Picking a path
There is a lot of different advice when it comes to making a decision and picking a path.
A quote by Kevin Kelly in the book Excellent Advice for Living proposes:
Whenever you can’t decide which path to take pick the one that produces change.
He also says:
Whenever you have a choice between being right or being kind be kind. No exceptions. Don’t confuse kindness with weakness.
I like both of these approaches.
As mentioned in my post on fatherly wisdom, I once worked with someone who said when he has a choice to make he will pick the one that is the most interesting.
Maybe we pick one of these approaches or it is a combination of them, or maybe it is pick the one that is the most fun or the one that is the most challenging. Perhaps, picking an approach or at least considering them is the key part as opposed to which one.
In Build - An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Faddell, who developed the iPod for Apple, he discusses how to make career choices:
So when you’re looking at the array of potential careers before you, the correct place to start is this: “What do I want to learn?”
For me, this is a very important aspect of a job. I need to be learning something to make it interesting and enjoyable - but I guess you knew that.
He also suggests that you should follow what you are naturally interested in. It is easier to take risks when you are younger and you have less dependencies:
The best way to find a job you’ll love and a career that will eventually make you successful is to follow what you’re naturally interested in, then take risks when choosing where to work. Follow your curiosity rather than a business school playbook about how to make money. Assume that for much of your twenties your choices will not work out and the companies you join or start will likely fail. Early adulthood is about watching your dreams go up in flames and learning as much as you can from the ashes. Do, fail, learn. The rest will follow.
Another aspect to consider is who you will work with. The best roles I have had have been due to the people I have worked with and learnt from. He extends this to also consider making a dent in the world by doing something meaningful.
What you do matters. Where you work matters. Most importantly, who you work with and learn from matters. Too many people see work as a means to an end, as a way to make enough money to stop working. But getting a job is your opportunity to make a dent in the world. To put your focus and energy and your precious, precious time toward something meaningful.
I am sure I could find a whole bunch of other criteria to consider when picking a path. However the key seems to be take the time to consider the why behind the decision.
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