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Finding Your Purpose / Passion / Career Central Purpose

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I am quite confused at this point in my life. I several roads I could possible travel, although two appeal to me more then the others. I am fascinated by so many things in life, and my current belief system tells me I only get one chance to live, and that's it. So I have about 60 years to cover as much as possible. I am currently on the road to pursue a career in neurotechnology. I am quite convinced that this will be a very viable field over the next couple decades. I have seen numerous research that is telling me we will soon have direct human/computer interfaces, and I am very interested in pursuing an electrical engineering/ neuroscience degree. Now here is the other side: I love making music.

I admire skill more than anything, and I love seeing myself progress day by day with each practice session. My music teacher is fully convinced if I went to school for music composition I would do incredibaly well. I know I won't make anywhere near as much money as I would creating a neurotechnology company, but my life will be as fufilling, if not more.

I can't really decide which would make me more happier, as I am so fascinated by both domains. Our attention is limited and I want to give the domain I pick 100% of my attention. I want to spend all day every day pursuing both domains, but I obviously can't.

So tell me, how does an Objectivist pick a career?

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I highly recommend the following article: "How to Choose a Career," by Alex Epstein (May 28, 2004) in Capitalism Magazine: www.capmag.com

Mr. Epstein's article contains both particular advice and the guidance of generalizations. It is comprehensive yet concise. It is informative and inspirational.

It answers nearly every question I encountered and have seen others encounter in the search for a central purpose in life.

The one thing I would add to Mr. Epstein's well written article is that there is a staircase of abstraction -- from a job to a career to a central purpose in life. A CPL is the widest abstraction (that is, widest integration), spanning all of one's remaining life.

A CPL should be in the form of a sentence stating an action. For example, Ayn Rand's CPL seems to have been: My purpose in life is to portray the ideal man in fiction.

Selfish pursuit of a passionately held central purpose in life is the main requirement for happiness. An additional payoff is that the best way to change the society in which we live is by ruthlessly pursuing a beloved work. People who do so automatically make waves without even trying to "change the world." Ayn Rand showed that in fiction, in the career of Howard Roark.

My own CPL is to tell success stories from history. Working on it has sometimes brought discomfort, disappointment, and frustration -- but mainly it has created an enormous sense of satisfaction in knowing that the core of my life means something important to me.

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I went through literal hell being indecisive on this issue. Spent 19 years in deadend work while I flailed about. So, I would say, do make up your mind. On the other hand I chose a few courses that I abandoned because I found that those would not bring me happiness in the long run. I regret none of it. So, do not fear a wrong turn, and have the balls to recognize it and change direction, even backtrack if you have to.

Few observations

1) I noticed you used the word love when referring to music.

2) If you choose the science, you can still do music to a decent capacity, even if just sitting at a piano (or whatever you play). If you choose the music, you are basically giving up on the science unless you can afford facilities or something.

3) You really have to examine your options until you want to puke, and from every angle. Even examine all the pitfalls of either choice.

4)Definitely read the article BurgessLau recommended.

5) Even after all of that, it will still be you, and you have to choose the one that you WANT to do. What makes you burn? What would you bleed for? What occupies your fantasies?

Have you read The Fountainhead? There is a scene where Roark and Cameron are working like dogs for days to get a submission done for a building. Roark works into the night, and Cameron comes in the morning to find Roark on the floor with a spilled pot of coffee next to him. On the desk is the drawing completed. That is the most career inspirational scene I have ever seen.

Now, I ask you to put yourself in a similar scene. What is on your desk, a new biocomputer chip, or your grand opus?

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Very good way of thinking about it.

I replay that same scene in my head when i'm thinking "alright, what career do I want to pursue? what am I going to make my major?". Then I picture myself in that situation and say what kind of work would make me do what Roark and Cameron did?

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I am going to stay on the path I am on. Every once in a while I will question this path, but my mind always seems to end up rationalizing it as being the best one. I am going to finish up my associates in math and sciences, and hopefully graduate magna sum laude and get a scholarship to RPI. At this point I will take on a double major in a degree program called mind and machines (http://www.cogsci.rpi.edu/minds_machines/).

I love music, and I feel the appreciation I have for it comes from the limited time I have playing it. I have a very structured practice routine that ensures I am always improving.

I look at my life in 10 years and I see a large basement converted into a study area where I can make music as loud as I want, research and contemplate new ideas in neurotechnology, and lift wieghts. I see myself working at my own convience (which will probably be all day, every day) on whatever problem currently has my interest. This is my ideal life.

So my perfect life is to expand my mental and physical as much as possible.

I love seeing myself improve. I admire skill, as skill develops through thousands of hours of intense deliberate practice. Dedication should have its rewards, and for me the reward would be living a life where I can propose and idea, and then I am given time to work on it in a semi-private environment at my own, structured pace.

Thank you for the posts, the articles really helped. :pimp:

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Since I cannot call myself an Objectivist, I can only tell you how I have chosen my career.

I do what I am passionate about, which is writing. Everything else will follow after.

Not everyone will understand or appreciate what I do. It doesn't matter. I write for myself, not for the money (although I wouldn't mind having more than I have), and definitely not for the fame (the less people I have around me, the better).

Pick a career that satisfies your personal wants and needs, and eventually, when you truly do recognize your own worth and greatness, the monetary rewards will be there.

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Now, I ask you to put yourself in a similar scene. What is on your desk, a new biocomputer chip, or your grand opus?

I had a similar thing, but mine was music and Army. Luckily, I fell into a nice position where I do both (working for an Army band). I don't make oodles of money, but I'm good at what I do, and I get to play music all the time! Can't really beat that.

You'd be surprised at what you can combine. I know OT's (Occupational therapists) who've used their musician skills to create new instruments and sound for the sake of their jobs. On the other hand, I'd have no idea how to apply neurotechnology to music, but if you're good and inspired, you'll find a way!

Good luck with the decision. :ninja:

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*** Mod's note: Merged threads.   - sN ***

 

 

Hi everyone.

We have a thread on what people have chosen for a career, but there is a difference between the what and the why, and I'm interested. Did you start doing an activity as a kid that you later followed through into a career? Did you just begin in a direction (maybe inspired by a parent or "just to choose something") you weren't entirely behind but you later decided you liked? Or not, and then what? Did you give your career a lot of thought before you began to pursue anything? Or something else?

My story goes: I was a singer for most of my childhood and teen years, I sincerely enjoyed the activity and was quite good, so it seemed logical to make a career out of it after high school. That's not to say I didn't have other interests, I just spent more time singing. As I attended music school it became clear that my other interests were dominating, so I spent a few (difficult) years giving my life, and by extension my career, some serious thought. I was in a unique position for this: as a child my parents had allowed and encouraged my decisions to participate in a bunch of different activities, and I could do most of them very well. So I viewed landing on a career as not doing many other things.

At this point in my 23 years of life I am tired of waiting around to find the "perfect" career while I work menial jobs, so I'm making the best choice I can and running with it. I decided to start up a business selling graphic t-shirts online, where I will use (that is, pay) designers to realize a kind of esthetic of my choice making some cool shirts. With the money I make in a few years (or more, depending on how much I like it), I will most likely move into investing. I may invest in new real estate development, or technology companies, or... well, I haven't decided! In the meantime I will read about it, and perhaps my plan will change later.

Now here are the reasons why that and not, say, novelist, horticulturist, politician, or whatever. I have noticed a preference and propensity for being the guy who makes all the decisions and puts things together; I like being in charge. I would also like to work for myself, with my own decided time constraints, and I want a direct correlation to how hard I work and the profits I make (distinct from my experiences in hourly work). I enjoy many things, but I think business and investing will keep me interested for a good, long time (ie. there is lots of room for learning new things). The guiding principles are: lots of freedom to think and decide, be in charge, make new stuff according to my most profitable interests.

So my career isn't totally developed, but I have a good starting point and I'm confident in my approach. As you can see, I landed on my career direction through parts of all of those hypotheticals I listed. What about the rest of you?

Edited by softwareNerd
merged topics

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Thanks for creating this thread. I have for a while wanted to talk about choosing my career path in science.

Currently, i am studying physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Mass. I chose this for the simple reason that i like physics. But after meeting a lot of engineering students at my school who criticize physics as not being so directly practical.

Being a free market fan, i understood their point. Studying physics is "cool" and satisfies some intellectual curiosities but has no practical value. I understand that the progress of science (at least historically) has not been possible because of scientists wanting to make a practical tool for sale but rather to just understand nature. But this is why we constantly find scientists begging for grants from either the government or from the universities.

Of course there is such a thing as applied physics which is what i plan on studying at grad school.

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I am a visual artist. As a kid I was a compulsive drawer. I would declare war on every blank area left on notebooks, desks and school walls. It seemed pretty clear from the start what career I would chose. Hey, sometimes it feels as if it chose me! Mind you, my explorations into caricature art were not necessary foreseen.

I have discovered over the years that people like caricature artists pretty much the same way they love baby chimps: they are amusing and not to be taken too seriously. But most people know nothing about this art form. When it comes to the caricature artist, they pause to marvel, fire off enough questions to confirm that they don’t have much of a clue about art—much less about caricature art. However, I must say, I hate most caricature art myself. There are only a handful of caricature artists who spark my interest to the thousands who are out there. The vast majority are truly horrible as they are boring. The garden-variety caricature’s usual oeuvre is the tired cliché of BIG HEAD ON A LITTLE BODY. There is nothing wrong with this Big-head-Little-body cliché if done sparingly and not as the rule. It’s just that this mode of caricaturing has fallen into the definite category of “been there and done that.” My attraction to this art form was to break through the barriers....and to, um, get paid to do it.

I clearly believe that caricature art is a legitimate art form which I obviously wish to explore. But I pursue it as a fine-art painter. I loathe the candy-cartoon colors so characteristic of the art form. So I wish to state from the outset that I am not primarily a caricature artist, but rather, an artist….who can paint caricatures. :lol:

-Victor

Samples of a few results from my chosen vocation:

Jean_Chretien_by_VPross.gif Jean Chrétien George-Orwel_byVictorProssl.gif George Orwell –

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It’s the end of Sophomore year of high school and I’m choosing my classes for Junior year. I notice “Drafting Tech” and read the description. Hmm…kinda conjures up thoughts of The Fountainhead…what the hell, I’ll try it.

Now it’s Junior year and I’m chillin’ in my Drafting class, just me and my computer and my AutoCAD. What the hell is this!? How strange it is having to type in all these commands…but everything just looks so perfect and I’m flyin’ through it. Perfect lines, perfect circles, perfect hatch lines. PERFECT! I’ve never been able to focus so easily and I’ve never been able to relax, but here I am…relaxed AND focused, miraculously! I think I’ll move on to a higher level class next year…if only I’d started this earlier.

Ah, now it’s Senior year. My last, god dammit! I’m in my Architecture 1 class and we’re more independent than ever. I’m sailing through this. Foundation plan? Pssht! Done! Easy A.

Semester 2 hits, and so does “Senioritis.” Scrap that, it’s just me being a dumbass. I sit in class and space out, unable to focus on ANYTHING but what’s in my head. I’ve never been one who could focus easily, but this is the worst it’s been. I just don’t wanna come out of my head. Ain’t everything hopeless? Of course…F after F after F. Now I gotta re-evaluate my life. Great! *rolls eyes*

--------------------------------

That is up until about a month before the end of the school year. Around this time, I got a lecture from one of my favorite teachers. He told me something that is just plain common sense, but it sparked something inside: “Think about what you’re passionate about, what you love to do, then do it. Make a plan A, and if that one doesn’t work out, you can make a new one. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t be afraid if you lose interest. There’s always something else out there.”

Of course! So…I shape my ass up and do all my work on time, pass all my classes. I apply, though a tad bit late, to a college so that I can major in Architecture.

Why architecture? Why, because that’s what I’m passionate about. I am comfortable and focused whilst drawing my plans…and I’ve never had that feeling doing anything else. I feel independent and free when it’s just me and my AutoCAD. I can tune out all the bullshit and work on my dream houses.

I love the feeling I get when I draw the exterior light the way I envisioned it or plan out my kitchen perfectly. I can make the dream house I imagined when I was a youngster come to life. There it is, right on the screen. Now I can show it to you and now you will understand. If only I could do that with all of my other ideals.

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I can't decide whether I chose my career or simply wandered into it.

In college, I started out majoring in Molecular Biology because I'd always been impressed by the rationality of science, and I was inspired by a book I had read a couple of years earlier talking about recent breakthroughs in our understanding of brain biochemistry. It took about a year for me to conclude that while I liked scientific epistemology I didn't like the actual day-to-day process of doing science. I wandered through a couple of other majors, such as political science, and wound up graduating with a degree in something called Cognitive Science. That's an interdisciplinary field sitting in the nexus between psychology, physical neuroanatomy and computer science, dedicated to reverse-engineering the human brain.

It turns out that these sorts of interdisciplinary fields, while being cognate to a lot of real-world jobs, aren't central to many, which makes finding work difficult. I wound up in graduate school for a year and a half studying philosophy. At the same time, I got a part-time job at a small internet company called Clarinet, initially in their editorial department classifying wire news stories and pushing them out onto Usenet. I'd always had a knack for computers, and over time the work I did for Clarinet became more technical. Eventually I decided that I wasn't learning anything else useful in school, and I liked making money, so I dropped out and took the Clarinet job full-time. After a couple of years I migrated from their editorial department into the software department working as a computer programmer. In mid-2000 I left and started working at Cisco as a software engineer, where I've been ever since. Shortly after joining Cisco I looked back and realized "Wow, I have a career!" It was actually somewhat unsettling.

I'd have to say the number one thing I enjoy about software engineering is finding and fixing bugs in complex software systems. I'm very good at it, and the sense of understanding when I grasp the root cause of a bug is a high point of the job. Debugging software is a fascinating blend of applied induction and deduction. More generally, I just like designing and writing code. Writing good software is as much an art as a science, almost literally. I've discussed the psycho-epistemology of the coding process with my wife, who writes fiction, and there are eerie similarities. Properly designed and implemented code is aesthetically pleasing; a perfect balance of form and function. But I wax poetic.

Whether you explicitly choose a career up front or simply end up with one is less important, I think, than having an explicit grasp of the values you are seeking in a given job and a long-term plan for future development. In a sense, that's really all a career is -- a long-term integrated plan governing your pursuit of values in a productive context.

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I didn't so much choose a career as realize that I ought to try making some money at something I do anyway.

My mother read to me a lot when I was a kid, and by the time I was five or six I already enjoyed making up stories for myself and "being creative" was one of the few things I was good at (it seemed to me) that didn't get me in trouble. My mother encouraged me to read and my dad introduced me to fantasy and science fiction when I was 8-ish.

By the time I was 8 I already had a vocabulary and grasp of communication that rivaled many college students. I wrote a novel when I was 11 (on notebook paper, if you can believe it, I developed callouses on my right hand that I still have: my fingers are slightly deformed from holding a pen and being pressed on a page).

I had pretty much figured out that I wanted to write when I was in junior high, but my parents weren't really thrilled with this idea: they shared the common view that trying to make a living doing something artistic was like playing the long odds in poker and I should try to have some kind of "fallback" education. Meanwhile I spent as much time as I could manage playing computer games, working on role-playing game ideas, reading, and writing my second novel on the computer.

I continued to work on it and a sequel through high school and into college (not to mention my own role-playing system), and as a consequence I learned how to use a computer pretty well and develop affection for them. Sensing that this was a (reasonably) "practical" pursuit that would make my parents happy, I actually tried to major in computer engineering in college.

It was an unmitigated disaster, but organized education and I have always had kind of a mutual antipathy, so this wasn't really surprising: I'm not even really certain I would have done any better if I'd studied something I was really interested in. I've taken classes on writing and not been much more interested in them than I was in the calculus and engineering classes. And I am good at math when I apply myself, albeit not as good as I am at writing. I don't really buy into the idea that people are innately good at either math or being creative; I have enough native intelligence that I could be good at anything, provided I managed to stay interested in it. I don't say this as self-promotion; raw intelligence by itself doesn't get you much. It's like any other genetic freebie.

After the miserable failure of my brief stint in college, I was placed in a position where I pretty much had to broker my few practical skills in order to support myself, so the whole computer thing became vastly more important. I eventually worked my way up from one lousy job to another, becoming increasingly proficient and more experienced. But I never stopped writing. I mainly used role-playing games as a creative outlet during this period.

Over time, from working in the real world and having greater experience with what's "out there" I've realized that the opportunities for making money from your creativity are essentially unlimited and it is, in fact, one of the most practical things you can pursue, so I'm back to working on my fourth novel while I also work at a new job in New York. The job is good because it requires the use of critical-thinking skills (although I'm still learning the ropes) and I can make use of my knowledge of language by overseeing medical transcriptionists. It's not my ideal job, but it's a step in the right direction and a good opportunity for me.

In a way, I'm glad I moved to a place where I don't know anyone: I don't have anyone to distract me from writing so I get a lot more work done. So, there's how I chose my career.

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I don't really buy into the idea that people are innately good at either math or being creative

Why not? Some people are just naturally smarter or more creative than others.

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Why not? Some people are just naturally smarter or more creative than others.

I don't buy the whole "left brain/right brain" dichotomy, I mean, where either you're good at math and thinking logically or you're creative. I also think that creativity in any area is a skill that you teach yourself. It reminds me of something Scott Adams said (paraphrase):

"Your mind makes ideas all the time. If you don't have any ideas, you're probably dead. This is hell."

It's simply a matter of automatizing a process where you look at the things you encounter and roll them around in your head to see what they pick up.

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Finding my career has been, rather than a singleness of purpose, a series of steps (and sometimes stumbles) in the right direction.

I was a huge Disney fan through high school, and would draw animated characters in every corner of my notebooks. I was also a straight-A student who did better in science classes than any others. I initially wanted to be an animator, but my parents pushed me in the science direction, fearing I'd never be able to make money as an artist. In retrospect, I am glad they did, as drawing remains a fun hobby to me rather than a deep and passionate pursuit.

I majored in chemistry in college, thinking I would be a doctor. I got not-so-great grades, which made me think maybe I should consider grad school in chemistry instead, since medical schools are much stricter about grades. But when I had to do an undergraduate thesis, I realized I'm not cut out for lab work. So, I applied for every job under the sun, not knowing what I wanted to do, and ended up getting a management trainee position at a mail-order products firm. After a few months there I realized I hated just about everything about the job (which was mostly project management), and that the one bit that I did enjoy was the writing (yes, I derived pleasure from writing something so cheesy as a letter asking the customer to buy yet another die-cast miniature truck, and that sort of thing). So I tried to get a writing job. I flooded journalism outlets with my resume, but didn't get any bites. Then I was offered a job doing writing for a summer camp, of all places. I took it, figuring any writing job was better than none.

I was miserable at the camp job, because the writing was boring (Lots! Of exclamation points! Praising! Children! For! Unimpressive! Achievements!). I took a journalism class, hoping to get some clips and get a job at a newspaper or magazine, but still no luck.

About five years ago the departmental administrator from the chemistry department at Princeton, who was like a mother figure to us students and remembered me as someone who enjoyed writing (I infinitely preferred writing my thesis to doing the lab work!), told me she'd heard of a freelance opportunity to ghostwrite medical journal articles for a professor who was too busy to write them himself. I tried it out and LOVED it. I had never heard of medical writing as a career path before, but as I did more work for the lab, I realized I enjoyed it more than any other work I'd done before. I tried to get a job at a medical advertising agency, but was turned down due to lack of experience. So I stayed at the awful camp job, picking up as much freelance medical writing and advertising work on the side as I could. It led to 60-70 hour workweeks, but I finally felt like I was on the right path.

About a year after that I moved to Pittsburgh to follow my then-fiance. A large medical society is headquartered there, and they were seeking an editor. I applied for the job with not-so-high hopes, because I'd been turned down for similar jobs in New York before due to lack of experience. But the talent pool in Pittsburgh is much smaller, I passed the application test with flying colors, and got the job. I started out editing, but as soon as they found out I could write, they had me doing that too.

Several months later, the same advertising agency in NYC that hadn't been interested in me before was looking for editors and writers. This time, even though I only had a few months' experience on paper, that experience was in the therapeutic area they were looking for, and they offered me the job. I took it, in the process dumping my ex-fiance (something I should have done far earlier), and now here I am in medical advertising. In retrospect, if I had known about this career path earlier, I probably would have started on this path before I did. I've always had a deep love of words and I've always enjoyed learning about scientific advances, if not actually doing the lab work myself, and this career path allows me to do both.

Of course, in parallel I've also been growing as a crossword puzzlemaker, and I get a deep pleasure out of doing crossword work on the side. It doesn't pay well enough at the moment to make me quit my day job (which I do enjoy, as I've said), but if I'm ever offered, say, the crossword editorship of a major paper, then I wouldn't hesitate for an instant in making it my full-time job!

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I don't buy the whole "left brain/right brain" dichotomy, I mean, where either you're good at math and thinking logically or you're creative. I also think that creativity in any area is a skill that you teach yourself.

Hm. As far as I understand, left brain/right brain dichotomy is a matter of their distinct functionalities, and not an either/or. I cannot think of any courses I've taken or books I've read that suggest a mutually exclusive relationship between creativity and logic.

Hey by the way, if you're writing your fourth novel, what happened to the first three? Were they ever published? What are their themes? And how would one go about finding a distributor for a book?

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I come from a business/political family in Taiwan, and I am raised equal parts in Taiwan and New York. As a child I have always been particularly good at language-related subjects and art. I started off college as a pre-med student, after my entrance into an art school was thwarted by my parent's refusal to pay the tuition. It was either medicine or economics, I was told, or I had better find a job and start saving up.

About a year and a half in and a handful of biochemistry courses later, and between the constant lab work and my apathy, I knew that medicine wasn't my calling. I switched over to economics and found it far more interesting. In the back of my mind though I still longed for something more creative.

Now I have graduated, and because of family issues moved back to Taiwan. I got my first job as a stock broker. I love playing the market, and currently I am addicted to day trading. However I dislike the feeling of being just another peon in a vast corporate ladder, and I really have no interest in spending the next decade or two scaling the corporate hierarchy. Right now my plan is to just soak in as much knowledge as I could over the next year or two about the financial market and investing --a good skill to know I think regardless of your profession-- before moving on to something else. Possibly something in real estate, advertising, interior design, or starting my own business.

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Hm. As far as I understand, left brain/right brain dichotomy is a matter of their distinct functionalities, and not an either/or. I cannot think of any courses I've taken or books I've read that suggest a mutually exclusive relationship between creativity and logic.

Hey by the way, if you're writing your fourth novel, what happened to the first three? Were they ever published? What are their themes? And how would one go about finding a distributor for a book?

Actually different parts of the brain can do different things in different people. It was considered for a while that individuals were either "left-brain dominant" or "right-brain dominant", hence either highly logical or highly creative, but not both. This fallacy has been pretty much exploded, though.

The other three novels were bad so I pitched them. A good artist knows when to throw out their own work. Just telling you the theme of a novel you'll never read is exceptionally pointless. As for finding a publisher/distributor for a book, your best bet is to look online. Many publishers accept online submissions, but they are extremely strict about their formatting guidelines, which makes sense because they get many, many more submissions than they can actually use.

You can also self-publish via a print-on-demand service or other things of that nature. These are increasing in popularity. There are a lot of options for distributing information nowadays. For fiction novels I think you're still best-off going with a traditional publisher, assuming you can find one, because they have the resources to promote your book, but they don't always do it that well. So, if you don't mind doing the promotion yourself, you can always self-publish.

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Originally I had planned on being a Firefighter. I really don't recall any other reason at the time than because my father was a firefighter.

One day, I was about 15-16 at the time, I was sitting in the camera shop owned and operated by my grandparents. As I frequently did, I was visiting my mother day in between trips down to the beach and the boardwalk. On the sidewalk on the other side of a large plate glass window overlooking the 'main' drag, a scant four feet from me, sat my relatively new Workman beach cruiser. I worked a good bit of the summer for that bike and it was one of the first 'expensive' things I had ever earned.

As I sat and we talked, I watched people walk by the shop. Then a kid ran up and jumped on my bike right in front of my eyes! He started peddling furiously away! I got out the door as quick as I could chasing after him with the disadvantages of reaction and mode of transportation. At the time I was wearing Justin cowboy boots (don't ask, I had no sense for style then and none now) so my running was somewhat hampered. I chased this kid down the alley next to the camera shop and up to the next street. He wrecklessly rode across the traffic-laden street while I came to a stop. I was losing distance and I wasn't going to get run over. That was the last I saw of that bike. I was infuriated. I think that planted a seed in me that later blossomed into my career choice of law enforcement.

I did not like being a victim to someone else's gross disregard for a person's rights. When others would have panicked, screamed or expected someone else to do something, I ran after him. Even today when people are running away from gunshots, I work my way towards them. As they say in sports, the best defense is a good offense. I don't deny that some level of altruism probably played a part in my career selection at the time, I haven't always been selfish, but at the core I think justice is important to me and the preservation of rights is paramount to life. I don't like being a victim and I like helping other people (who wish to help themselves) avoid being victims either by prevention or by seeking retribution against those who have already violated someone's rights.

Lest I sound too untarnished, I did things while young that I'm not proud of now. Stupid, unthinking things that also involved a lack of respect for other people's rights and their property. I evaded in thinking that a "big store" wouldn't miss a few books. I thought it was fun to 'slurpee toss' (throw slurpees into the open windows of cars) with my friends. I don't think I was more fully considerate of these things until I was about 18. At any rate, suffice to say that part of me as a kid was a little prick though mostly I was pretty decent.

I learned (albeit slowly), I changed.

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Originally I had planned on being a Firefighter. I really don't recall any other reason at the time than because my father was a firefighter.

One day, I was about 15-16 at the time, I was sitting in the camera shop owned and operated by my grandparents. As I frequently did, I was visiting my mother day in between trips down to the beach and the boardwalk. On the sidewalk on the other side of a large plate glass window overlooking the 'main' drag, a scant four feet from me, sat my relatively new Workman beach cruiser. I worked a good bit of the summer for that bike and it was one of the first 'expensive' things I had ever earned.

As I sat and we talked, I watched people walk by the shop. Then a kid ran up and jumped on my bike right in front of my eyes! He started peddling furiously away! I got out the door as quick as I could chasing after him with the disadvantages of reaction and mode of transportation. At the time I was wearing Justin cowboy boots (don't ask, I had no sense for style then and none now) so my running was somewhat hampered. I chased this kid down the alley next to the camera shop and up to the next street. He wrecklessly rode across the traffic-laden street while I came to a stop. I was losing distance and I wasn't going to get run over. That was the last I saw of that bike. I was infuriated. I think that planted a seed in me that later blossomed into my career choice of law enforcement.

I did not like being a victim to someone else's gross disregard for a person's rights. When others would have panicked, screamed or expected someone else to do something, I ran after him. Even today when people are running away from gunshots, I work my way towards them. As they say in sports, the best defense is a good offense. I don't deny that some level of altruism probably played a part in my career selection at the time, I haven't always been selfish, but at the core I think justice is important to me and the preservation of rights is paramount to life. I don't like being a victim and I like helping other people (who wish to help themselves) avoid being victims either by prevention or by seeking retribution against those who have already violated someone's rights.

Lest I sound too untarnished, I did things while young that I'm not proud of now. Stupid, unthinking things that also involved a lack of respect for other people's rights and their property. I evaded in thinking that a "big store" wouldn't miss a few books. I thought it was fun to 'slurpee toss' (throw slurpees into the open windows of cars) with my friends. I don't think I was more fully considerate of these things until I was about 18. At any rate, suffice to say that part of me as a kid was a little prick though mostly I was pretty decent.

I learned (albeit slowly), I changed.

I can relate to this very much. I remember when my bike was stolen from my porch because I didn't lock it, when I was in grade 1. I actually thought that the cops would find it. Soon after that I began to accept that cops can't catch all criminals.

I was too sheltered to be an adolescent thug but that didn't stop me from deeply admiring the mafiosi for so many years.

Today I like it when I wear "thug-like" clothing, unshaven, messy-haired, looking to spend a fair amount of money in a store, and to have staff and secret security look at me with suspicion. Or walk down the street and watch some person show fear. I don't like the fact that that is their reaction. But it is ironic because they have nothing to fear from me in that way. I'm just an honest intellectual who sometimes prefers to look bumb-like as opposed to spending time looking nicer, so I can rather spend time thinking about what I need to think about.

I am in a career related to law enforcement. I'm a front line manager for a security company in Toronto. I do have a long term vision and see an interesting financial opportunity. LAW ENFORCEMENT is not the main reason why I choose this industry. It is more about privacy, achievement, and day to day well being: about fostering and highlighting the fringe benefits of living in a free and honest society. It's about the idea of "Islands of Freedom" within a corrupt metropolis that motivates me. It is primarily a learning experience, which fuels my efficiency and creativity in the midst of the day to day monotony.

But as you know, I am a competent writer and poet. I chose it, which I still am able to engage in, and find fulfillment, despite my lowly position, because there is nothing else in the world that I'd rather be doing, except having sex, but that presupposes the activities of writing and philosophy . Keep in mind, that my writing and philosophic life greatly fuels my convential job in so many INVISIBLE WAYS; so that even my employers are compelled to accept this aspect of my right to privacy.

I started this facebook group, Condo Perfecto, in case you're interesting in my conventional job:

Condo Perfecto

WHEN YOU ARE LOGGED INTO FACEBOOK.

JOSE GAINZA

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Hm. As far as I understand, left brain/right brain dichotomy is a matter of their distinct functionalities, and not an either/or. I cannot think of any courses I've taken or books I've read that suggest a mutually exclusive relationship between creativity and logic.

Certain parts of the brain do have specific functions, it's true. Most of the studies that have enabled us to comprehend what part of the brain handles what functions have come from studies involving patients with injured or diseased brains. When we look at brain function in any task in a healthy brain, using imaging techniques such as EEG, MEG,fMRI and fMRS, what we discover is that nearly all brain activities involve networks of locations that work together. When a brain is injured, we can decipher how that particular location affects the "network" of the lost ability or function. A piece of the process/network is disabled, and thus the entire function that network controlled is affected. The old dichotomy argument really is being broken down by the evidence that new brain-scan technology offers us. One fascinating group of experiments to look at in terms of left-right brain research, however (indeed, these are the studies that lead to the theory in the first place) are the studies of patients with "split" brains. These were patients who, as a drastic last resort to treat epilepsy, had the nerve fibers of their corpus callosum severed (these are the nerve fibers that connect the two hemispheres. Interestingly enough, the impact this procedure differed greatly between children and adults. Children's brains showed a remarkable resilience and networks rerouted themselves in unique but functional ways. It's a fascinating field. I like to ponder what Rand would have to say about all these new discoveries...

As to how I chose my career, that's an interesting question, because I am still a work in progress in that regard. I love what I currently do -- teaching primary level Montessori-- but am very frustrated by how little control I have and the lack of prospect for financial advancement. I was always attracted to teaching; even when I was in school for architecture I imagined myself as one of the professors someday. I had planned on going to grad school after taking a year off after graduating with my BA in History, with intentions of becoming a professor in Early American History (American Revolution and Early National Republic eras, to be exact). In the meantime, I thought of teaching at the high school level, to try and get some assistance paying for grad school, but became so disgusted with the bureaucracy of education at the workshop day to get into the certification program that I knew I could never work in public schools, and well,I just started to wonder if I could stomach being a teacher at all if I wasn't going to be able to teach effectively because of somebody else's red tape. But then someone gave me some reading on Montessori, and I was sold. There were some qualms I had, but overall the logic of the method Montessori uses had great appeal to me. I applied for and got into the training program here in Colorado, sucessfully graduated, and have been in the field for three years now.

I love working with the kids, I love designing works for the classroom, I love coordinating the curriculum, but I hate having limits placed upon what I believe to be my effectiveness. In pursuit of answers to my own curiosities, I hired a career consultant and have been working with him for several months. One of the first things he said to me was that" It's not that what you are doing is wrong, it's just that you may be doing it in the wrong place." There is actually "education/teaching" involved in lots of careers where one might not think, and I am exploring those fields now, most especially criminal investigation and financial advising. I want more control over my own circumstances; I have thought of opening my own school someday, but I need some way to get there financially first so I would still need something else to do for a while before I tried doing that. But who knows, I may end up with something completely different. I am envious of people out there who have one specific, marketable skill that they excel at. I am more of a diversified person in terms of my skills, but have found that can be pretty frustrating to find a career that caters to all the right parts of my personality and still lets me pay the bills and have recreational interests. It is a work in progess, but I am loving the process nonetheless and have total confidence in the outcome of this career-adventure.

And I would definitely recommend anyone who is struggling with the career choice they made, or to make one at all, consider working with an independent career consultant. It really helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and to have someone who can help you with all the research you need to achieve what you want to achieve. At the very least, it's been a very insightful process for me and has certainly given me a greater understanding of myself and my goals.

Edited by 4reason

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I don't really buy into the idea that people are innately good at either math

Sometimes I entertain the idea that some people are born with the ability to perform simple arithmetic faster than others. Analogous to how some individuals are born with a bigger frame that gives them the potential to gain greater physical strength than others, some individuals might be born with a faster mental processor that, with proper nurturing, would give the individual the capability to perform perfunctory unconscious tasks such as adding numbers faster. At least, in movies, there are idiot savants who can add and multiple numbers like a computer. I have never met such an individual in person so I am not certain of this proposition.

I do not believe that individuals are born with a superior ability at mathematical reasoning or the ability to prove theorems. That comes with hard work and rationality.

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