Recently read this. Po has his faults as a writer, and this book has many. I actually feel like I have this question answered (for now), so I was really looking for the sound of others who have made “the choice” and how they knew it — I certainly didn’t at first. Can’t say the book provides what I was looking for (or what I think most who might be asking the question) but there are a couple of good nuggets: Like how the values of the business we work become our own unconsciously, and…
“Let me describe the kind of person I was much more likely to meet. i met people like this in droves…they’d gotten accustomed to making “very good” bank. Filthy rich? No. But did they have enought to quit and change their life? Sure. they wanted to. Ten times a day they’d fantasize about doin it. But they couldn’t. Couldn’t seem to cut off that pipeline of cash. they’d come to me because they’d heard i walkd away from money. They want to know how I did that. They want the golden key to unlock their golden handcuffs. No matter how much they earned it was never quite enough to free them. Similar to the way ethical objections [at a job] rarely triggered a change by themselves [in individuals to quit], having enough money to change rarely triggered the change by itself. It had to get personal. Something else had to pull the trigger.
“Was I bent on encouraging people to change their lives? Because I’ve watched my generation stop reading book, stop reading the newspaper, stop voting in local elections? Because i’ve watched money/salary because a proxy for respect, and then a synonym for respect, an then the only kind o frespect that counts? Because i have seen us jude books we have not read, politicians we have not heard, musicians we have not listened to, politicians we have not debated, and fellow citizens we have not met? Because I have seen us torn apart by jealousy for what others our age have accoplished, rather than celebrating those accomplishments? Because I have seen us glorify those who make decisions over those who enact decisions, prefer being a consultant to being fully engaged, being an investor to being invested in, being an adviser over being politically involved, being an expert over being partisan, being a news analyst over being a news gatherer — all in fear of the inflexible boredom of commitment?
“[People who find their thing] are not always happy, and not always content, and not always jazzed. it’s not a high. it still feels like work, it’s hard, but Mondays never come too soon. it seem like their purpose — for now. they don’t daydream about living some other life. Their like or dislikefor their job doesn’t hinge on what happened that day, or even that month. they’re not always comparing their life to some other imagined life in their head. Maybe that’s the most consistent thing they report — the mind chatter stops…”