Why This Economist Thinks You Should Live Like An Artist
Trust the opportunity to adjust the plan or journey
William Faulkner once described writing a book as getting "the character in your mind. Once he is in your mind, and he is right and he's true, then he does the work himself. All you need to do then is to trot along behind him and put down what he does and what he says."
Unlike some novelists, Faulkner was claiming he didn't know how his book was going to turn out when he started. The characters he created and the situations he put them in took on a life of their own. There was an organic aspect to the process that deﬁed the usual way we think of a genius at work, executing a brilliant plan to realize the vision. The vision emerges alongside the work. It isn't prefabricated.
Some people have the good luck (or maybe it’s a curse) to have a prefab career or a prefab life. They know what they want or at least they think they do. They want to be a doctor, say. They’re pre-med in college; they work hard and get good grades; are accepted at a respected medical school; secure a decent residency and spend their life as a doctor. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of focused plan. It can mean an incredibly rewarding career, both ﬁnancially and psychologically.
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