Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Our Needs Are In Conflict

Tim Urban from waitbutwhy.com wrote this great article regarding thinking about choosing a career. It really highlights why choosing a path is difficult because we have so many different needs (5 of them in his example: personal, lifestyle, social, moral, and practical. Often times these needs are in conflict with each other. We want to donate money and help others (social) but this might make it difficult to put food on the table (practical). We want to have lazy sundays and relax and meditate (lifestyle) but also want to get after it and achieve our dreams (personal).

You can't have it every-way and fulfill all you needs at once so you have to choose. Which also means that everyone else has to choose as well. Not everyone can and should make the same decisions. We are not the same people and different needs speak louder than others. So it would be wrong to choose your path based on those around you. It would be wrong to expect others to choose the same path as you.

However, I do notice that a lot of people choose similarly to those that are around them. It makes sense why that is. You are influenced heavily by what you hear and it is very difficult to figure out if it was a path you chose or if it was an idea implanted by those around you. Thus as Tim mentions, it is important to start "de-masking" each need and figure out where it came from and if we should keep it. Did you want to become a VC because you have a friend of a friend who is and he seems to be the most successful? Its ok if that is your reason, you should just understand where you got the yearning from. In the end we don't have needs or ideas in vacuums so I would think that if you drill down far enough, that yearning might have come from someone or something external. If you happen to feel that your needs are different than those around you I would recommend travelling. It was a pleasant experience for me personally to talk with a lot of people who were living a different lifestyle than back at home. Its a good way to gain more perspective.

I think the "yearning octopus" model is a great thing to keep in mind, not only for career, but to understand any or anyone else's life decisions. When you see others doing something different, maybe you won't judge them as harshly because you realize that we all have the same basic needs, its just that they decided to listen to a different "leg" of yearning and make different tradeoffs in life.