The Right Reasons

TL;DR:

Make sure you’re the “author of your own ambitions” by ignoring prestige and not needing approval.


Another great article from Brain Pickings: How to find your purpose and doing what you love. Below are some details I’ve gleaned from this and some related posts.

Paul Graham tells us that doing anything for prestige is generally not a good idea. “If it didn’t suck, then they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.” He says prestige pushes us from working on what we like into working on what we’d like to like.

A TED talk from Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success. The whole thing is great, but my favorite part is his emphasis on making sure that the “success” we’re striving for is our own idea, not somebody else’s. It’s crucial to make sure we are the “authors of our own ambitions.”

Hugh MacLeod tells us the best way to get approval is not to need it. Nothing to add except that he’s right.

Denise Shekerjian tells us: “The trick to creativity, if there is a single useful thing to say about it, is to identify your own peculiar talent and then to settle down to work with it for a good long time.”

So get back to whatever you love to do!

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