“There are trees behind you, I see thousands. And each one of those trees has leaves. When I hear ‘follow your passion,’ I think of each leaf as an action we can take—our way of living.
If we don’t ask the question ‘What does our passion lead to?’, we pick the leaf that’s optimal for short-term happiness. But each of these trees had a seed, and the seed is the cause you care about. It’s what matters in the world.
In order for the tree to grow, you need roots. This is your understanding, this is the research. The trunk becomes your vision of change, and the branches are each type of path you could take to improve the world. And then there are all those leaves—the actions to be taken.
We don’t have to pick the optimal leaf for short-term happiness. We can first pick the seed that we care about most, and invest ourselves as a positive resource for change. And as it grows, on that tree, we can pick the leaf that makes the most sense and offers the most fun.
That creates dopamine and allows us to make patterns that give us the enthusiasm to carry on in something we care about. And that’s addicting.
When we can have passion for something that is really about doing good in the world, we have an opportunity to get addicted to something worthwhile, and we can do it as optimally as possible. That’s where we find long-term fulfillment.”
Lightning in a Bottle 2018
Lake San Antonio