Josh Kaufman

Bestselling Author, Business & Self-Education


On Work

“You must always work not just within but below your means. If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery and you create a feeling of strength in reserve."

Pablo Picasso, cubist painter and sculptor

“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both."

James A. Michener, Pulitzer Prize-winning author:

“Confront the difficult when it is still easy: accomplish the great task by a series of small acts."

The Tao Te Ching

“Life does not reward us for effort expended."

Anonymous

One summer day a grasshopper was singing and chirping and hopping about. He was having a wonderful time. He saw an ant who was busy gathering and storing grain for the winter.

“Stop and talk to me," said the grasshopper. “We can sing some songs and dance a while."

“Oh no," said the ant. “Winter is coming. I am storing up food for the winter. I think you should do the same."

“Oh, I can’t be bothered," said the grasshopper. “Winter is a long time off. There is plenty of food." So the grasshopper continued to dance and sing and chip and the ant continued to work.

When winter came the grasshopper had no food and was starving. He went to the ant’s house and asked, “Can I have some wheat or maybe a few kernels of corn. Without it I will starve," whined the grasshopper.

“You danced last summer," said the ants in disgust. “You can continue to dance." And they gave him no food.

MORAL: There is a time to work and a time to play.

From Aesop’s Fables, as retold by Rose Owens

Once upon a time there was a bear and a bee who lived in a wood and were the best of friends. All summer long the bee collected nectar from morning to night while the bear lay on his back basking in the long grass.

When Winter came the Bear realised he had nothing to eat and thought to himself, “I hope that busy little Bee will share some of his honey with me." But the Bee was nowhere to be found—he had died of a stress-induced coronary disease.

From a piece of street art

Published: June 26, 2006 Last updated: June 26, 2006

I Enjoyed This Post
Read more essays by Josh Kaufman →

The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

The #1 International Bestseller, Revised & Expanded. A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then go out into the world and make your own. More →



The First 20 Hours

How to Learn Anything… Fast!

A practitioner's guide to rapid skill acquisition. Accelerate your learning by deconstructing complex skills, practicing the most important elements first, and removing barriers to deliberate practice. What do you want to learn? More →