How to choose next great thing to do

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Letters | 4 Comments

Lately, after having this question: How to choose next great thing to do?, in my head for quite some time and reading a lot of articles and books about it, I was wondering. How you should approach a path to find something, which would satisfy you? How should you decide, where should be the balance between emotional and rational choices. Should you leave it for your gut feeling (emotional) or should you make lists and calculations?

Would your memory serve right information for making rational choice? If you search through your memory for an activity, which brought you to maximal satisfaction, (let us focus on work activities now ;-)  don’t you get feeling that more in past that activity was, the bigger amount of positive feeling you keep? Somehow the negative memories become scarce? How can you use it for making rational choice?

Let me ask you a question: how did we do it when we had been children? How did we pick up the next interesting thing to do? Certainly money hadn’t been a topic at all. We emotionally chose an activity which we expected to bring us the most fun. We did it, mainly based on our previous experience or on expectation from trying something else, learning something new.

I am quite sure that this approach may be the better way. Make a list of three to five topics you been thinking about to do. Sort them emotionally based on amount of fun you expect to have from them.

I know, you may be in position where you think, I will not finish it anyway, why to start? Well, frankly, that is another topic. Topic which should be tackled once you make the choice. It is more about willpower, dedication and keeping to have fun. And yes the fun (and now please excuse me) sounds like when Americans says, let us have a fun. Sort of forced, doesn’t it? But you may replace it with enjoyment.

You may start to be daunted. Is it really important think to do? Did you asked that question when you had been twelve years old and  dismantled brother’s motorbike? I am quite sure you did not.

Once you doing what you enjoy and it bring you joy when doing it, well keep doing it. If you need to learn new think, do it in such a way, that you will learn new things. Approach it in a way you personally like. Possibly finding people for doing part which you do not enjoy that much, but they do.

This could be great start of some interesting activity, combined with having interesting people around. Being alone, doing something alone, is fun only for so long.

If you have feeling I know it all, well be sure I am far from it, but it is my challenge too so I am writing this for myself, mainly. I am certainly curious to hear your view.


  1. JPH
    Wed, 16. December , 2015

    I have to say that I really like your approach here, Richard, and think you got something there… Especially to a man like me, who naturally is “a cross that bridge when I come to it” at heart.

    The whole, resorting to first, outlining and constructing those basic, instinctively, naturally, and honestly felt joys, pursuits one would like to do, pursue, first, getting those down, and from there, tackling how to accomplish them, step by step at a time, when confronted with whatever issues.

    I wholeheartedly agree, that in our youth, we were more free to do as us naturally creative, inquisitive, exploring souls we are, before this life/world forces it’s “reality” upon us, chipping and chiseling away at these ideas, dreams, pursuits before they even get off the ground, as we get to become more “realistic” and putting the breaks on before we even get started, by jumping ahead a couple steps to where we feel, see, perceive, will be hinderances, obstacles to us being able to accomplish and complete them, be them time, resources, money, what have you… In turn, usually killing the whole idea before it even has the legs to run.

    Your direction above though, of breaking it down to us first going deep within ourselves to mine for those gems of joys, pursuits, loves that we have and want to explore, and once have those decided upon and set, taking the steps necessry, at each and every step, of exploring and working at how to get passed that one, to the next step, until it is brought to fruition and to life.

    That whole process, in turn becoming part of the creative process itself, of making it your own, and in your unique way, that you needed to do in order to make it real and come to be and exist. That, in and with itself, providing part of the childlike exploration and joy of working through, and becoming part of the whole creative aspect of it…

    It’s actually nothing really novel or not thought of before… But for some reason, the simplicity of it all just hit me, with your entry here.

    And that main thing being this – simple.

    All my life I’ve had to tell myself repeatedly that the way to do, or the meaning of it all, is really just something basic and simple, and as easy as that… But, me being me, for some reason seeming to need to complicate the fuck out of things and everything, just counter-intuitively go against all that, in thinking that nothing can be that simple… Well, yes, it can Jeffrey, you pain in the ass son of a bitch! It can! So stop getting in your own way, and putting the cart before the horse, and progressively just, step by simple step, work your way through it, crossing whatever bridge of what may be an obstacle to overcome to continue forward, once you come to it, at that point and time, and in the midst of the creative process that am enveloped in, make it happen and work!

    Make the process, the journey, your own… Own it, make it, create it, do it. Simply. Step by step.


    • Richard Vanek
      Thu, 17. December , 2015

      I now, strongly believe, even I am not blindly convinced (so there is still doubt in me), that the core of this issue here is in fact that there is no meaning. There is only path of joy from doing, living. And you right it is absolutely not knew, but in many thing I read on this topic, many discussions I had, it is often clouded, packed in complicated covers. It is also against what I have been thought most of my life. Meaning, goal, target was always the thing.
      Once I try to follow what I have originally wrote in this post, I am coming into the situations of conflict and surprises. To make it concrete. Photography as I am doing it now – no joy! D800 purchase – regret! I need to strip down, to see the core. Working on it. And you? Joining me in the journey? Not important where we going as long as we have fun on the way!

  2. Vera
    Tue, 26. January , 2016

    To pick up the next great thing to do for children is very easy task because whatever they do this is new and interesting for them. For adults this is different, they have an experience. So I wouldn’t look at children and learn from them how to choose next great thing to do – waste of time.

    To choose a thing to do in my free time I personally would use an approach you describe here: “Make a list of three to five topics you been thinking about to do. Sort them emotionally…” And of course my approach to selection of new job will be different.

    I wonder what books say about this topic? – you said you’ve read some, could you please share your conclusions.

    • Richard Vanek
      Thu, 28. January , 2016

      Here are few of the books, which I read even they not necessarily been written for this topic to tackle. Some of them are great, some less and some crap. I am not going to put my evaluation here, just list.

      • A Death in the Family: My Struggle Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard)
      • A Man In Love: My Struggle Book 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard
      • Art & Fear Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland
      • Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust by Frankl, Viktor E
      • The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Pressfield, Steven
      • Turning Pro by Pressfield, Steven
      • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by McGonigal Ph.D., Kelly
      • Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Ravikant, Kamal
      • Choose Yourself! by Altucher, James

      And many more blogs and articles.


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