seems to work for me.
    Wish me luck.
    Don’t be a prick. Wish me luck.
    I’m going to post this
    And you can stand back
    In awe
    And watch how someone
    Who blatantly exclaimed success
    Before the fact
    Actually succeeded
    You can join me.

    3 months from now,
    I will tell you what job I quit.

  60. No matter how much you like your job or love your major, doing any task that taxes you on someone elses schedule just sucks. It all inherently involves doing something you really don’t feel like doing at that moment because you have to to achieve some basic goal like saving a life if you’re a doctor, or getting folks drunk on Friday night if you’re a bar tender.

    I’m sorry but no matter how much you love your job, you can’t tell me it doesn’t feel awesome to quit it. We are the only animals on earth that intentionally allow abstract motivations form others to dictate our basic survival. In all other animal cultures, the motivations of leaders, employers, and bosses are always clear and intuitive. Boss want food, leader want sex, etc. Humans (or at least most humans I know) seem to find them selves jumping through strange hoops that have no clear connection to their ultimate goals. (ie, why does stapling papers in the correct order = food? Why does gluing something one way mean you pay rent, but gluing it another mean you’re homeless?)

    I think one of the clear blind spots for most of the upper and upper middle class people in the world is understanding what it’s like to have to do something you hate because you have to eat now and you are too tired, too disabled, or too loaded with debt to do anything else.

    Some of the things that the new age set tend to right off as “mental blocks” are only so if you’ve had the luck and good fortune to have opportunities, a safety net, and not receive any unfortunate setbacks. It’s all good to be positive, but how many millionaires can there really be in the world before it loses it’s value? the model you’re advocating in the beginning of your statement falsely assumes that everyone will be allowed to achieve their dreams if they “just try hard enough”. This logic is both depressing and inherently flawed with numerous empirical examples that contradict it.

    The current financial crisis is an excellent example of this very thing. How many people are losing their jobs and houses right now that “did everything right” and “worked really hard” for what they have? I realistic perception and a strong imagination grounded in critical evidence is the best asset you can have, but it will still only get you so far. Sometimes the deck is just stacked against you and you have to see it for what it is and adapt. Cognitive dissidence rules where the best intentions fail, though in a way you are saying something pretty similar to this, but in a form that’s kind of obtuse.

    Anyway, my 2,000 cents ($20)

  61. This post strikes me as disingenuous in the extreme. There are millions of people the world over who do not have the wherewithal to follow their dreams. There are millions of people who have others dependent upon them so that they cannot afford (financially or emotionally) to follow their dreams. There are millions of people in this very country whose health insurance situation demands that they stay in their jobs, no matter how unhappy they might be, and not follow their dreams.

    Me, I have a fantastic job, one that I found through the very means Choo describes. I can’t imagine anything better suited to my temperament or my skills. It took me years to get to a point where this job was within my reach, but I got there.

    If I were to be asked what my least favorite day of the week is, however, you can bet your ass I’d say Monday. On the weekends I get to be lazy, hang out with friends, wander around the city. On Monday I have responsibilities, deadlines, meetings. They’re all to ends that are of interest and pleasure to me, but it’s ridiculous to assume I wouldn’t rather be in my jammies watching old movies on TCM. Do I prefer that? Yes. Would I want to have a job that requires me to sit in my jammies and watch old movies? Maybe–but there would still be responsibilities, deadlines, and possibly even meetings.

    Work is work, even when it’s pleasureable work.

  62. I read a wonderful piece ( about Sophie Scholl and Gertraud Junge, on how you shouldn’t listen to the majority, you should do what your conscience and passion tells you, for that is truly living. then I went over to check Boing Boing, and read about your article on following your passion, and that is truly living. Today, all day, I’ve busted my ass working, yet haven’t felt a bit of it, because I’ve been excitedly working on things I’m passionate about. Oh, and it’s a Monday.

    Also recently I went to the hospital, because my tonsilitis came back, and two different times I was asked by the nurses if I have a living will. I’m 19 years old. I think I’m going to get one even so.

  63. Eichaeltheone, good luck! I think you’re making the right decision.

    Some years ago, an odd thing happened to me: twice in one week, people phoned me long-distance to ask me whether it’s normal to hate your job. Both of them hated their jobs and wanted to do different work, but their families and friends were all telling them not to do it — that everyone hates their job, no matter what job they have.

    I told them their families and friends were wrong. If there’s only one kind of job you can get, then of course you take it whether you hate it or not, because we all have to work. However, there are plenty of people who don’t hate their jobs, and it’s not because their work is easy or glamorous. They respect the work they’re doing, and their workplace respects them.

    Some of the highest employee morale I’ve ever seen was at a fast-food restaurant run by a couple of gifted managers. The work was humble, but we were proud of how well we could do it. The worst I’ve seen was at another job — much higher status, much higher pay — where the employees were so oppressed and confused that they didn’t bother to get to know each other. Management there was sociopathic, and fired employees randomly, without regard to how well or how badly they did their jobs.

    I’ll state it as a general rule that you get more work and smarter work out of employees if you don’t make them miserably unhappy all the time.

    Who benefits from the idea that it’s normal to hate your work? Bad managers, that’s who. I don’t see why the rest of us should have to spend so much energy propping them up.

  64. that depends what the “work” is. To a sociopathic manager, the “work” is climbing the ladder, destroying rivals, siphoning money and prepping the next victim. That work is indeed getting done and if the owner/shareholder is oblivious (ie: usual), the work of profit making for the business NOT getting done by the oppressed staff is always blamed on the oppressed staff.

    I used to wonder why so many managers were liars, thieves and detriments to their organization. Eventually I realized they did so well and went unpunished because they WERE the embodiment of the corporation.

    1. Having worked in health care for two decades where the entire chain of command was composed of women, almost all of my bosses were quite delightful, supportive people.

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