If you have more than one reason to do something … just don’t do it. It does not mean that one reason is better than two, just that by invoking more than one reason you are trying to convince yourself to do something. Obvious decisions (robust to error) require no more than a single reason.
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
In Part 1 I argued that career satisfaction is built, not found. The implicit problem is that if expertise tends to precede true passion, and world-class experts spend at least 10,000 hours honing their crafts, where along the trajectory of career development can we say, “I have given it a fair chance, and it is time to move on”? Continue reading “Why “pursuing your dream” is wrong (2/2)”
In 2005, the late Steve Jobs delivered a memorable speech to graduates of Stanford University partly on the theme of career dreams. “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle,” said him, adding that “Money will come.” After the housing bubble burst and lots of dream-chasers their lost jobs in 2007, I stumbled upon a 2008 Business Week article titled “Personality and the Perfect Job.” Books titled along the same themes, such as Do What You Are follow a similar paradigm as well. For those who needed a faster fix, the internet offered solutions too. Stuck in life? Oprah has a 28-question quiz to find who you really want to be!
The implication is clear: if you failed, it’s because that was not your real passion; pick another dream.
Over the past year, I began to wonder whether the endless pursuit for pre-existing passions is missing the mark altogether.
Photo Credit: Urbanesia.com
Continue reading “Why “pursuing your dream” is wrong (1/2)”
[I]t was the curious power of electronic collaboration that contributed to the New Groupthink in the first place. What created Linux, or Wikipedia, if not a gigantic electronic brainstorming session? But we’re so impressed by the power of online collaboration that we’ve come to overvalue all group work at the expense of solo thought. We fail to realize that participating in an online working group is a form of solitude all its own.
Susan Cain, Author, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Any aspect of life to which attention is directed will loom large in a global evaluation. This is the essence of the focusing illusion, which can be described in a single sentence:
Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning Economist, in Thinking, Fast and Slow
Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us. If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take?
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
In a prior post I began to describe how Michael Porter’s Five Forces, a mainstay in corporate strategy, can be applied to analyze why my brother cannot seem to finish the Harry Potter series and why I have a mounting pile of books on my to-read list. Then in a footnote I explained why corporate competition and personal activities are in many ways analogous.
The final part of the discussion follows. Continue reading “[Part 3/3] Reading through the Lens of Porter’s Five Forces”