Elbaum's World 98: The Law of Your Very Self šŸ“–


The Law of Your Very Self šŸ“–

I mentioned a few newsletters ago that I've been reading The Second Mountain by David Brooks.

I'm a slow reader, so I'm still going through it. This week, a chapter on the idea of vocation stood out to me. In particular, there was a thought-provoking subsection under the heading "The Law of Your Very Self." In it, Brooks mentions an idea that I've been trying to spend a bit of time thinking about.

Essentially, the concept is to take stock of your passions going back to your childhood as an indication for what your calling might be. Brooks quotes Nietzsche to make his point:

Let the young soul survey its own life with a view to the following question: 'What have you truly loved thus far? What has ever uplifted your soul, what has dominated and delighted it at the same time?' Assemble these revered objects in a row before you and perhaps they will reveal a law by their nature and their order: the fundamental law of your very self.

I think this is a fascinating experiment. I'm a little skeptical, but I can also think of lots of activities and interests I loved as a kid that got lost due to social pressure, practicality, distraction, etc.

I've written a lot here about intrinsic motivation as it relates to career, and it seems like taking stock of the things that feel (or felt) like play could be a good way to find your best work.

Pete's Picks āœ…

  1. What I've Been Reading: I've been trying various flavors of fiction in order to become a more avid reader. I recently picked up Blankets from the library since it's at the top of most "best of" lists for graphic novels. It was a sweet story and solid intro to the genre.
  2. What I've Been Watching: I just finished binging I Think You Should Leave on Netflix. It's a sketch show from Tim Robinson (ex-SNL), and most of the sketches typically focus on one person in a group who isn't picking up on normal social cues. This type of cringe comedy would have been painful for me a few years ago, but I love it now. High recommend.
  3. What I've Been Listening To: Suli Ali's episode on My First Million. Love the concept of a "deal doula" since M&A isn't something most people get to practice. I've said it before and I will keep saying it: MFM is my favorite podcast, hands down.

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