So Good They Can't Ignore You

As one prominent career counselor told me, “do what you love, and the money will follow” has become the de facto motto of the career-advice field.

job, in Wrzesniewski’s formulation, is a way to pay the bills, a career is a path toward increasingly better work, and a calling is work that’s an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity.

The more we focused on loving what we do, the less we ended up loving it.

This dedication to output, I realized, also explains his painful modesty. To Jordan, arrogance doesn’t make sense. “Here’s what I respect: creating something meaningful and then presenting it to the world,” he explained.

THREE DISQUALIFIERS FOR APPLYING THE CRAFTSMAN MINDSET The job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable. The job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world. The job forces you to work with people you really dislike.7

Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfillment.

“People tell me that I don’t do things the way other people do,” Lulu said. “But I tell them, ‘I’m not other people.’ ”

Hardness scares off the daydreamers and the timid, leaving more opportunity for those like us who are willing to take the time to carefully work out the best path forward and then confidently take action.

he found a strategy common to all. “Rather than believing they have to start with a big idea or plan out a whole project in advance,” he writes, “they make a methodical series of little bets about what might be a good direction, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins”

“You’re either remarkable or invisible,”

The Law of Remarkability For a mission-driven project to succeed, it should be remarkable in two different ways. First, it must compel people who encounter it to remark about it to others. Second, it must be launched in a venue that supports such remarking.

We were bored, available, and ambitious—a dangerous combination—and starting a company sounded as promising as anything else we could imagine.

“Don’t just talk about it,” he scolded me when I offhandedly mentioned the book idea. “If you think it would be cool, go do it.” This seemed as good a reason as any for me to proceed.

Every week, I expose myself to something new about my field. I can read a paper, attend a talk, or schedule a meeting. To ensure that I really understand the new idea, I require myself to add a summary, in my own words, to my growing “research bible”

also try to carve out one walk each day for free-form thinking about the ideas turned up by this background research

Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From,