The Definition of Work

The definition of work:

How to make some original contribution to the world, and in the process not to starve.

In this essay, How to Do What You Love, Paul Graham talks about challenges in finding work you love.

 To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.

I really enjoyed reading it. He comes up with some interesting tests. Here is one. “Would you continue to do this work even if you don’t get paid for doing it?”

Finding work you love is challenging. According to Paul, there are two routes:

the organic route: as you become more eminent, gradually to increase the parts of your job that you like at the expense of those you don’t.

the two-job route: to work at things you don’t like to get money to work on things you do.

I think there is one more:

reduce your money requirement route: reduce what you need to live on so that you can take a couple of years off and do what you like doing. I heard about a friend of a friend who moved to an island in Thailand and lives on $100 per week. He just does what he loves.

This is a great essay. Definitely worth a read. While you are at it, check out his other essays.

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