Don’t worry about what you want to do for a living. Instead, make a list of everything you’ve ever wanted to do. Write it down somewhere. Refer back to it from time tie time. Every time you cross off something on the list, you have a new data point for your collection. Neil Gaiman would call this your “distant mountain.” Every decision you make about your life is either taking you away from the mountain or towards. Don’t walk away from the mountain and let curiosity fuel your ambition. I wish I’d know that curiosity precedes passion, passion follows engagement and meaning follows mastery.
35. Because of where I went to college, I was exposed to one definition of success: work at an investment bank, a management consulting firm, or go to law school, med school or a top 10 business school. According to this definition of success, I’m an abysmal failure. Every now and then there’s this small part of me that craves the validation that comes from prestige, so I do something like send a job application to IDEO just to see if they’ll even take a look at me. After all who wouldn’t want to work at IDEO? And nobody did take a look at me. My friend Mike called me on this. “That’s just ego. You’d be there a month and realize you hate not having your freedom.” I wish I had known that prestige is different than the kind of success that provides you with lasting fulfillment.
If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.” — Don Miguel Ruiz