Jon Stewart, Life Coach

Jon Stewart reaveals to The Guardian the details surrounding his decision to leave “the most perfect job in the world” and in doing so shows that like so many of us he is trying to figure out a balance. These snippets especially provide so much more insight than a self-help book, about knowing when you need to look at where you are and ask yourself how you're feeling about where you are. What do you do with the answer to that question?

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“It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.’” He slaps his hands on his desk, conclusively. 

“These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realise, ‘OK, I’m on the back side of it now.’”

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We speak soon after Stewart announces his retirement from The Daily Show. He is in his office in New York, preparing to shoot a Friday-night episode, and the difference in his mood is striking. His voice is about an octave lower, and he sounds weary, weighed down.

But talking about his film in London, he is animated to the point of hyperactivity, gleefully pointing out the pretentious decor in the hotel room where we meet (“A photo of a submissive woman with a cigar in her mouth! Just what every room needs!”).

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“But you don’t want to make any kind of decision when you’re in the crucible of the process, just like you don’t decide whether you’re going to continue to run marathons in mile 24,” he says.

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“Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process. I was just thinking, ‘Are there other ways to skin this cat?’ And, beyond that, it would be nice to be home when my little elves get home from school, occasionally.”

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Not since Oprah Winfrey announced her retirement from network television has a US TV host’s departure received such international coverage, but Stewart bridles when I make the Winfrey comparison: “If Oprah can leave and the world still spins, I honestly think it will survive me.”

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