best generic career advice
If anyone asks me for advice on how to know if they should pursue a hobby / job / career / spend more time with a person, a safe and actually very useful heuristic is:
Pick the thing where you lose track of time when you do it
It automatically fixes a whole bunch of priorities. If time is flowing easily, it means that
- You can do more of it
- The self is not overly salient. No self rumination. Therefore : Joy or at least deep focus
- Because you do more of it, you improve
- Because you improve, you do more of it. Repeat cycle.
What does it require?
- Uninterrupted deep focus
- Collaborative and competitive environments
- Apprenticeship - you need to be under a master/mentor
- Not seeking external reward- autotelic. You do it because you intrinsically enjoy it.
After our basic needs are met: food, clothes, shelter- what we are really seeking are states of mind.
And I’m pretty sure this is a consistent peak of ‘human experience’ in Sam Harris’s analogy of the peaks and valleys of human suffering/flourishing.
It’s my go-to generic crisis advice at the moment. But of course, the topic is always more complex and individual dependent. We can’t all find a career or job where you are losing track of time. But you need to get that somewhere.
So if you find a person/hobby/skill/job where you’re consistently losing track of time - I think you’ve hit a winner.