The rule about doing what you love assumes a certain length of time
Unproductive pleasures pall eventually. After a while you get tired of lying on the beach. If you want to stay happy, you have to do something.
As a lower bound, you have to like your work more than any unproductive pleasure. You have to like what you do enough that the concept of „spare time“ seems mistaken. Which is not to say you have to spend all your time working. You can only work so much before you get tired and start to screw up. Then you want to do something else-even something mindless. But you don’t regard this time as the prize and the time you spend working as the pain you endure to earn it.
I put the lower bound there for practical reasons. If your work is not your favorite thing to do, you’ll have terrible problems with procrastination. You’ll have to force yourself to work, and when you resort to that the results are distinctly inferior.
To be happy I think you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. You have to be able to say, at the end, wow, that’s pretty cool. This doesn’t mean you have to make something. If you learn how to hang glide, or to speak a foreign language fluently, that will be enough to make you say, for a while at least, wow, that’s pretty cool. What there has to be is a test.
So one thing that falls just short of the standard, I think, is reading books. Except for some books in math and the hard sciences, there’s no test of how well you’ve read a book, and that’s why merely reading books doesn’t quite feel like work. You have to do something with what you’ve read to feel productive.
I think the best test is one Gino Lee taught me: to try to do things that would make your friends say wow. But it probably wouldn’t start to work properly till about age 22, because most people haven’t had a big enough sample to pick friends from before then.
It doesn’t mean, do what will make you happiest this second, but what will make you happiest over some longer period, like a week or a month
What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. When you can ask the opinions of people whose judgement you respect, what does it add to consider the opinions of people you don’t even know? [ 4 ]
But the fact is, almost anyone would rather, at any given moment, float about in the Carribbean, or have sex, or eat some delicious food, than work on hard problems
This is easy advice to give. It’s hard to follow, especially when you’re young. [ 5 ] Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what sugar daddy il you’d like to like.
That’s what leads people to try to write ple. They like reading novels. They notice that people who write them win Nobel prizes. What could be more wonderful, they think, than to be a novelist? But liking the idea of being a novelist is not enough; you have to like the actual work of novel-writing if you’re going to be good at it; you have to like making up elaborate lies.
Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind-though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself.