Here’s a great heuristic for discovering what your true preferences and interests are, where your passion and enthusiasm is anchored in, credits to @sivers on Twitter:
Imagining lots of tedious steps? Or one fun step? If we hate doing something, we think of it as hard. We picture it having many annoying steps. If we love doing something, it seems simple. We think of it as one fun step…[like for running] “Easy! You just put on your shoes and go!”
I love this. It’s so true, and so telling. What a great mindfulness and introspective practice! Indeed, anytime I notice that I am thinking ahead and dreading the many steps to get to the goal, it’s highly likely that I’m not all that enthusiastic about that goal. But during occasions when I’m super motivated and passionate to do something, I don’t think ahead so much, and just f**king do it, even if objectively the steps remain the same. I don’t make as many excuses, or mope and dawdle as much. It’s like the road bumps don’t matter. Challenges are taken on the chin, without sweat and pain.
But what if something makes you feel both? Like say with coding, I always find myself dreading all the “many tedious steps” ahead. But when it comes to the final product itself, the thought of being able to create something tangible and material that you can see or touch out, of thin air and abstract thoughts – that makes me want to get there in “one fun step”.
Does that imply that I enjoy making, but not coding? So do I enjoy it, or not? Is it possible to enjoy one part of a process but hate another? If so, how do I resolve this conundrum?
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