Career Advice

A question popped up in my Quora feed today that prompted a short sidetrack into a topic I think many of us struggle with on a regular basis: work.  The Question:

I hate my job, but it pays a lot of money. What should I do?

On a whim I decided to contribute a unique perspective, seeing as I am in the exact opposite situation. Here’s my response:

Interesting question.

To give you a different perspective, my job/life is spectacular but my bank account is empty. I work 80 hours a week but only a small fraction are paid.   It isn’t such a big deal because a. I live an extraordinary life and b. doing what you love eventually pays off.  Last month I spent my birthday in Doha, Qatar.  Last weekend I was sailing SF Bay during a break from building a game to map the brain with MIT.  Two examples of hundreds.. Extraordinarily wonderful and surprising things will happen when you stop focusing on money and start focusing on living with passion.  Reevaluate why you value the ideas and things that matter to you.

There is no substitute for living a life you love.  Start now..it will only get harder to change

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What are you passionate about?

Yesterday I was asked “what are you passionate about?”  Refreshing.  And told to answer in 100 words or less.  Interesting challenge.

This question in the TEDGlobal application catechism caught my attention.  At first I scoffed.  How can I capture my zest in 100 words..I need a thousand, ten thousand.. and then I began to write. 

Scoff turns to intrigue as I realize this is a conversation with a quiet comrade, not a monologue.  Who am I, what fuels me is the question.  Introduce, don’t preach.  Outline my horizon.

I think high and wide and a hurricane of vocabulary in strange grammatical structure erupts from my brain.   Thoughts of thousands of words melt into hundreds, then dozens.  This challenge poises an opportunity for precise creative thinking.  As I progress in my answer I am captured by the notion that my initial reaction has morphed into a beautiful realization. 

I used the 100 words to create a chromosome of passion.  This is an outline of me, not the complete expression.  In this attempt to densely pack  myself into 100 words I found, surprisingly, that my passion required just four.  And I am delighted to share them with you.

Question:  What are you passionate about?

“Curiosity.  Endless exploration and perpetual discovery. History, etymology, literature (Seneca, Voltaire, Nietzsche+), scientific theory, travel, the human mind…My greatest curiosity is consciousness and how “I” exists.  I am obsessed with systems and complexity. Interdisciplinarity fuels my revelry in reality’s infinite variety.  Bilateral symmetry, philharmonic sound, fractals, posture, creativity, the wild..adamantly I focus and refocus my perception of the world and myself.  A dynamic innovative mind am I who lives for both the unexpected surprise and long developed accomplishment. In 100 words I need but four to tell you:  My passion is life.”

We should all be asked this more frequently.  Have a go, what are you passionate about?

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