My mate Ryan sent this my way. Great talk:
I'd seen some of this science before, I might've read the original paper. It's good and interesting stuff, I love this topic. And the animation on this particular video was really cool and beautiful.
I like building organizations along those lines - a great purpose on an individual and organizational level, autonomy and great amounts of freedom to get to agreed upon objectives however people want, and lots of opportunities to learn, grow, and excel. It's the kind of place I like to work, and I like managing at the kind of place I like to work.
But then I had another thought - how much is this is universally applicable, and how much of it is good because it goes largely against the grain? See, the studies he cited are interesting, but I imagine there's a certain type of person who is incredibly motivated by financial concerns, perhaps that sort of person sees more money as unlocking autonomy, mastery, and purpose - if someone already has a distinct, driving, enduring meaning for their life, then more money could well translate directly into more of their purpose, more mastery, and more autonomy.
So I thought - if I enter a traditional industry, I'm going to be focusing on building a great organization, culture, and so on. However, if I enter into an industry where it's all about fulfillment that pays undermarket rates, I'm going to gun to have the highest pay and recruit everyone who that appeals to. Either way, I think the organization is going to kick ass. I'm thinking there's lots of moderate-sized wins by looking at how people are doing things and doing the normal path well, but the biggest wins almost always come from finding a way to make the opposite work.
I came across your blog while reading Dan Shipper's blog which I came across while reading Lifehacker which I probably found during some random web crawl. I usually don't write to bloggers/people-online much but you seem pretty cool about receiving and answering mail so here goes. I am not sure where your usual readership comes from but I am writing to you from Sri Lanka, which would most likely in the minority when it comes to your readership. :)
Your interests seem pretty varied on your blog, so I was wondering, how do you choose your particular 'line' or career, or where you ultimately want to head. Ideally one would want to specialize in something, but when your interests are varied, how do you figure out what you want to be. In various times of my life I have been interested in the pure sciences (Physics, Chemistry kind of stuff), computer science, I dabble in some photoshopping even though I am not great at it, I like music even though I am not great with an instrument, I like the idea of programming even though the thought of becoming good at it is too daunting, I like writing, even worked a bit on international relations, but haven't come across something I can devote myself to. It would be nice to find my calling before I grow old and die.
How would you choose where you want to go with your life if you just like everything?
I've been putting myself under much self-pressure to figure things out.
An analogy I would make is that I'm trying to convince myself to swim, when I'm just barely staying afloat.
It's like going to the next level of something. There's the deeper levels that I keep pressuring myself to reach. There's a lot of meta- I keep thinking I need to work on and figure out. These things combine into a dragging sense of a massive, never-ending to-do list.
For example, I feel like I'm trying to swim by getting ahead on homework, when I'm only just keeping up. That leads me to thinking I need to improve my meta-schoolwork skills, which means analyzing and improving my current approach to school, homework, notetaking, and whatever else.
That's a single example, among other things swimming around in my head, like searching for a job, deciding where to live, as well as the myriad of other personal goals like fitness and hobbies. Each activity or goal has its own aspect, then ever-increasingly deep meta-aspects to it.