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What do I do?

posted by Joshua on May 3, 2011 in Blog
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Do you want to live a life of the emotions you want — happiness, joy, whatever — freedom, and achievement?

Then do what you love. If you believe you have to sacrifice what you love “to be practical” or “pragmatic,” you are your own biggest obstacle. My life is a testament to the contrary. If you don’t know what you love, find out. If you don’t know how to find out, invite me to coach or lead a seminar for you. At least you should read my blog.

I no longer value achievement like I once did, so I achieve more than ever, as side effects of doing what I love. If that seems paradoxical, read my blog for a more productive perspective. It’s simple.

All I do is act on my values —

  1. Bringing about and experiencing rewarding emotions
  2. Relationships with friends, family, and my community
  3. Learning and improving myself by my standards

— so nearly all that’s mattered over the past few years is

  1. I’ve had the best relationships and friendships of my life with the most amazing people I can imagine, and
  2. I’ve learned and kept active and healthy the whole time

Everything else is a distant third. Without shame or pride I’ll list some of those tertiary achievements. In the past few years I’ve:

  • Worked one day a week (occasionally two), my only source of income
  • Lived in Greenwich Village, Manhattan
  • Visited Istanbul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Rome, Ahmedabad (India), Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne, San Francisco, Miami, Yosemite, and elsewhere in the U.S.
  • Filed a couple patents, at least one granted so far
  • Led sold out seminars in London and New York; at Columbia Business School, NYU-Stern Business School, and the New York Academy of Sciences
  • Coached dozens of clients
  • Written drafts of two books
  • Enjoyed walking into the office every time I did
  • Taught courses at Parsons School of Design and NYU-Tisch
  • Installed a big public art piece in Bryant Park
  • Run a few marathons and half-marathons
  • Swam across the Hudson River
  • Meditated for ten days straight
  • Eaten no meat (intentionally, at least — I ate three bites of a turkey burger I was accidentally served instead of the veggie burger I ordered)
  • Read a book or two per week
  • Paid all my bills on time and in full
  • Witnessed friends
    • Win an Oscar
    • Give a TED talk
    • Win a Pulitzer
    • Perform at Lincoln Center
    • Publish NY Times top ten best sellers
    • Publish novels
    • Publish cartoons in the New Yorker
    • Found companies
    • Retire in their 30s
    • Get five figure advances for first-time books

My resume credentials:

  • MBA, ’06, Columbia
  • PhD, Astrophysics, ’00, Columbia
  • BA, Physics, ’93, Columbia
  • Co-founder, Submedia. We put displays on subway tunnel walls that look like movies to riders moving past.

I’ve had a couple other jobs, but those are the big things.

People ask “So what do you do?” habitually. I guess they’re used to people who can say they work in risk arbitrage at Goldman Sachs or whatever. I don’t know how to answer them. If anyone can give me a good answer, please let me know.

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