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I’m Really Tired. It’s A Good Thing. (bubs.co)
31 points by dariusmonsef on Aug 1, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

The really strong guy at the gym has probably figured out the importance of rest. If you just watched him dead lift a ton of weight, odds are very good that he didn't dead lift the day before, even if he was at the gym working on something else. He also probably takes an entire week of active rest after every 6-8 weeks of heavy lifting. He's working his ass off, but he's also being smart about it.

Agreed. And I'm not literally running a marathon every day. A more accurate analogy might have been a triathlon or decathlon. I just wanted to paint the picture of somebody who's achieved success in something, but if you looked at them at the point end of having just done something exhausting... big surprise, they'd look exhausted.

> If I wasn’t tired, there’s no way I could be doing a great job at all of those things

His point might have been that when you are tired your ability to do a great job is severely lessened compared to when you are not, this includes your ability to realistically evaluate how good of a job you are doing. Being tired means that you have impaired working memory, attention (especially vigilance), descision making abilities and general cognitive function.

I can't think of a more important predictor to the ability to get work done for long periods of time than knowing how to manage your life and time enough to not be tired all the time. They don't give a shit about how many hours you work, they care about how much necessary work you get done.

There's a trade-off to make here obviously, sometimes it's worth it. Some tasks can still be done if you are operating at 50% of your abilities, but if running a startup and parenting were that easy our world would be quite different.

I won't speculate on the specific situation you talk about because I don't know the details and you do. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

That said, your post rubbed me the wrong way because it's too much like the common geek macho bullshit that's too common in this community. You can't bully your brain into working better just with a self-help pep talk full of bland aphorisms and completely ignorant of modern knowledge about health and productivity. And you might want to avoid the comparisons to athletics - elite athletes talk about and track their rest obsessively. They don't show up to a tryout injured and defensively complain when it's pointed out.

For a fuller perspective on what my thoughts are on geek macho bullshit, you might care to read: http://bubs.co/if-you-ever-feel-alone-in-this (I agree that there is too much of it.)

And I should know better than to post any kind of general analogy as a way to illustrate a story here on HN with a bunch of smart people who'll punch holes in the technical impracticalities of such analogy... but yes, I took a negative word of "tired" and bent it to tell a story. Rest is important. Operating at 50% isn't good for the long haul.

I wasn't trying to suggest that being tired in a way that affects ongoing abilities to perform is a good thing. I just wanted to point out that if you just pop your head in to take a measurement of something, without the context of everything else going on, then that measurement might be off... ie, the investor seeing me as tired, without knowing it was because of the intensely productive and long week I had just come out of.

I clicked through and realized I had read that already and liked it quite a bit, I just read it again and I still do.

I was aware of my comment being close to one of those too typical "here's what's wrong with this post" comments, but you hit on two things that aggravate me the most in our community and I'm a bit of a pusher of the whole "work smarter, work less, get more done" line of thinking in general.

"the investor seeing me as tired, without knowing it was because of the intensely productive and long week I had just come out of"

That's why I gave you the benefit of the doubt, I figured this was part of your meaning and why you put the sports analogy in there. I'm with you 100% here, but when you drifted towards the glorification of long hours and threw in a "changing the world" (I hate this delusion with a passion, but you should obviously get a pass because with Hands.org you are one of the very few actually trying to do good) I got a bit snarky.

Wait wait... two people seemed to disagree on the internet and then after a few traded messages they end up in agreement and a better understanding of each other... we might have just broken the internet. :)

How very refreshing :)

(In my experience,) Tired isn't sustainable. It might indeed prove you have the grit to make it, but don't make a lifestyle out of it please.

I'd agree that "tired" ie, without energy or running on fumes isn't sustainable. But I'm more speaking about the ups & downs of "tired." If you don't have the energy to do what you're doing and are using something else to get you through each day, ie, way too much caffeine, drugs, etc. Then yeah, you gotta make some changes.

totally agree. I've been tired for 3 years and eventually you discover you just have to give sone things up or not operate at full intensity at all times. otherwise you'll be doing everything crappily

I love the ending of your article! Cheer up. You're the one running the company, what the hell do the VCs know. They get a pay check regardless of how many hours they show up for work. high five

Thanks Kirill, but I am cheered up. :) When I was first told, it took me by surprise and I've since thought a lot about it. Once I spent some time really processing it, I had to write down what I realized.

Some people thrive on finding other peoples' weaknesses, especially those based upon appearances. In PUA terms they're negging you.

Probably true... but they didn't end up full-closing.

I get your point and I believe that quite sucks.

There might be a number of reasons why they do that. Maybe it's just a reason they give for rejection while the real reason is somewhat uncomfortable to say. Maybe they are afraid that you will burn out (and that's legitimate concern, take a break!). Maybe someone enthusiastic just gives a better feeling, vibe, something not very conscious. Because while you are with someone energetic, optimistic, you suddenly become like him. When you are with someone exhausted, you might start to feel the same.

I get your pain, I respect your hard work, but I'd suggest to put yourself in their shoes - maybe there's something you haven't noticed? :)

Oh, yeah. It took me a while to process what they said, because I did put myself in their shoes... Am I really tired looking? Does my team think that? Am I putting off a negative tired vibe, or an excited about the hard work vibe, etc.

At the end of the day, and having talked to my team and family, I decided they just took a thin slice of experience and used it to make it into a negative... perhaps instead of being adult enough to say the real reason they didn't believe in me, the business, etc.

Obviously if you feel tired you won't function at 100%, but even worse, people who've accumulated a sleep debt (or approx. equivalently, borrowed extra hours of wakefulness), may report feeling rested and yet still suffer severe performance deficits:


A great article. The point of not only working hard for your career but working hard to build a great family is really refreshing. Too often we see people going, "all in", on one aspect of their lives, whether that is career or personal enjoyment. The balance described might make him tired, but as he said that is a really good thing.

I'm really tired too.

So am I. But it's a good thing. :)

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