Find The Thing That Sets You On Fire
I have been thinking a lot about how to find fulfillment in life. It is my firm belief that success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure. You need to find the thing that sets you on fire every single day and DO THAT, as much as you possibly can. There are infinitely many people who have become “successful,” made money, and accomplished “great things” that are utterly miserable. Starting a company and selling it for a billion dollars doesn’t mean much if you hated your life for 10 years while building it and now realize that the accomplishment, riches, and fame don’t make you happy.
It is much more important to fall in love with the game you play.
I believe it is absolutely imperative to identify and articulate exactly what makes you happy. This articulation (or maxim) should be as universal and simple as possible. It should never be tied to a specific goal, only tied to an infinite game.
If you are in a position of privilege to even begin to contemplate the idea of happiness, fulfillment, or impact, I believe you have a moral imperative to pursue or optimize your output/actions in search of one of those three.
For me, at this moment in my life, it is the act of creation. More eloquently, the reification of philosophy through art.
Essentially, the ability to bring idea into action, the capacity to create, or to make my ideas “real.”
I have tried to make this definition as universal as possible. It is not tied to my job, my next project, or even my wildest dreams. It is simply the act of “creation,” in and of itself, which makes me feel full. Creativity is the game, not the goal.
More than the idea of the reification of philosophy through art, I truly believe it is the “attempt to reify” or the “attempt to make one’s ideas real” that matters most. Simply stated, you need to fall in love with the process, not the project.
This is because projects themselves, just like ideas and goals, evolve and change. The process of “creating” or attempting to manifest the ideas that are in your mind won’t. This “process” is the true motivation that carries you from one job to the next, one client to the next, one article to the next, one city to the next, one day to the next, and so on. Only the act of “creating” or “attempting to create” the life you envision seems to carry through.
Too many people think about success as the short-term fruits of their labor. I.e, I will be successful if I finish this project, raise money for my startup, buy that watch, etc. but as we all know, this rarely brings happiness or fulfillment long-term.
If you are not convinced, just consult the movie “The Graduate.” No one who has life left to live is ever truly satisfied by “achieving the goal.” They can only be satisfied by “playing the game.”
As much as it is in your power you need to reflect on what makes you excited to wake up every day compelled and determined to do the work.
It is this life force, this mantra, this modus operandi alone, that will carry you through.
You have to find the thing that sets you on fire.
Now… Go do.