How to do what you love

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The way to do great work is to find something you like so much that you don’t have to force yourself to do it. But finding work you love does usually require discipline. It is very difficult.

The rule about doing what you love assumes a certain length of time. It doesn’t mean do what will make you happiest this second but do what will make you happiest over some longer period, like a week or a month. As a lower bound, you have to like what you do enough that the concept of “spare time” seems mistaken.

To be happy you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. The best test is to try to do things that would make your friends say “wow”.

Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like… It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.

The test of whether people love what they do is whether they’d do it even if they weren’t paid for it—even if they had to work at another job to make a living: How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free?

All parents tend to be more conservative for their kids than they would for themselves, simply because, as parents, they share risks more than rewards.

The organic route: as you become more eminent, gradually to increase the parts of your job that you like at the expense of those you don’t.

The two-job route: to work at things you don’t like to get money to work on things you do.

Don’t decide too soon. Kids who know early what they want to do seem impressive, as if they got the answer to some math question before the other kids. They have an answer, certainly, but odds are it’s wrong. You don’t want to have a life chosen for you by a high-school kid.

In the design of lives, as in the design of most other things, you get better results if you use flexible media.