How To Do What You Love

Every time I see a news headline bemoaning the 20% underemployment rate and how we’re in the midst of the worst recession in our lifetimes, I cringe a little and wonder if I should hunker down in my cushy shelter of employment for just a tad bit longer. I should really give it at least 6 months, I tell myself. I could learn to like it.

My inner id said No. Not just No but HELL NO. YOU ONLY GET EACH DAY ONCE. How much is it worth to live a day in the prime of my life to its fullest? When I’m 70, what would I give to spend a day as a 30-year-old again? A hell of a lot more than this salary I don’t need.

Life is too short to waste time on tedious work. This is an older essay by Paul Graham, and I try to remind myself to read it whenever I’m feeling shiftless. It makes me feel a little bit better about not having everything figured out just yet.

One of my favorite passages:

A friend of mine who is a quite successful doctor complains constantly about her job. When people applying to medical school ask her for advice, she wants to shake them and yell “Don’t do it!” (But she never does.) How did she get into this fix? In high school she already wanted to be a doctor. And she is so ambitious and determined that she overcame every obstacle along the way—including, unfortunately, not liking it.

Now she has a life chosen for her by a high-school kid.

How to Do What You Love — Paul Graham

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