I have always been fascinated by the concept of doing great work and how one can find their true calling. It's a question that many of us ponder, especially when we're young and ambitious but don't know what path to choose. In this article, we'll explore some insights and advice on how to do great work and how to navigate the complex process of figuring out what to work on.

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Nov 18, 2023

4 min read

0

I have always been fascinated by the concept of doing great work and how one can find their true calling. It's a question that many of us ponder, especially when we're young and ambitious but don't know what path to choose. In this article, we'll explore some insights and advice on how to do great work and how to navigate the complex process of figuring out what to work on.

The first step in doing great work is to simply start working. Oftentimes, we may not be sure what to work on or where to begin, but it's important to take action and pick something to get started. It's okay to guess and even get it wrong sometimes. The key is to get going and learn along the way. Some of the most significant discoveries have come from noticing connections between different fields, so it's good to explore multiple areas of interest.

Once you've found something that you're excessively interested in, the next step is to learn enough about it to get to the forefront of knowledge. Knowledge expands in a fractal manner, and while it may seem smooth from a distance, once you get closer, you'll realize there are gaps that need to be filled. The skill lies in noticing these gaps, which can often lead to groundbreaking discoveries. Many great breakthroughs have come from asking questions about things that others took for granted.

Boldly chasing outlier ideas is another important aspect of doing great work. Even if other people aren't interested in them, or especially if they aren't, pursuing these ideas can lead to significant accomplishments. When you're excited about a possibility that others ignore and have the expertise to pinpoint what they're overlooking, it's a bet worth taking.

To summarize the steps: choose a field, learn enough to get to the frontier, notice gaps, and explore promising ones. This framework has been followed by numerous individuals who have achieved great things, whether they are painters or physicists. However, it's crucial to acknowledge that steps two and four will require hard work. The empirical evidence strongly suggests that hard work is essential for accomplishing great things. This is why it's important to work on something you're deeply interested in because interest will drive you to work harder than mere diligence ever could.

The three most powerful motives that can fuel your work are curiosity, delight, and the desire to do something impressive. Sometimes these motives converge, and when they do, it becomes the most powerful combination of all. The ultimate reward is discovering a new fractal bud, where you notice a crack in the surface of knowledge, pry it open, and find a whole new world inside.

However, figuring out what to work on can be a complicated process. It's challenging because you can't truly understand what most kinds of work are like until you actually do them. This means that the four steps mentioned earlier overlap, and you may have to dedicate years to something before truly knowing if you enjoy it or excel at it. This can lead to late decisions based on incomplete information.

Ambition further complicates the process of figuring out what to work on. There are two forms of ambition: one that precedes interest in a subject and one that grows out of it. Most successful individuals have a mix of both, but the more you have of the former, the harder it becomes to decide what path to choose. Traditional educational systems often expect you to commit to a field before you can truly understand what it entails, making it even more challenging for ambitious individuals to find their way.

So, what should you do if you're young and ambitious but don't know what to work on? The worst thing you can do is passively drift along, assuming that the problem will solve itself. You need to take action and actively seek opportunities. While there is no systematic procedure to follow, you can make yourself a big target for luck by being curious. Try different things, meet new people, read extensively, and ask lots of questions. Luck often plays a significant role in discovering what to work on, and by being curious, you increase your chances of encountering those serendipitous moments.

In conclusion, doing great work requires taking action, being curious, and continuously learning. It's a journey of exploration and discovery, where you choose a field, learn enough to reach the frontier, notice gaps, and explore promising ones. Hard work, fueled by curiosity, delight, and the desire to make an impact, is essential for achieving greatness. Remember, figuring out what to work on may be challenging, but by actively seeking opportunities and embracing curiosity, you increase your chances of finding your true calling. So, get out there, start working, and let curiosity guide you on your path to greatness.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Start working on your own projects and don't let "work" be defined by others. Take the initiative and pursue what genuinely interests you.
  • 2. Be curious and open-minded. Try new things, meet different people, and read extensively to broaden your perspectives and increase your chances of encountering lucky opportunities.
  • 3. Embrace hard work and dedicate yourself to the field you're deeply interested in. Passion and diligence will drive you to excel and achieve great things.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)