What’s the point?

At times its easy to think: “How is what I am doing right now going to be helpful for me at all, in 1 day, 1 week, or 1 year from now?” This thought could come up during a class in college, or at work during a project that you just really aren’t that interested in.

But a way to think about this from a different perspective is while what you are doing right now has some near-term goal (for a class it could be learning the material + getting an A and for work it could be completing the project deliverable on time + getting that new promotion) at the end of the day, there is always a long-term goal if you think about it from a long term perspective.

We aren’t just working on the thing we’re doing right now, we’re also working on everything we will ever make in the future. This “work” can appear in many different forms: the skills you develop, the experiences you develop, and the lessons you learn from failure. Failure is especially important because the person who spends 1000 days trying to make the perfect light bulb knows drastically less about making light bulbs than the person who spends 1000 days making 1000 crappy light bulbs (you might guess who I’m alluding to).

This small perspective shift from the right now to the long term can turn one’s mindset from “this is a waste of time; what am I going to get from this?” to “what can I get from this to help me in the future?” And it will help you in the future because while we want our careers and progress to be linear, the truth is we can only connect the dots in hindsight.

Left: What we want progress + our careers to look like. Right: Reality.
Left: What we want progress + our careers to look like. Right: Reality.

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