I spent the better part of childhood playing video games. These absurdist approaches to accomplishment — rescuing a princess by jumping over turtles, rolling ever larger objects until you physically create a moon, or growing potatoes to defend against a brigade of the undead — they were immensely enjoyable. “Enjoyable” was all that video games were ever designed to be… until now.
As a kid, when my mom would grow upset when I go over my allotted hour – usually by factors >100% – I would defend by claiming it is improving my ability to think ahead and coordinate my hands and eyes. Now, twenty years later, science has begun to prove me right. However, when I sent this article to her to prove my point, she just chuckled and said that these things don’t actually translate to better jobs, better income, or even better “real-life” skills. Continue reading
… is the average attention span.
Marketing theory says seven seconds is how much time a digital marketeer has to prime a customer’s attention. Entrepreneurship adage claims that the first seven seconds of an elevator pitch matters the most. It’s how long we take to figure out what’s on TV before deciding to switching the channel, how much time elapses before your doctor interrupts your “what happened,” and how quickly we grow tired of the mundane for a better thrill.
Gazing through a pair of thick black frames, salt-and-pepper hair curling across his wizened forehead, Jim the clerk stands behind the US postoffice counter and elaborates on the minute differences between certified mail and delivery confirmation. Continue reading
In Part 1 I argued that career satisfaction is built, not found. The implicit problem is that if expertise tends to precede true passion, and world-class experts spend at least 10,000 hours honing their crafts, where along the trajectory of career development can we say, “I have given it a fair chance, and it is time to move on”? Continue reading
In 2005, the late Steve Jobs delivered a memorable speech to graduates of Stanford University partly on the theme of career dreams. “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle,” said him, adding that “Money will come.” After the housing bubble burst and lots of dream-chasers their lost jobs in 2007, I stumbled upon a 2008 Business Week article titled “Personality and the Perfect Job.” Books titled along the same themes, such as Do What You Are follow a similar paradigm as well. For those who needed a faster fix, the internet offered solutions too. Stuck in life? Oprah has a 28-question quiz to find who you really want to be!
The implication is clear: if you failed, it’s because that was not your real passion; pick another dream.
Over the past year, I began to wonder whether the endless pursuit for pre-existing passions is missing the mark altogether.
Photo Credit: Urbanesia.com
[I]t was the curious power of electronic collaboration that contributed to the New Groupthink in the first place. What created Linux, or Wikipedia, if not a gigantic electronic brainstorming session? But we’re so impressed by the power of online collaboration that we’ve come to overvalue all group work at the expense of solo thought. We fail to realize that participating in an online working group is a form of solitude all its own.
Susan Cain, Author, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Any aspect of life to which attention is directed will loom large in a global evaluation. This is the essence of the focusing illusion, which can be described in a single sentence:
Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it.
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning Economist, in Thinking, Fast and Slow
Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us. If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take?
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success