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Finding Your Purpose / Passion / Career Central Purpose

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For a young person, choosing the path to your happiness is the most personal quest you will ever take. I would be cautious of asking for directions from any group, even a group of Objectivists. You must have an idea of the things or experiences that have brought you the most joy in life, that is, somethings that has market value. If you are a deep thinker, take a stab at writing. If haircuts fascinate you, perhaps you might take up hair styling. If health is your highest value, you may pursue a future in fitness, or a medical profession. Psychiatry, economics, acting, if you're young, you have time to develop and master skills in the field of your choice. However, always remember it is your choice, allow no one to dissuade you, and avoid those who are not encouraging you in your effort. Good luck, and good premises.

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Productivity isn't really a commandment to build and make in the tangible sense. All it really means is that it is virtuous to be an active thinker, since it brings about the things that are good in l

I'd say productivity in an Objectivist context has to have a physical element. The idea that productivity is a virtue comes from the fact that, in a general sense, human survival depends on physical r

One person might say, "The most important thing in life is to be rational."

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Another person might say, "The most important thing in life is happiness."

...

Still, another person might say, "The most important thing in life is my life."

These answers are too abstract, and they are also universal (assuming Objectivism). Every Objectivist would say he wants to be happy and rational and that he values his life.

The concept of a "central purpose" is more specific and individual. So, one person might formulate his central purpose around architecture, and another might do so around exploring and re-telling history, and so on. [i don't mean these to be ideal statements: just showing the level of abstraction involved.]

There are a few good existing threads on the forum, on this topic.

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These answers are too abstract, and they are also universal (assuming Objectivism). Every Objectivist would say he wants to be happy and rational and that he values his life.

The concept of a "central purpose" is more specific and individual. So, one person might formulate his central purpose around architecture, and another might do so around exploring and re-telling history, and so on. [i don't mean these to be ideal statements: just showing the level of abstraction involved.]

There are a few good existing threads on the forum, on this topic.

 

Right. I mean, I understand that a purpose is specific and individual.

 

The way I interpreted her advice, though, was that in thinking about this question she posed, it would help me to discover what purpose I should choose.

 

But, in order to be successful in this, I would have to know exactly what she meant by the question so that I can answer it properly.

 

Are you saying that when she asks, "... what do you consider the most important thing in life, and why?", you believe she wants the answer to THAT question to be a person's career choice? Because the way I interpreted her advice was that you first answer that question and THEN the choice of a career will "suggest itself".

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Are you saying that when she asks, "... what do you consider the most important thing in life, and why?", you believe she wants the answer to THAT question to be a person's career choice?

Tough to say, because she does not elaborate and has not written formally on the topic. I think she meant the answer to be slightly more abstract than a career choice. For instance, in the introduction to the 25th anniversary edition to The Fountainhead, she wrote: "This is the motive and purpose of my writing; the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself—to which any didactic, intellectual or philosophical values contained in a novel are only the means". I've always assumed that in that letter she means something at that level of abstraction: i.e. something that can be translated to the next step of novelist, but perhaps a few other different careers as well. Analogously, one might set "the communication of knowledge" as a central purpose", and that could lead to career as a teacher, or as a writer.

 

I don't think the question she asks in her letter -- on its own -- is a good enough spur to thought. I think one has to start with something more concrete, by asking what things you have enjoyed doing, and work "up" from there.

 

There's have been quite a few threads on the topic, even questioning whether one needs a single/central purpose. Use the site-specific Google search (bottom of the forum) and look for "central purpose". I think you'll find the threads interesting.

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*** Mod's note: Merged topics - sN ***

*** Original Topic title: "Work and self-esteem" ***

 

 

Is it possible for a man to value himself in any way, and to any degree, if he does not have a central purpose?  Is work -- and more, a central purpose at which one's life aims -- the absolute precondition of self-esteem?

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Is it possible for a man to value himself in any way, and to any degree, if he does not have a central purpose?  Is work -- and more, a central purpose at which one's life aims -- the absolute precondition of self-esteem?

 

If self-preservation fits your definition of having a "central purpose", then taking the actions necessary to avoid dying would be a necessary first step towards having self-esteem.  There's a difference of course between mere survival and living well, but in terms of absolutes one must begin by choosing to live.

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Is it possible for a man to value himself in any way, and to any degree, if he does not have a central purpose?  Is work -- and more, a central purpose at which one's life aims -- the absolute precondition of self-esteem?

A "central purpose" is basically just a hierarchical organizer for when and how you choose to focus on your goals. Self-esteem is literally "how you esteem yourself." And finally, achieving your goals is a very big way you come to decide, "Hell, I esteem myself greatly! Look at all this stuff I accomplished..."

 

But it's not the only way. Spending time on anything and becoming skilled at it will get you self-esteem. Virtually any achievement will lead to you thinking more highly of yourself -- you'll basically have no choice but to acknowledge an intended, good result at the end of your own efforts. The way I think of it is, the more important the goal is to you which you accomplish, the more you will esteem yourself.

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Is it possible for a man to value himself in any way, and to any degree, if he does not have a central purpose? Is work -- and more, a central purpose at which one's life aims -- the absolute precondition of self-esteem?

Work may not be a central purpose, but it is a central virtue. In particular, productive work generates the values that sustain your life and the lives of those you love. However, one's supreme enjoyment may lie elsewhere.

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