In pursuit of excellence!
I recently came across a website 80000hours.org, that is founded on the notion that we all have ~80,000 hours in our career (40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for 40 years) and emphasises that our, “career is not only a major driver of your happiness — it’s probably also your biggest opportunity to have a positive impact on the world”. The website goes on to list the world’s most pressing problems, lists of the most impactful careers and provides tons of research on what “doing good” means. Additionally, they offer a job board that regularly features handpicked jobs to help individuals address these pressing global problems through their careers.
Having signed up for their weekly newsletter, I receive updates on new job postings in areas such as Global health and development, AI safety & policy, Factory farming, Nuclear security, and more. As I spent more time reviewing these job postings, I couldn't help but wonder if my current job contributes to making the world a better place. While the stated purpose of our organization is to "build a better society through our architectural products" (as mentioned in earlier blogs), I sometimes struggle to see this purpose manifest in my day-to-day tasks.
Late in the evening, as I contemplated these thoughts at my home office setup, I noticed my wife engrossed in her phone, watching Instagram reels of people cutting fruits, a chef baking a cake, a carpenter cutting wood, and so on. Intrigued, I asked her what made these mundane tasks so interesting. She explained that it was the way in which these tasks were performed—with utmost precision and perfection—that fascinated and motivated her. She emphasized that witnessing someone carry out their tasks with dedication and perfection, regardless of their nature, was inspiring.
It was then that I realized finding purpose and meaning in our work doesn't always necessitate quitting what we're doing and attempting to save the world. Instead, we can embark on a different approach. Let's ask ourselves these important questions:
- How can I contribute to making my colleagues more productive?
- What can I do to help my department become the best it can be?
If each of us approaches our tasks with the same dedication and precision displayed by those individuals in the Instagram reels, it will ultimately contribute to personal growth, collective excellence, and hopefully, global advancement for both ourselves and our organizations. It is this pursuit of excellence that should be the goal as we invest our 80,000 hours and at the same time also hold ourselves accountable to the countless hours being invested by our colleagues, our firms and our society!
I hope this simple way of thinking of the responsibility of excellence that all of us share will help us Shoot to the Top!