Work means doing a thing even when you don’t want to do it. When you are tired, when you rather be doing something else, when you simply do not care.

Work is not play. Although it can be, it is not. Work is work.

Work commands you to engage with something you would not engage with were it any other day, were you to have 24 hours of free time to choose your own adventure and spend it doing something you actually want to do.

Work is hard. Not always, but often. Work is definitely hard.

Work is a concentrated effort. Maybe it doesn’t last four hours, maybe it only last thirty minutes — but in that moment you are doing it, you must focus. Otherwise, the work will not get done.

Work compounds. Like interest, it compounds. Which is to say, the more work you do, the easier it gets. It often compounds in other ways too; the better you get at work, the more of it there is to do.

Work is simple. Even when it’s complex, it is simple. A big project, which is to say a big piece of work, is made up of many smaller pieces of work — like building a house, you lay one brick after another until you’ve got your foundation. That doesn’t mean the roof gets any easier, but there’s no roof without the bricks at the bottom.

Work is a commitment. Work is not a thing you can do while you are doing something else. Doing two things at once is the perfect way to be mediocre at both. Also, it’s impossible. A basketball player doesn’t pass and shoot at the same time.

Again, work is work.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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