Recently, I’ve been engrossed in reading a book titled “How to Do Great Work“. This book has been instrumental in addressing my uncertainties and anxieties about work and life. As I’ve pondered over how to infuse meaning and value into my work and life, the insights from this book have offered significant motivation.
“This is one case where the young have an advantage. They’re more optimistic, and even though one of the sources of their optimism is ignorance, in this case ignorance can sometimes beat knowledge.”
Youth brings with it a fearless spirit, an unshakable optimism that convinces you that you can excel at anything. This optimism might partly arise from a lack of awareness, but it also possesses the power to outshine knowledge. Youth symbolizes a willingness to venture into the unknown, even when they cannot foresee or assess failure. Even after experiencing failure, there exists an unwavering courage to start anew. I’m drawn to this impulsive bravery, a quality that infuses both life and work with abundant enjoyment.
“The old also have the advantage of knowing which advantages they have. The young often have them without realizing it. The biggest is probably time. The young have no idea how rich they are in time. The best way to turn this time to advantage is to use it in slightly frivolous ways: to learn about something you don’t need to know about, just out of curiosity, or to try building something just because it would be cool, or to become freakishly good at something.
That “slightly” is an important qualification. Spend time lavishly when you’re young, but don’t simply waste it. There’s a big difference between doing something you worry might be a waste of time and doing something you know for sure will be. The former is at least a bet, and possibly a better one than you think.
The most subtle advantage of youth, or more precisely of inexperience, is that you’re seeing everything with fresh eyes. When your brain embraces an idea for the first time, sometimes the two don’t fit together perfectly. Usually the problem is with your brain, but occasionally it’s with the idea. A piece of it sticks out awkwardly and jabs you when you think about it. People who are used to the idea have learned to ignore it, but you have the opportunity not to.”
Conventional education often fosters passivity in young individuals. Starting from elementary school, authoritative figures dictate what needs to be learned, and your accomplishments are measured against these expectations. This approach ingrains a problem-solving mentality but often stifles proactive exploration of questions.
However, the young usually have an abundance of time, despite their lack of experience. Amidst the moments of idleness, embarking on ventures with potential utility holds more value than indulging in obviously futile pursuits. Therefore, dedicating time to satiate curiosity, experimenting with novel endeavors, serves as a wellspring of fresh ideas. Sustaining curiosity, unceasingly unearthing new questions, delving into uncharted territories, and resolving new challenges, stands as the linchpin of ongoing evolution and progress.
In essence, the young possess several unique advantages, including optimism, energy, time, and the capacity for innovation. Harnessing these advantages to the fullest, venturing into unexplored territories, preserving curiosity, yields not only personal growth but also contributes substantial value to both work and life.
The above content draws inspiration from my reading of the book “How to Do Great Work!