Sunday Snippet: Johnny Carson

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”

Consider a standard 40-hour work week. Not accounting for the prep work you may do at home or the time it takes to commute to the office, this means that you are spending about a third of your adult life at your job and about half of your waking hours at work. Doesn’t it only make sense that you pick a job that makes you happy rather than one that makes you miserable?

Far too many people go about life in a completely backwards fashion. They seek the lucrative careers and chase the bigger paycheck, even if it means going after a job that isn’t particularly fulfilling and, worse still, isn’t particularly enjoyable? Many people hate their jobs and they only do them as a matter of circumstance. They want to accumulate the time and wealth to do the things that do make them happy.

Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone is going to land a dream job and even when you do have the good fortune of doing what you love for a living, you won’t always love every moment. There is stress. There is hardship. But if it’s a job that, at its core, makes you happy, then you will indeed like yourself more and you’ll be far more content with your lot in life.

Generally speaking, Johnny Carson was before my time. Aside from watching a little Arsenio Hall, I didn’t get into late night talk shows until well into the Jay Leno era. Even so, I have watched clips of Johnny Carson at work and if you were to ask just about any comedian or host, they’d likely tell you that Johnny Carson is the gold standard. He was and always will be the man.

And he really did love what he did for a living.

Life is short. Yes, we have our obligations to our families and yes, we have to put roofs over our heads and food on the table, but if you don’t enjoy what you do, then what’s the point? You’ll be much happier at a lower-paying job that brings you joy than at a higher-paying job that you absolutely dread.

Take it from Johnny. He knows what he’s talking about.