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  • This is the Audi R8;

  • it's a highly efficient and compelling car;

  • its engine produces an astonishing 199 kW at 6,500 rpm, and a torque of 330 Nm at 4000 rpm.

  • Now part of the reason that it's so sufficient, and part of what makes us human beings comparatively inefficient,

  • is that this car has only one goal, and that goal is exceptionally clear: it has to go very fast down tarmac roads.

  • As a general principle, no machine can be optimally efficient at more than one thing.

  • A robot that has to both climb stairs, and make pancakes will be far less efficient

  • than two distinct machines, each of which can focus exclusively on a single task.

  • The more limited the goals, the higher once chances efficiency.

  • Now, unlike the Audi sports car, our brains are not designed

  • or evolved to be maximally efficient at any one thing.

  • This amazing cognitive and emotional machine is a profound generalist

  • it comes moderately well equipped for a huge range of possible activities:

  • to write a novel, spearfish, bring up a child, drive very fast Fifth Avenue, sit in a high-rise office writing reports,

  • lie in a hut in New Guinea, marry, plot an assassination, live in an ice cave, go into politics, stay single,

  • or expand a small business into the Asia market.

  • Now the price we pay for being generalists is that we'll be less good at any one of the many activities we perform

  • than someone who did only one thing their whole life long.

  • We might not be the very best at inflating party balloons, the house will be a bit dirty,

  • we might be a bit late for the meeting, we'll not be perfect, patient, and interesting dinner companions,

  • we'll mess up the public presentation again, someone will probably be better and we are at helping a child to paint.

  • This might be quite depressing moments, perhaps late at night as we look back across the day,

  • but before we get too sad, we should realize that our less than completely optimal performance

  • is down to one very understandable thing:

  • that we've chosen and breadth and variety over total focus and narrow perfection,

  • and that's a very wise choice.

  • Focusing on one thing to the exclusion all others has its costs as anyone who's ever spoken to an athlete who trains 10 hours a day tends to find out.

  • There's a cost to being the human equivalent to the sports car.

  • Unfortunately, our society has set up an absurd idea:

  • that it will be possible to do many things and do them all completely well.

  • That's why we hear so much talk about an elusive thing called: "work-life balance".

  • Perfectly optimal career and a perfectly optimal home life.

  • This is a mad idea!

  • Work-life balance is impossible because everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.

  • We're not going to be a once the ideal domestic chef, child carer, and CEO.

  • If we're strung out across multiple roles, all will suffer, but that's okay.

  • That you're doing too much and none of it without mistakes isn't a sign that your life is gone wrong,

  • it's a sign of a very wise and understandable position:

  • that you've opted for imperfect variety over flawless focus.

This is the Audi R8;

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B1 INT UK efficient optimal life balance audi rpm work life

Work-Life Balance

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    Grovyle   posted on 2016/03/05
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