When in Doubt, Take Poetry
Question: What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?
James Martin: The worst career advice I’ve ever had was when I was at the Wharton School studying business. I went to my faculty advisor. Wharton students are supposed to be focused really on the business and I said that I would be interested in taking an American poetry class and he said, “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” He said, “Don’t take an American poetry class.” “It’s a waste of time.” “No one will care if you ever studied American poetry when you want to get a job at GE, so I would strongly advise you not to do that unless you want to be thought you know not serious about your job.” So fortunately I didn’t take his advice and it’s one of the few courses I remember very well from school. The best career advice I’ve ever gotten was from the psychologist who said, “What would you do if you could do anything you wanted to do?” I think that’s a question I ask a lot of people and it’s very clarifying for people because we frequently have these expectations put on us by family, by friends about what you should do. A friend of mine called that shoulding all over yourself, s-h-o-u-l-d-i-n-g, rather than saying, “What are my desires?” “What do I like?” “What gets me excited?” And I tend to think that you will do better at things that you’re really interested in because you’re going to spend more time with it. You’re going to read about it outside of work and you’ll be enthusiastic about it, so when I was at GE working in business I realized that the people who were going to do well were the people who loved it. You know my friends would read The Wall Street Journal and say, “This is fascinating.” And I would say, “How can you read that stuff?” And they’d say, “This is fantastic.” “How can you not read it?” And so this notion of you know following you desires is really important. What would you do if you could do anything you wanted to do is probably the best career advice or the best question I’ve ever been asked about career.
Recorded on March 26, 2010
This priest advises to stop "shoulding" all over yourself.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.
- Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
- Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
- Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Best case: Redrawing borders leads to peace, prosperity and EU membership. But there's also a worst case.
Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.
- China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
- Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
- Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.