Why Selective Work is the Greatest Holiday

Summary Keywords

work, hamlet, feeling, holidays, routine, hour, stuck, retirement, studying, remember, rest, year, directionless, weekends, concept, single, massive action, play, comment, ceaseless, selective school


Steve Xu


Steve Xu 00:00

Why are holidays boring? Now most of you spend most of the year looking forward to seasons like Christmas, New Year’s, so that you can party and have fun, or you look forward towards a weekend so that you can relax and de stress from selective school or opportunity class school. I used to be like that as well. I remember, as a kid, I always look forward towards Christmas. It’s like Christmas, you’re not I mean, you present to get gifts, you gotta you know, celebrate with your family. It’s all good. But then what I realized as I got older and older, was that I approach things the wrong way. I realized when I think I was about 20 or 21 years old, that holidays, and the idea of rest, and retirement was actually really, really boring. Now, as a kid, you don’t understand this. But let me explain. Let me explain a little bit. I know you guys freaking out. Let me explain what I realized and how I think it’s going to really benefit you so that you’re feeling like you’re on a holiday, every single day. 

The paradox of retirement and holidays, is that you can never get enough of doing nothing. If you do nothing, right, which is exactly what you do during the holiday season. You can never really get enough of that. And I remember very clearly, when I was about 21 years old, I remember I took two months off, right, I took two months completely off, I didn’t do anything, I didn’t work, I didn’t study, all I did was I stayed at home, I went to the beach every single day, I went to the beach every single day. And it was perhaps the most miserable time of my life. Why? Because I wasn’t growing, because I wasn’t doing anything. There have been so many studies that have shown people who go into retirement and are feeling really, really bored and actually unhappier than when they were working.

Steve Xu 02:00

How funny is that? Imagine like you guys are like, Yeah, I just want to grow old, I just want to be retired, so I don’t have to do any work. But in actual fact, human beings were designed and we’re born to work, we weren’t born to rest. Okay, 1000s and 1000s of years ago, there was no time to rest, right? It was like, if you didn’t hunt, and you know, you know, cook food, and you didn’t, you know, travel, you’d be killed. Okay, so you have to work every single day. So genetically, right, evolutionarily speaking, we have adapted to work. And so what I realized at the time was, well, this is really interesting. I don’t want to be on the beach every single day, just relaxing. But I also don’t want to work either. Because every single time I went back to doing work, like studying for uni, or working really, really hard, I would always look forward to the beach. But then when I went to the beach, I would feel like I want to do work. And I feel guilty that I wasn’t doing work. And so I was caught in what I call the dichotomy of work and rest. Because I defined the walk that I did as walk and I defined the rest of that I did as rest. And it wasn’t until many years later, actually just recently that I discovered this concept of flow, the concept of flow and finding flow in all the everyday work that you do. 


This has actually enabled me to work seven days a week, for basically the entire year, apart from maybe Christmas and New Year’s without feeling burnt out and stressed at all. And the reason why I’m able to do this is because it doesn’t feel like work to me. So I want you guys to comment down below if you want to have that feeling. You want to be able to complete work without having the work feel like work and feeling as if every single day is a holiday whilst you’re not actually resting, but you’re doing work. So it’s a pretty crazy concept. But let me explain how I do this. So there are essentially three things that are involved. Number one is what I call the three hour deep work session that happens in the morning every single day. Number two is freedom through routine. And number three, I want to talk about Hamlet’s inertia

So let’s start with one, the three hour deep work. So every morning, I wake up at about five o’clock. The reason why I wake up at five o’clock is because I’ve no distractions, there’s no one but nobody around me everyone’s still sleeping. And so from five o’clock to about eight o’clock, I get the most important tasks for the day done. So I’m no longer scrambling, I’m no longer worrying. There’s nothing that I need to worry about for the rest of the day. So the rest of the day, I’m basically in retirement, I can do whatever I want, right? But those first three hours are absolutely crucial. Why? Because most of you go to school, you go to school from nine o’clock to three o’clock and most of you go to school with the feeling that hey, once you come back home, you have all this work to do. And it feels really, really overwhelming, and you kind of feel like always anxious, and it’s always like you’re catching up to the next day, catching up to the next day, you’ve always got this stockpile of work that you need to do when you come home, you’re kind of dreading it, and you are not in control of your life. And of course, if you’re not in control of your life, you’re always looking forward to the weekends. But then the problem with the weekends is, once you have the weekends, you know that money is gonna come, and then you have to do work again. 

And so again, you’re kind of just juggling, or you’re just kind of spinning in the ceaseless cycle of the dichotomy of work and rest. Instead of being stuck in the ceaseless cycle of the dichotomy of work and rest, you can eliminate all of that by establishing the three hour deep session work every single day. Because once you get that three hour deep work done, or it could be two hours for you. So you’ve done your childhood, you’ve done all the homework that you need to do for the day, then you have the rest of the day free. And so every single day is basically like a little holiday. You’re unburdened, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do after you’ve done those two to three hours of deep work. And this is such a powerful tool. Nobody talks about it, everybody talks about like, you know how to maximize the amount of time that you have during, you know, after school, it’s dumb, wake up early, wake up at five, wake up at six, get the work done early, so that you have the rest of the day free, and you can live your own holiday. 


The second thing that I want to mention is freedom through routine. So let me tell you guys a story. I remember when I was in the seventh, I had this assignment. And I knew that it was due and like, like a month’s time. And every single day, what I would do is I would pretend to work. It was history, Simon and every single day, I would pretend to work I remember it was like on, you know, on Native Americans, and yet to write about, like some kind of war or something going on, I can’t remember exactly what it was. But anyway, I had to write an assignment on it. And I had like, you know, a huge, very, very long amount of time to do. And I really didn’t do any work until the very, very last day. And I just sat down and I spent three hours and I finished the entire assignment in three hours. Now, up until that very, very last day, I was always stuck in this feeling of just mindlessness, right? And being mindless is not a good feeling. Right? Even though I was kind of like halfway in between doing work and watching YouTube, all stuck in that midway point. So I was kind of stuck between the work. But I was also not really enjoying the YouTube videos that I was watching. And I wasn’t really enjoying the kind of leisurely time. And this is what I find so many of you guys trapped in, right. It’s like you guys are trapped in your procrastination where you watch YouTube videos when you’re meant to be studying. 

The problem is, you don’t even enjoy the YouTube, you feel guilty afterwards. And you also don’t get the study done. So what I came up with after that was this concept of freedom through routine, which is that if you want to be free, to have spare time to play games, or to do whatever you want, you need to stick to your routine. And the routine is hard. Nobody wants to stick to a routine. Right? If everybody is such a routine, everybody would be billionaires, right? Everyone will be so unbelievably powerful, wealthy, etc. Right? Everyone, buddy would be in shape, everybody would have a six pack. But that’s not how the world is right? The world is what weights are going up. And you know, last year I was really, really overweight. So I can’t speak to that. You know, and people are getting more distracted than ever before. And so establishing a routine is so important right now, how do you establish your routine, start off with a three hour deep work session. And don’t do anything, eliminate all distractions. Give that three hour deep work session done every single day. And also very carefully divide between play time and work time.

Steve Xu 08:57

Don’t mix them together. If you mix them together, you won’t enjoy your playtime and you’re not going to enjoy your work time. Right and you’re just basically wasting your time. And time. Like I said, it’s the most important commodity in the world. Right? It’s the most important commodity. So make sure that you cherish it. The last thing that I want to mention is this idea of Hamlet’s inertia, or Hamlet’s indecision. So when I was in Year 12, I studied Hamlet. And Hamlet’s a really interesting play. Because basically, nothing happens for the entire play. It’s just Hamlet thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking, whether or not he should kill his uncle to avenge his father’s death, or if he should just kind of get rid of himself. And so he’s thinking Thing, Thing, Thing, Thing, Thing thing, all the way until the very last moment, he finally decided, say, You know what, I’m going to get rid of the uncle. And so finally he makes a move, and he does. 


Most of you are like Hamlet, in that you do not make clear decisions for yourself. You’re stuck in this kind of haziness of indecision, and it is literally like killing your minds, right? Your minds are so scattered, your minds are so just, you know, hazy and unclear that you can’t just get the work done. So instead of being like Hamlet, the solution to that problem is to take massive action. Even if it’s a wrong action, what you should do during the holidays is take massive action. Don’t just sit there and you know, feeling guilty feeling like, you know, Hey, should I be studying? Should I be doing this? Get the work done, right. Just sit down at a desk, get the work done. Do some Wim Hof breathing beforehand, take a cold shower, do something, do anything that Prime’s you into a state where you just get a lot of work done and just get some work done. That is it. Comment down below? What do you usually do during the holidays? Do you play Do you have fun? Do you have a rest? Or do you find yourself kind of stuck in Hamlet situation where you’re kind of in between playing rest and you’re not really sure what to do all day long, and you’re a bit mindless or a bit directionless. And more importantly, comment down below if you found these tips helpful. Okay, like, comment, subscribe, let me know what you guys want to see in the next few. I’m recording a lot of these so please let me know what you want to see in the next video. And I’ll see you guys very soon.

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