H.I. No. 3: Four Light Bulbs
|"Four Light Bulbs"|
|Hello Internet episode|
Episode 3 on the podcast YouTube channel
|Original release date||February 11, 2014|
Official Description[edit | edit source]
Brady & Grey talk work / life balance.
Show Notes[edit | edit source]
Other[edit | edit source]
|Grey: There we go!
Brady: You've been practicing, I can tell.
Grey: [laughs] I have, I have. All today I was like "don't blow it, don't blow it".
Brady: So I have learned my lesson from last time, and I realise we have to start with follow up from episode two.
Brady: But how can we- again, we've got the same problem as last time, haven't we?
Grey: Yes, but we- but we also have the same benefit as last time, which is: I have edited the audio and have been displeased. Uh, so-
Brady: I don't think that's ever going to change, but go on then, what were you displeased with from episode two?
Grey: Yeah. So episode two, we talked about copyright and I opened by saying how I found my own copyright YouTube video,- the argument was unconvincing to me at the end.
Grey: And, I think if you- you know, I'm imagining because these still haven't gone live, we haven't gotten feedback, but I'm imagining that if someone is- is hearing that, they're then expecting that I'm going to blow them away with a rock-solid hour-long thesis that is like the perfect convincing argument for why copyright has to be limited, and I think the last show was not that at all. I listened- I listened to me and I thought "I'm still not convinced by what I have just said".
Brady: Well, maybe you're just not completely clear on your position, you know, there's nothing wrong with that, you're just kind of a bit in the wilderness.
Grey: See, that makes me angry just to even hear you say that, because-
Grey: [laughs] While- while- while I am very open to changing my mind, I know what my position is on this, and I'm just continually frustrated by my seeming inability to articulate a clear consistent message on why copyright should be limited. So,-
Brady: So what, are we going to like, do the copyright video again, now? Sorry,-
Brady: -are we going to do the copyright podcast again now? What are- what are-
Grey: No, no. [laughs]
Brady: You're just having bit of a windge that you're not happy with yourself.
Grey: My follow up is: Convincing this of previous podcast, I'm giving that a thumbs down. I'm- that is- that is a follow up: I am not impressed by my own argument, again, on this same topic. Um, so I wanted to just follow that up and get that-
Brady: So anyone listening to episode three before they've listened to episode two, you're basically saying "don't listen to episode two".
Grey: No, no, do listen to episode two, right? Because, I want you to listen to it, and then maybe we'll figure out some sort of feedback form, hear what people have to say about it. I would be curious for feedback, because this is, uh, this is a totally different format, right? This isn't- I'm just sort of showing up and- and we're talking about stuff, and it's not super prepared, so I'm- I'm very curious to see how people react to this. And since this is our third episode and probably the last before it goes, uh, public,-
Grey: -I would be very interested to hear what people have to say about the first three in particular, so, uh…
Grey: OK, second- second piece a follow up for me,-
Grey: -also about copyright,-
Grey: -is I did the same thing again, which is I said something that I didn't mean to say, and listening to me say it in the audio is incredibly frustrating. So first time I- I- I- called the Economist newspaper the Economist magazine,-
Grey: -and in this one, something that really bothers me is, when you talk about, uh, we were talking about newspapers taking our videos and uploading them to other people's sites,-
Grey: -and I use- the word I used to describe that was "stealing".
Grey: And I try so hard not to use the word "stealing", because I- I don't think that that- that is a fair word to use. That is a more harsh word than what it really is. Um, you know, it should be "infringement".
Grey: They infringed on my videos.
Grey: But- but in the- in the heat of the moment, it's so hard not to say "stealing" even though if I was- if I was writing an article or I was writing a script for a video, I would never let that slip in there, I would never say stealing.
Brady: But isn't that just because you're being a bit like, wishy-washy and, like, when you hear in- policemen interviewed on the news they never say "the robber ran away", they always say "the suspected offender decamped in an easterly direction". Like, aren't you just being a bit soft, I mean, is it not actually stealing?
Grey: I think it isn't stealing, right? Because, if we're- if we're having like a hierarchy of crimes, stealing is a worse thing than infringement, because "stealing" implies that the newspaper not only copied my video, but they also took money right out of my wallet, and in "infringement" means that, you know, because of their use of my video, I may have lost out on earnings from those- those views, right?
Grey: Or from licensing fees,-
Grey: -but that's different from actually, like I'm minding my own business, and suddenly I'm down money because of their actions. Um, so that's why- I think- I really do think it's- it's- because copyright is kind of g-getting everywhere, right? You know, it- it affects more parts of technology, I think- I feel like it is important to try to establish in- "infringing" as a word to use to describe a particular kind of activity. It is not stealing, it's not the same. So,-
Grey: -that was- that was my second point.
Brady: OK. I uh, I-
Grey: Are you bullied?
Brady: -that is clarified.
Grey: Are you bullied into it?
Brady: That- that is clarified, um, you know, I think you're being a bit overly cautious but, you know, that's one of your defining qualities, so-
Grey: Mm-kay. and then-
Brady: -I'm comfortable with that,-
Grey: All right.
Grey: Yes, thank you.
Brady: That's two bits- anymore feedback?
Grey: Well, uh, I don't have- this next one's not exactly feedback, but I want to tell you that I took your recommendation, and-
Grey: -I watched "The People vs George Lucas".
Brady: Ooh, yeah, oh, give me a quick review?
Grey: Quick review I would say: It is enjoyable, but it is also terribly uncomfortable to watch, because it might strike a little too close to home. Um, you know, because it's- it's these interviews of people who are getting really obsessed with Star Wars, and who were really nerding out over a whole bunch of details, and... watching that kind of thing, it just makes me feel like "Do I look that ridiculous when I get upset about this? I too have gotten into, like, heated arguments over midi-chlorians", and the way the film is edited-
Grey: -like it's- it's edited in a way to make it seem really comical,-
Grey: And that's why its also sort of uncomfortable to watch is because like I’m seeing the person on- on- on- th- on the film talking about "How midi-chlorians just change the whole nature of the Star Wars universe" and their really Ernest you know but it’s- it is cut to be a funny movie so that's why I would say It’s- It’s really uncomfortable to watch but also- also enjoyable.
Brady: I’m not sure that- that- some- I mean it’s been a while since I watched it but I- I’m not entirely sure I agree, I mean there are a few people who are I guess are having fun poked at them when they- when they go really over the top and you know dress up as Chewbacca to go to the movies and that-
Brady: But I don’t- I always think that those people that are really passionate about the film and talk about midi-chlorians and all that, I kind of think, I don't know, Maybe I saw myself and didn’t mind it so much-
Brady: -But it’s an interesting point, it’s an interesting point.
Grey: Yeah I- I Definitely, I enjoyed it and I’m- I’m glad for the recommendations but I- I would say that it was, uh... It was similar to the uh... the Trekkies documentary, Is- It’s the same kind of think but for Star Trek.
Brady: Uhh, you see I haven’t watched that one yet, Maybe that’s my homework hey?
Grey: Yeah, you should- I- I would recommend it, I would recommend but I- for me it’s that same kind of, like; enjoyable but, slightly uncomfortable, because, maybe it hits a little too close to home-
Brady: Mmmm, Okay
Grey: -But, umm… Anyway so, that was- that was a little thing I wanted to follow up on, thank you for the recommendation, Uhh It was great.
Brady: Great, Great. You have to watch that Bobby Fischer chess one I’ve been recommending to, but I’ll set you that as homework another day.
Grey: [chuckles] It is on my list of- Brady: Okay
Grey: -Documentaries to watch
Brady: Great. Okay. Follow up, Is that it?
Grey: Yeah! I think that’s it? That’s not bad this time.
Brady: That’s alright, That’s good, I, uh… I don’t think I have too much follow up, I have- I have listened to podcast number two and-
Brady: But, Uh… I don’t think I have any Follow up, I’ll wait for, I’ll ’till people start listening and complaining and then, decide what to do.
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Brady: What are we talking about? What- what- what’s on your mind?
Grey: [Sigh] So, to- uh, today, the thing- the thing that I kind of wanted to talk about and this might be very scatter brained, so, we’ll- we'll see how it goes. But the thing that I wanted to talk about, is something that has been, sort of loosely on my mind for the past... two and a half, maybe three years, and it is the notion of "work-life balance" um--
Brady: Work-Life balance.
Brady: I am, I must say, this scares me.
Grey: Why does it scare you?
Brady: ‘Cause I am not a good person to talk to about work life balance, 'cause I mean- I’m- I’m notoriously, by those around me, think I’m very bad at this, I think talking to me about work-life balance, is- is like talking to the- the Cookie Monster about healthy eating,--
Brady: --I am, uh, I am not- I am not good in this area.
Grey: You feel that your- your work-life balance is unbalanced?
Brady: It is… severally unbalanced, in favour of work.
Grey: How many videos have you put up on YouTube?
Brady: Uh, I think it’s getting towards about two-thousand,--
Brady: --it is a lot.
Grey: And how many, I have to prefacize this with the word "active", how many active channels would you say you have?
Brady: The active, really active ones, you- it’s about- about half a dozen, but I do--
Grey: About half a dozen...
Brady: --I do have about a dozen that I do pop videos on. I’m bring a couple back to life at the moment, but- but anyway, yeah. I- I- I have- I have a lot- a lot of things on the go, but, um, but you, know that’s not why, I have a bad, work-life balance, I think if I had just one YouTube channel, I would probably have a bad work-life balance.
Grey: You think it would make no difference. You would just--
Grey: --there- there would be two thousand videos on that single channel,--
Grey: --as opposed to spread- spread up across a half dozen.
Brady: Quite possibly, I think I’m uh, I think I, work a lot because I enjoy it a lot.
Brady: But anyway, do you have a good work-life balance?
Grey: [Sigh] So, my answer to this... is... also no. Um,-
Grey: But I’m- I’m coming at this from the perspective of, I think that the whole notion of work-life balance is kind of feel-good BS.
Grey: I- I don’t think that this is an achievable thing in the way most people mean it, when they're talking about work-life balance.
Brady: Your gonna have to elaborate a bit here.
Grey: Okay, so I- I think very often when people are talking about work-life balance, there kind of talking about, you know, "having it all" right you have this- this great personal life that is fulfilling with family and friends and activities and hobbies, and you are also a person who is excelling in your job, right, you're doing great at work, and I think that people like to talk about work-life balance and trying to achieve work-life balance, because that it- is an amazing ideal, it's like the platonic ideal of what you want your life to be. But I think that that scuttles to the side difficult decisions that have to be made about how your going to spend your time and your energy.
Grey: Um, so that- that is the kind of basis of- of the augment I kind of want to make today.
Brady: So, are- I’m staying to be- I’m staying to be clear here, are you- are you talking about the amount of time you dedicate to work verses your life, or how successful you can be at one. You know, you can either be a rubbish friend and family member and a brilliant YouTuber or--
Brady: --a bit of a mediocre YouTuber and the uber family-friend man.
Grey: I'm going to lay out my analogy partly because this came up with a- another YouTuber who we know recently,--
Grey: --and a lot of times, people start out, sort of, not believing me on this, and then by the end I can sometimes can convince them. So, I want to lay this out. And my- the analogy that I make is this, right? Let’s, you know, you as a human are able to produce a certain amount of energy and activity.
Grey: And you know, sort of like a motor. And just for simplicity and math's sake, let’s say that your output is a hundred watts--
Grey: --of sort of "effort" at any particular time.
Grey: And I think that basically, the whole scope of human activity falls in the four possible categories that are before you, like four one-hundred watt lightbulbs.
Grey: And those four light bulbs are labeled family, friends, health, and work.
Grey: And so from my perspective, I really truly believe that this analogy is basically true, that you have a hundred watts of power that you need to make decisions about how you're going to distribute them across all four of these light bulbs.
Grey: And so you could have all four of them on at twenty-five watts each, which is not really great for any of them in particular, or you can start making decisions about "where do you want to either focus your energy?", and then, of course, that also means making harsh, uncomfortable decisions about where you're going to cut from these various light bulbs. So that's--
Grey: --that's- that is- that is my kind of- uh, my- my kind of statement. And I often get people arguing against me that- that that's not true at all. Um,--
Brady: To- to go with that analogy, the- the criticism, I think, that would be made of me is as follows: There are people in my life who believe that I should devote my- my motor to my work light bulb--
Brady: --ten hours a day and have it shine bright and do everything I can, and then switch that off completely and switch on those other light bulbs and start worrying about them. But, if you have a poor work life balance, you're never willing to switch off that work light bulb and that's my problem. I can never switch that light bulb off. Whether I'm just thinking about it, I'm thinking about what I want to do tomorrow, or how I want to change a video, or I'm sneakily checking YouTube comments--
Brady: --and things like that. So, I'm happy to go with your light bulb and motor, but I think, my definition of work life balance is not "how much glow to give each bulb?", it's "should you switch certain bulbs off at certain times?".
Grey: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. All right,--
Brady: So, is that what you're saying? Are you saying "do I switch these ones off or on?, or are you- it sounds like you're more saying "I'm going to have my work bulb shining at seventy-five percent and my family one at ten percent" and they're just permanently at these levels,--
Brady: --as opposed to switching them on and off.
Grey: But this goes to, uh, one of your videos that we were talking about, the sort of, uh, the sum of an infinite series,--
Grey: --and if you have an infinite series of ones and zeros, write that out, you take the average of that as point five.
Brady: Grandi's series.
Grey: Yes, is that what it's called?
Brady: Uh, that is, yes.
Grey: Uh, okay.
Brady: And Thomson's lamp is also the analogy.
Grey: Okay, Thomson's lamp. Look it upon on- on the internet, people. Uh,--
Brady: On Numberphile, preferably.
Grey: Yes, I'm sorry. Let me- [laughs] I'll- I will rerecord that now.
Brady: No, no, no, go on, tell me--
Grey: No no, look it up on Numberphile, people,--
Brady: [chuckles] Do it.
Grey: --don't just use the internet,--
Brady: Do it.
Grey: --go to youtube.com slash Numberphile. Um,--
Brady: Exactly, exactly,--
Brady: --hours of fun.
Grey: --so- so the way I'm going to get around your argument about the switching of the motors thing--
Grey: --is I'm just going to project a typical week as an infinite series of weeks and reduce your switching to an average, if you see what I'm saying, right? So, okay, you know, you're spending one hundred percent of your eight hour day on work and one hundred percent of the eight hours after work on family, that averages out to be fifty-fifty. So I'm,--
Grey: --I'm doing away with your one hundred percent of a thing at a particular time. It is very difficult sometimes to let go of work in moments when you should.
Grey: Right, that is- that is not an easy task to do. And, um, I have definitely come across that as well. Like it's- it's impossible to watch TV with my wife and not, to some extent, be thinking about potential things that I could do in videos, right?
Brady: Of course.
Grey: Or, if we're watching something even moderately interesting, like, "ooh, maybe this could be a video", and then you're not fully there, right? It's hard to be present absolutely one hundred percent of the time. So- so my argument is that even if you- even if you could make a switch between fifty percent work in the day fifty percent family at night, you are choosing a fifty-fifty distribution, and now you have allocated zero percent to friends and zero percent to health.
Grey: So, like, you still have to- you still- you have to do this negotiation between these four areas, and I think it is, it is uncomfortable to try to think about your time and attention in these ways, because nobody wants to give up on any of those categories. But I think- I think it is best to make really clear decisions about "What are you going to try to do?", "How much are your friendships worth to you?", "How much is your family worth to you?", "How much is worth worth- work worth to you?",--
Grey: --and make decisions about that. Um, and I guess one of the reasons why it's- it has just been on my mind in particular, um, this month, is because I've been really aware that for... basically the past two years, my health light bulb has been at literally zero. Nothing at all done in the realm of health.
Grey: And that was a very conscious decision, uh, when I was starting my YouTube career, like I'm- I was actually thinking about it in terms of these four categories and I had discussions with my wife about it, and it was a like, "we're just going to kind of ignore the health one, uh, while we're in this, this sort of rocky transition to self employment".
Brady: So you kind of said to yourself, "I'm, you know, I'm not-, I'm going to gonna like, not eat well or ex- or, um, you know, not exercise and you made a conscious decision to do that,--
Brady: --it wasn't that things got away from you, you just sort of said, "I'm doing it", you know, "I'm gonna be unhealthy".
Grey: That- that is exactly right. That was-
Brady: That's extraordinary.
Grey: [chuckles] Is it? [chuckles] Um...
Brady: I mean, I- I am unhealthy, I am that person too, but, I always tell myself, "I'm not going to--"
Grey: Okay, okay, right, so- but so this is- this is exactly it, right? Like, I am- I'm very interested in, uh, sort of, the science around decision making and- and cognition, and there's a lot of evidence that points to those kinds of thoughts in the back of your mind, the sort of like, feeling guilty that you are not acting in a healthy way, that that really erodes decision making in other areas over a long period of time. And so, I- I can honestly say that it was kind of- it was kind of a liberating experience to be able to say, "Look, I'm just going to- this light bulb is going off, right? At some point in the future we're going to reevaluate that situation", and for me that is now this time. Um,--
Brady: You realize this isn't a good thing though. Like,--
Brady: --like, like deciding to do something that's bad for you... doesn't make a good for you.
Grey: No, [chuckles] I'm not- [chuckles] no, no no, uh... you're making me sound like a crazy person. You- [chuckles] -you are the--
Brady: [chuckles] Well, all right, all right.
Grey: --you are the one making me sound that way, not me,--
Brady: Okay, all right.
Grey: --not my words out of my mouth. Um, what I mean is- is that I was- I was choosing not to feel guilty about a lack of exercise or particular food choices.
Grey: I wasn't making a positive decision that said, you know, "chocolate cake every day all day", right? That's- that's a different kind of thing. But if- if I was just grabbing, like, some junk food for a snack, I wasn't going to feel guilty about that. And,--
Brady: But that doesn't stop those calories going in your body,--
Brady: --or heart disease developing, or weight going on, just because--
Grey: No, not at all,--
Brady: Yeah, okay.
Grey: --right? I totally agree, right? And- and that is- that is like a consequence that has to be paid for a particular decision.
Grey: And, also, over roughly the past two years, so we're talking like my huge career,--
Grey: --I would say that my friend light bulb has been turned down to maybe, like, five percent of energy,--
Grey: --which is shamefully low. Um, and I feel guilty about not having spent enough time with people that I would want to spend time with, and, also, my wife light white- my wife light bulb has been lower than it should have been, right? Sort of the family light bulb.
Grey: But that was all because I was putting a lot of energy into the work. And I honestly don't think if I hadn't made conscious decisions to turn down putting energy into these other areas and not feeling guilty about it, I'm not sure that I would have been successful on YouTube in the necessary timeframe. And, I don't think that my decisions are necessarily good advice, for- generally for people to take, right? I'm- I'm not sitting here and advocating "everybody should put all of their energy into work",--
Grey: --but I was in a particular situation where I needed YouTube to become self sustaining within a particular period of time, and I don't think if I had divided my mental and physical energy across a whole bunch of fields, that that would have happened in the right timeframe.
Grey: That's- that is kind of my thought, but I'm- I'm not- my point is that I think, under certain circumstances, it is helpful to think about things in a very conscious, very deliberate way, and to eliminate guilt in other areas of your life if you need to focus on one area very intensely.
Brady: Well... I'm not buying it.
Grey: You're not buying it? Tell me why.
Brady: No, I'm not buying it. Well, I understand the logic of what you're saying. And it sounds familiar to some things that I say in my life, you know, I often make the argument that my obsession with work is the reason I've enjoyed a modicum of success with my work. And that's kind of what you're saying, you're saying, you know, "Because I've devoted so much energy to work, I've become more successful at it". But I think deciding not to be guilty about neglecting important things--
Brady: --doesn't change the fact you are neglecting them. And when you neglect things, you harm them.
Brady: So if you have a car and you decide not to service it or put oil in it or anything for a while, but you make a conscious decision not to feel bad about that,--
Brady: --that doesn't mean that eventually the engine is not going to seize up and the car will break.
Brady: And I think if you neglect your health, or you neglect your relationships, just because you're not feeling guilty about it, doesn't mean you're not damaging them. And I think that is what people like us should bear in mind. And I'm- I'm- pre- I find this very funny because I often have conversations like this with fellow YouTubers,--
Brady: --when I see how obsessive they are and I say, "You know what? You should think about the other aspects of your life". And the funny thing is, I then don't practice what I preach, and I'm probably the worst offender. So don't think--
Grey: Yeah, but preaching,--
Brady: --don't think I'm--
Grey: --preaching is much easier than practicing.
Brady: Yeah. So don't think I'm being high and mighty about this.
Grey: No, no, not at all.
Brady: But I- but I think- I think what I just said, I think just because- just because you're conscious of that neglect, and you've made a decision to neglect, it doesn't mean that neglect couldn't be harmful. Do you disagree?
Grey: No. I- I completely agree. And it's- it's one of the areas where, uh, I think that analogy with light bulbs doesn't pan out perfectly. Because, um, I can't- I can't remember, uh, where I first heard this analogy, but talking about interpersonal relationships as kind of like, bank accounts in the sense that, you know, if you spend time with someone, you're kind of investing into this friendship bank account, and there may be times when you're not available, or you're not being a good friend, and you can kind of "draw" to some extent on those previous investments,--
Grey: --but at some point, the bank account runs out, right?
Grey: And then it is irredeemable at that point, right? You reached, like, friendship bankruptcy.
Grey: Um,- and so I- I am totally with you on this. Uh,--
Grey: I agree, and, uh, I think that part of making hard decisions in life is coming to grips with areas in your life, which you're sort of willing to possibly have damage happen. And that's why when, um, I was focusing mainly on YouTube, uh, you know, I'm going to probably through the course of this conversation have a bunch of numbers that don't add up to one-hundred percent.
Grey: But- right? But let's- let's just say that basically, like, eighty percent of my effort was on work,--
Grey: --and sort of twenty percent was on family.
Grey: Because- all right? I am very happy with my marriage and not willing to risk long term damage to the marriage, right?
Grey: And so that light bulb can't be zero, because that, like, that is consequences that I'm not willing to accept, right? But in a- in a period where I have a lot of- a lot of things that need to get done and a limited amount of time and energy to do them, if I'm not willing to make any sacrifices on the family side of things, and I need to have an enormous amount of energy into the work side of things, something has to get cut. And that's- that's where I- I sort of find this- this analogy is- is useful. Um, and-
Brady: So the thing- so basically the thing you're saying's B.S., the thing that you think is the impossible dream--
Brady: -is to be hugely successful at work and maintain those other aspects of life hugely successfully as well.
Grey: Yeah, I--
Brady: To be the best friend in the world, to the best husband in the world, to be a ripped athlete with--
Brady: --incredible six pack and be making the best YouTube videos in the whole world. It's im--
Brady: It's physically impossible to do everything.
Grey: I- I honestly think that that is the case. Um, now there- there are some people who have great success in very many fields, and I'm always very interested to read about people who have come- become successful and- and what they get up to. Um, so- but I think that that is- that is definitely the case, you can't be the best friend in the world to all of your friends, and the best husband, and the best at work, and incredibly healthy all at the same time.
Brady: Yeah, but of course you can't, that's why it's called balance.
Brady. Or work life balance--
Brady: --because you decide how much weight to apportion to the different things.
Grey: [laughing] Right. But I guess- I guess what I'm- what I'm saying is- is that, apportioning equal balance to all things ends up in- in kind of mediocre results in all of them.
Grey: And I think that that is totally fine, right? I do not begrudge anyone who says "right, twenty-five across the board". I think that is a totally reasonable decision.
Brady: But you think it leads to mediocrity.
Grey: I think, yeah, it is very hard to be exceptional, if- if you are dedicating equal energy across the board. But I also think that that's- that is perfectly reasonable to do.
Grey: Um, it's, you know, it- it's just a very- I think people should just be aware of the decisions that they're making, right? And so if you- if whatever the field of work that you're in, if you want to try to be incredibly successful at that field, you're going to have to make, in the beginning, difficult decisions about "what other parts of your life are you going to cut?".
Grey: And I- and I- I get, I don't know if it'- it's- if it's frustrated, but, when people talk about, you know, wanting to- to do something, but not- not recognizing or not being willing to give up other areas of their life, that's- that's sort of frustrating for me to observe, and I- and I think that- that thinking about those areas very consciously is- is helpful, right?
Grey: If- if you're not willing to make the sacrifices, then I think you should also not feel guilty about not doing whatever it is you want to do, right? Becoming an Olympic skier. Don't feel guilty that you're not working on your Olympic skiing, if you've made like a "twenty-five percent across the board" decision for how to allocate your energy.
Brady: No pain, no gain.
Grey: Yeah, I guess so. Um, but I- I like this decision matrix, of like- "no pain, no gain" is- is- is vague, right? Like no-no-no,--
Brady: Whereas decision matrix is really specific and easy to understand.
Grey: [laughing] Yeah, right, or like, let's- here: Here's a board. Here's some dials. If you want to turn up any of the one dials, all the other dials turn down, right? Now let's decide where you're going to go with that. Um, and- and again, it just- it has been on my mind this month in particular, because I do- I do feel like I have finally gotten to the stage where I can turn down my business dial a little, because I need to turn the health dial back up, right? And- and I had been very aware of that this month where, excuse me, I've sort of changed my diet to try to be healthier and I've taken out more time to exercise,--
Brady: Oh, have you joined a gym?
Grey: I have- well, actually I have- I have uh, yes, I have joined a gym, is the short answer.
Brady: Is this the first time you've ever joined a gym?
Grey: No, it is not the first time I've ever joined a gym because, I used to join a gym and then feel badly about not going,--
Grey: --and, prior- very, very prior to my YouTube career, I used to have a more across the- the board setting of my priorities,--
Grey: --and I used to, like, cycle around London all the time, and- and I used to have, you know, engaging hobbies and like all of that just went away, um, you know, as- as YouTube took up more and more time. So,--
Brady: When you would like that, when you were more across the board, were you happy?
Grey: [sighs] Okay, that's a difficult question to answer, because the- the straight up answer is "yes". Um, but I can also say that I was always trying to do additional work on the side, right? Which might be something that we talk about more in detail in the future, but--
Grey: --I had like a number of little side businesses that I was trying, all through my professional life. And, you know, I was- I was dedicating to them, perhaps an insufficient amount of time to make them successful. And they--
Grey: --and they weren't. And that's because I was busy going around London, right? On my photography hobby, right? Taking pictures of all kinds of stuff. Um, like, if you look me up on Flickr, like, you can see a record of all of these pictures that I took,--
Grey: --and then you can see that it just abruptly stops, right? And that's- and that's partly because, like, I just have not had time or energy for photography hobby, so--
Brady: Now that you've tweaked the dials,--
Brady: --and you've, you know, for this past couple of years you've been YouTube machine, are you happier?
Grey: Yeah, I would say that I am. I- I would say without a doubt I would rather be where I am now, and having to kind of claw back some of the damage that was caused from ignoring my health for a while, than be where I was before, with a more even balance across the board.
Brady: You are a man of science, though,--
Brady: --and a man of logic. Surely you don't think it is a good way to live, to neglect your body for two years and then fix your body up and neglect something for- surely you must see that that's not the ideal way to operate.
Grey: I- I think- see the problem there is- is with your- your word ideal.
Grey: And- and I, like, I totally agree, I would rather have the level of fitness that I had five years ago,--
Grey: --um, than the level of fitness that I have now, but I- I am realistic, and I think that I would not be where I am today if I had not made decisions about sacrificing time, particularly in- in the health, you know, and also in the friends category, right?
Grey: But ideally, I would not want to do that. Like, I- I sit here today and I can say that I am like genuinely sad that some friends that I used to be in touch with more, that I'm not in touch with now. And that's a very hard thing to ever fix. But--
Brady: I guess the ideal test for the thesis you've- you're putting to us today, is to look at the most successful people in the world and say "are they fat, divorced and have no friends?"
Grey: [chuckles] That is an excellent question.
Brady: Because I'm the- because I'm the same as you,--
Brady: --and because I have, you know, neglected my health and relationships because of my, uh, obsession with work,--
Brady: --I kind of justify it the same way you do and I say "well, any success I've had is because of it". And, I don't know, if- if you spent two hours a day less thinking about work or switched off your computer a bit earlier and went out with your mates and went for a run, would you not be as successful? Really?
Grey: This gets into some complicated things about "the nature of work",--
Grey: --and, the kind of- of work that I think we do and that- that many people who are self employed do, it necessitates that that particular light bulb is turned up higher than it would normally be.
Grey: And so, um--
Brady: I agree with that. I agree with that.
Grey: --for- you know, for example, I have- I've spoken with a number of- of friends who are not self employed, and the general consensus of what everybody loves about their job is that when the workday is over, they don't care anymore.
Grey: It doesn't matter. They don't have to think about it anymore, because they'll go in tomorrow, and the work will be there and they- and they are paid to work a particular period of time, and then, day's over, and it doesn't matter anymore. And that's a huge psychological relief that you give up, if there is theoretically always something more that you can be doing.
Brady: And the other thing those people forget, is, like, I have a lot of friends that work in television and tell me how stressful their day is, but if the camera breaks, that's someone else's job to fix,--
Brady: --and if the lights go out, and if their computer stops working, that's the IT department, and someone else does this and- but when you work on your own, everything is your problem.
Brady: And those problems never go away.
Grey: Yeah. This is again, first world YouTuber problems, right? That--
Brady: Yeah, of course.
Grey: --that we are one people businesses. But my- my point is that, you know, I don't know exactly where this number is, but I- I think if you are a one person business of any kind, in order to keep that running, I don't think, you know, just to pick a number that the work light bulb can ever be below fifty watts, right? It can't be below sort of half your energy, no matter what you do, because everything is your responsibility, you know, in a one person business. Um,--
Brady: The one thing I want to come back to, though, with this analogy, and I know I--
Brady: --brought it up at the start and then you pulled a Grandi's series on me and kind of baffled me a bit,--
Brady: --but the thing I think is the debate to be had, for people like us, is: Can- do we switch the bulb off? Do we switch the work bulb off at 7pm or 8pm and switch the wife, you know, your wife bulb on, or your friend bulb on, at- and- can you ever turn that work bulb off? Because that's the thing that's put to me all the time by my, you know, the critics in my life. It's not that I work too much. In fact, it's said to me "work more hours if you want, wake up earlier, work later,"--
Brady: --"I don't mind,"--
Brady: --"but have a stop time." And partly that's for maintenance of your relationships and your friendships and your health,--
Brady: --but the argument that's put to me, again, I'm making other people's arguments here--
Grey: Yeah, yeah.
Brady: --is that, doing that is good for your work as well, it gives you kind of a refresh and it's healthy to stop thinking about work for a while. And, when you're talking about these light bulbs, you know, I'm- I'm sort of imagining even when you're at the movies with- with Mrs. CGP Grey,--
Brady: --or out with mates at the pub, that your work bulb is still dimly on at, you know, ten watts. And the thing I think that may be healthy is switch that bulb off altogether, if you can.
Grey: Yeah, well, I- I- I think the thing that I'm about to say you will sympathize with,--
Grey: --which is that I do not really have the ability to do that at this stage.
Grey: Right? Like I- I am not quite able to do that. I- I'm going to guess I'm going to make a guess about your personality here, but I'm going to guess that you are not a person who plays video games.
Brady: I am not, no.
Grey: Okay. Uh,--
Brady: I used to be many years ago, but I just can't get into them anymore, that's true.
Grey: Yeah. So I am still the person who plays video games.
Brady: Mm, okay.
Grey: And, I am a- I am very much aware that one of the reasons why I do still like to play video games is that it's one of the very few activities where I can say that I'm genuinely not thinking about work.
Grey: I will play, and it is totally absorbing, and I- I feel like I don't have, uh, any kind of work thoughts going on in the background and that's--
Grey: --that is enjoyable, and it's one of the reasons why, um, I know I've mentioned this on Reddit and a few places, but, almost always, the day or two after I release a video, which is always a huge push, at the very end to get that done, I basically take two days and it's like, "I'm not doing anything. I'm just going to sit here on this computer and just play a game, you know, for the next day or two", like, "this is- this is my weekend now, and I- I have to, like, reset my brain".
Grey: But I find that- that no other activity would do that, even if I preferred that it would. You know, if I took like a mini holiday with the missus, I would still be kind of thinking about, you know, "What are all the comments that are coming in?",--
Grey: --"Where did it get linked to?", "How is it being received?"--
Grey: --"Oh, God, what's the next thing going to be? The next thing, right?", which is always a huge concern. Um,--
Grey: Of course, now the very irony of this- this whole situation is that the games that I play are almost all a variation of some kind of work simulator, right?
Grey: So I do not play, like, first person shooter games,--
Grey: --right, I play a game that's in the sim category, right? You're in--
Brady: Oh, like CGP Gre- like "CGP Grey, the game" where you have to make a YouTube video before time runs out.
Grey: [laughing] Yeah, or it's like, you know, SimCity: "You're the mayor." Right?
Grey: Or Civilization: "You're in charge of this whole civilization. Now micromanage 100 cities." Right?
Grey: Or, um, the one I've been playing recently, which is very good and I recommend is, uh, Prison Architect. It's like, "you're in charge of a prison", right? You have--
Brady: Oh, that sounds good.
Grey: It is- I have to say it's very good, um--
Grey: --it's one I found recently it's very engaging, but, that's- so my only escape from thinking about work to some extent at any time is basically by playing a virtual work game. Um, which I'm sort of aware is a- is a strange thing to do, but it really does- it just- it like- it absorbs that part of my brain completely, and is like "here's some pretend work, go play with that", and that's the only kind of way that I can get a break from thinking about my actual work to some extent all the time.
Brady: Let me ask you this then. I have to a- if it's too personal, just tell me, but it begs the question then: Those around you, you know, family, friends, loved ones and all that, what do they think about your work life balance?
Grey: So, I- I would say, speaking on behalf of my wife, um, she... is a great woman. And I think there is- there is no way that I could have gotten through this- this sort of period of trying to become self employed and working on YouTube, if it wasn't for her incredible understanding.
Grey: And, I am very lucky that I married a woman who is very perfectly happy with time to herself, um, and also is really aware of needing to- to kind of leave me be at certain very intense work periods. Um, so, for- for- I- I sort of referenced it earlier, but whenever a video comes out, the sort of three or four days prior to that are the busiest I ever am, because I'm just doing all the animation,--
Grey: --and those are usually- and this isn't- this is not an exaggeration, those are usually four days of: I wake up, and I'm animating or editing the audio until I fall asleep. And I sort of do that for days in a row.
Grey: And my wife knows she's just not going to see me during those times, and if she does see me, I'm not a very chatty person.
Grey: And, she's okay with that. Um, and, I think if I had- if I had married somebody else, I think that could be really bad for a relationship over the long run, so I- I think it depends a lot on who you surround yourself with and some people are going to be okay with kind of disappearing for long periods of time and sometimes it's- it's- it's not okay and I think, um, prob- uh- probably, I don't want to get into too in specifics, but, like, one of the more difficult times was that, I usually spend the- the summers with my parents in North Carolina,--
Grey: --so I go to the states and I visit them. And this last summer, the whole Subbable project, my sort of, uh, fundraising project,--
Grey: --uh, happened to coincide with the time that I was spending with my family, you know, for a dedicated several weeks.
Brady: Ooh, there's a big overlap in the Venn diagram here.
Grey: Yeah, and normally, you know, like, my parents don't live here, and so I'm very glad and I feel very fortunate that I can go see them for several weeks at a time, um, but that Subbable period just happened to be an incredibly intense period of work,--
Grey: --that just soaked up all of my time. And so I- I was in- I was in America, you know, maybe it was for- for six weeks. And, you know, four and a half, five of those weeks, I was not really available to the people around me. Um, and again, my- my parents are great. They sort of- they understand, but that's a- that is a totally difficult time, because in my mind, it's like, "Okay, well here I'm supposed to be turning up the family light bulb to, like, very high, right? I'm physically here. It's a dedicated strength of- stretch of time",--
Grey: --um, but such is the nature of work, that sometimes it will- it will invade those times and there's just nothing that you can do about that, and yeah, it's- it can definitely be very hard.
Brady: Do you ever wish you were back, you know, nine to five, or... something like that? Or...
Grey: [laughing] No, I don't. I don't. Um, I- even with all the- even with all the- the trade offs that I've had to make, I'm very happy to be where I am now. Uh, but it- it- uh, I think it just- it just- it has been difficult and it has shaken my faith in the existence of a- of a real work life balance, even though I'm sort of trying to even out those knobs to the best of my ability at this stage,--
Grey: --at least with regards to the health knob, uh, of turning that one back up a little bit. Uh,--
Brady: What do you do at the gym then? Lift weights,--
Brady: --run? I'm just- I can't imagine you in the gym. Just humor me for just a second.
Grey: [laughing] What do you- what do you think I do in the gym?
Brady: I definitely think you listen to podcasts.
Grey: I don't. I don't listen to podcasts.
Brady: You must have some kind of electronic device involved somehow in your workout.
Grey: Oh, of course, of course, right? I'm there with my iPhone and keeping track of everything on my iPhone and I'm listening- listening to terrible usually electronica kind of music. Um,
Brady: That surprises me.
Grey: Alright. So no- no, uh, no podcasts. Any other guesses?
Brady: I kind of imagined you as a kind of- I can imagine you--
Brady: --getting into the weights.
Brady: I can imagine you, like, lifting some pretty heavy weights.
Grey: Lift- lifting weights, yes. Pretty heavy, no. Um,--
Grey: [laughing] --not at this stage. But yeah, that's- that's what I'm- uh, I'm doing. I sort of, uh, as- as you can imagine, I spent a lot of time trying to research making changes in- uh, to a more healthy lifestyle before I decided to do anything.
Brady: [giggles] Of course.
Grey: Um,- [laughs] it's like, well, I don't know anything about this, right? Let- like- let me actually research stuff. Um, and I came- I came basically to the conclusion that, if you- if you want to try to turn around things in a relatively short period of time,--
Grey: --the best way to do it is with strength training, which surprised me, right?
Grey: Because I would have been the idiot, uh, you know, being like, stupid sexy Flanders, right? Running on the treadmill. Um, right?
Grey: And it turns out like, no, that doesn't really help you in a shorter term, right? That might be good in long term, but not- not in the short term.
Grey: Uh, and then the second thing is- is- like there's all of these crazy diets all over the whole world of- of all of these variations of things that you can do, um, and so I'm like, "Well, what does- what does science have to say? What does science have to say about this?" And the thing that is common to, like, every crazy diet in the whole world is basically, "Hey, you know all those carbohydrates you eat? Don't eat them." Right?
Grey: They're- they're like the worst possible thing that you can eat. And so basically, those are the two changes that I've made. Like, I'm- I'm trying to do weights at the- the gym, very, very slowly.
Grey: Uh, and I'm trying to cut carbohydrates out of my diet, which is way harder than it sounds.
Brady: That is very hard, because they're also so yummy. But they're also everywhere.
Grey: That- yeah, that- that is- that is the thing is- is I never quite realized how much I eat that is basically pasta or bread. But that- but this is where, like, just to briefly touch on that analogy again, I am super aware this month that while I've been making this transition, my- my energy and my ability to do concentrated bursts of work is much lower.
Grey: And that's partly- that's partly why I'm very happy to be doing this podcast with you, because it's a different- it's not as- as incredibly intense as making the videos is, and I've also totally cheated by picking an easier topic for myself to do, hopefully by the end of this month. But I'm again, I'm really consciously aware that since I have- I have upped the health percentage, one of the consequences of that might be: I might not get a video out by the end of January, which, if I had not made this decision, I'm pretty confident I would have a video out by the end of January. But there are- like, there are trade offs in life. And this is- this is one of those trade offs that I- like, I have to up the healthage- health percentage, and the- the only place to take energy from is work. Um, so that's- that's sort of where I am right now.
Brady: All right mate, I'll see you in the gym, yeah?
Grey: [laughs] Yeah, I'll see you in the gym.
Brady: All right.
Grey: [laughing] Take care.
Brady: [laughing] Bye.
Episode List[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "H.I. #3: Four Light Bulbs". Hello Internet. Hello Internet. Retrieved 25 September 2017.