One way to know that you’re finally approaching grownup-hood is that you become more honest with yourself about why you’re doing something. The trendy term is “transparency,” but I think it’s just good ol’ honesty dressed up in new clothes. That clearer vision provides some immunity to doing things for all the wrong reasons. In “How to Do What You Love,” Paul Graham shares these thoughts on the demon Prestige:
“Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.“
(You can read more of Graham’s interesting essay by clicking here.)
Watch out for the hook baited with prestige.