Posts Tagged ambition

Call for Advice

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
If you could call any living person for advice today, who would you call?

This is an interesting question, because it really comes down to evaluating the people I know (and know of, as in they are famous) by what I feel most unsure about – and whether those people could help on that subject.  I would say the subject about which I am most unsure is how to integrate my ambition and desire to do something that impacts with the world, with my day-to-day happiness in what I do (day-to-day).  Who might be a subject-matter expert on that subject?

My thoughts came to Bill Gates.  I don’t particularly know whether Gates has had success with day-to-day happiness in his life, but I do know he’s been wildly successful both in the arc of his career and in affecting the world with what he has done.  If the question is how to be impactful, I think he’s a great candidate for expert on that.  In addition, Gates has spent a while now being the head of a large charity organization, so in some sense he also is probably acquainted with how to maintain that impact over a long period and make sure it spreads to those who need it.  My thoughts naturally tended toward solving the impact problem because I am pretty happy right now with my day-to-day (at least, in terms of work – as for personal life, I have my friends to call for advice on that, so I don’t really need to call out “any living person”; they do an excellent job of it!)

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Dream of Tomorrow

Thursday, November 11, 2010
What do you *really* wish you were doing right now, and how soon do you think you can make it happen?

This question almost seems insidiously designed to generate guilt.  And regret.  But maybe I’m reading it that way because of who I am, and not due to anything inherent in the question.  I actually had a lunch conversation with Nagle, Dave H and Nick K about how I don’t feel my current job is quite good enough at satisfying my ambition, despite the fact that I am content and happy with it.  Perhaps in some ideal parallel narrative, Dave Guskin went on to become a renowned physicist and did great works.  I don’t think I wish I was that Dave Guskin, exactly, but some of what he’s accomplishing (assumedly) is in line with what I wish.

I wish I was doing something that was world-affecting in a positive way.  I enjoy working in games and entertainment, but I feel it’s kind of a highest-order (like, high on the food chain) happiness for humanity.  A better way would be to work on lower-order happiness, ways to improve all of our lives for generations to come.  To that end, I think I should get back into physics, but I don’t think I can honestly make anything like that happen for about 3-5 years.  It definitely requires planning of a sort I haven’t been comfortable doing recently.

One good thing I can say about financials: they are an excellent barometer of one’s (financial) independence, and I am far from being able to quit my paying job for a noble scientific (penniless) pursuit.

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