September 4, 2013

Invent Your Own Life's Meaning

The point of living is to create a life that 
reflects your values and satisfies your soul.

The following advice from the creator of the immensely popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip provides a point to living outside of the mainstream and its promotion of the "good life". 

Bill Waterson came by these words of wisdom from personal experience. Early in his career he worked for an advertising agency creating grocery ads, but he eventually escaped the corporate world to work on his own.

His quest for "personal fulfillment" lead him to create some of the most iconic comic characters in the history of funny. His wonderfully wacky world was born to a receptive and appreciative global audience.

How did he do it? By turning away from conventional modes of living and doing things his way. You can do it, too.

Bill Waterson's Advice

"Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. 

In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive.

Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success.

Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake.

A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to their potential.

As if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you're doing.

There are a million ways to sell yourself out and I guarantee you'll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble."
Invent your own life's meaning.

- Bill Waterson


  1. Somebody took all those quotes and made a comic strip in Waterson's style...when I saw it, it made my eyes weep and also made me glad to know that the artist is still living.

    1. The text from the comic strip in Waterson's style (and this post) is from a commencement speech that the artist/philosopher/activist gave at Kenyon College (in Ohio) in 1990.

      The whole text from which I have drawn the above quote is available at:

      Click here for Waterson's 1990 commencement speech.


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