Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Love Your Work

Paul Graham ponders how to do what you love. Part of it is not accepting that work must be painful, and not lowering your expectations:

[M]ost people pre-emptively lower their expectations. For example, if you asked random people on the street if they’d like to be able to draw like Leonardo, you’d find most would say something like “Oh, I can’t draw.” This is more a statement of intention than fact; it means, I’m not going to try. Because the fact is, if you took a random person off the street and somehow got them to work as hard as they possibly could at drawing for the next twenty years, they’d get surprisingly far. But it would require a great moral effort; it would mean staring failure in the eye every day for years. And so to protect themselves people say “I can’t.”

Some people I know or knew have a hard time deciding what they want to do in life. Indeed there’s so many jobs to choose from. Some seem to be more fun, others seem to pay better, others seem to fit one’s skillset more completely.

When I was younger, a person from the employment office came to school. He gave a lecture and handed out all sorts of tests in preparation for our career. Later on we went to the employment office to take a computer-aided test. We had to enter our interests and skills and the computer would then calculate our ideal job. Guess what the computer told me I’d be perfect with... I can’t remember the exact job title, but it was about repairing/ maintaining church organs! I wish I was kidding. Naturally, at that time, the computer didn’t store anything about that World Wide Web that was about to erupt into the mainstream.

Maybe a single message would’ve been more helpful to us back then: “Like most other humans, your profile doesn’t fit a category in this program. Please, embrace uncertainty, and if necessary, invent the job of your dreams.”

[Via Shanti’s Dispatches.]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!