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A few years ago, when I was agonizing over my future career path, my dad told me to make a list of the things in life that make me happy.
Then, split the list into two categories.
The first category includes any type of happiness that you can feel instantaneously. Sipping hot chocolate on a chilly day. Hitting the snooze button to steal another five minutes of sleep. Binge-watching the new season of your favorite show.
The second category includes any type of happiness that takes a long time to appear and a long time to fade. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Mastering difficult skills. Building closer relationships with the people you love.
Some of the items in the first category, my dad explained, might clash with the items in the second. The more hot chocolate you consume, for example, the less nutritious your diet becomes.
But a few items in on your list, just a few, might actually fit into both categories. The best painters in the world obtain joy both from the instantaneous act of painting and from the ultimate goal of becoming a world-class artist. The best soccer players love being out on the field just as much as they love becoming better athletes.
Circle these items, these things that bring you both short-term happiness and long-term happiness.
These are the things that you can spend your life doing, and never feel like you’ve worked a day.
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