Writing vs. War

Question: Which is harder, writing or soldiering?

Jason Christopher Hartley: Writing is definitely harder. I mean soldiering is great. I mean soldiering is wonderful because it’s sort of -- for me, it’s the easiest thing you’ll ever do because the hardest thing is enlisting. Once you’re in, then it’s like you’re on a rollercoaster. There is nothing more you have to do. You just have to do what you’re told. And sometimes it’s really nice to like know, OK, here is what I’m doing. I’m going to wake up here. I’m going to go do this and then I’m going to come back. There is no homework. I don’t have to worry about it after work. I’m done, then I can go like watch DVDs and play video games and do it again the next day. It’s an incredibly addictive way to live, for me no better way of putting it. It’s nice. It’s nice to not have to kind of like think about certain things and just be the person who suffers, and it’s cold and you’re freezing your balls off and then this and that, and then something fun happens and you do it again and you just kind of… You know, the cycle continues.

Writing requires for me so much more because I have to think. I have to worry about what am I writing. I have to spend time doing research perhaps and then of course there’s like an amazing suffocating amount of self-doubt. Should I be writing this [“Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq”]? Then there’s all kinds of anxiety about the writing and… It’s, you know, yeah, so writing, as enjoyable as it can be at times and incredibly rewarding, definitely a lot harder than soldiering, frankly.

An Iraq veteran explains why the pen is more challenging than the sword.

3 ways to find a meaningful job, or find purpose in the job you already have

Learn how to redesign your job for maximum reward.

Videos
  • Broaching the question "What is my purpose?" is daunting – it's a grandiose idea, but research can make it a little more approachable if work is where you find your meaning. It turns out you can redesign your job to have maximum purpose.
  • There are 3 ways people find meaning at work, what Aaron Hurst calls the three elevations of impact. About a third of the population finds meaning at an individual level, from seeing the direct impact of their work on other people. Another third of people find their purpose at an organizational level. And the last third of people find meaning at a social level.
  • "What's interesting about these three elevations of impact is they enable us to find meaning in any job if we approach it the right way. And it shows how accessible purpose can be when we take responsibility for it in our work," says Hurst.
Keep reading Show less

Physicist advances a radical theory of gravity

Erik Verlinde has been compared to Einstein for completely rethinking the nature of gravity.

Photo by Willeke Duijvekam
Surprising Science
  • The Dutch physicist Erik Verlinde's hypothesis describes gravity as an "emergent" force not fundamental.
  • The scientist thinks his ideas describe the universe better than existing models, without resorting to "dark matter".
  • While some question his previous papers, Verlinde is reworking his ideas as a full-fledged theory.
Keep reading Show less

UPS has been discreetly using self-driving trucks to deliver cargo

TuSimple, an autonomous trucking company, has also engaged in test programs with the United States Postal Service and Amazon.


PAUL RATJE / Contributor
Technology & Innovation
  • This week, UPS announced that it's working with autonomous trucking startup TuSimple on a pilot project to deliver cargo in Arizona using self-driving trucks.
  • UPS has also acquired a minority stake in TuSimple.
  • TuSimple hopes its trucks will be fully autonomous — without a human driver — by late 2020, though regulatory questions remain.
Keep reading Show less