Fundamental vs. Instrumental Reasons

From the always-interesting Dan Pink, in an interview with Cal Newport:

What’s the biggest myth about the post-graduation search for a job that you would like to dispel?

That you need to have a carefully articulated plan.   Too many people make career decisions for instrumental reasons — because they think what they’re doing will lead to something else.  Not enough people make decisions for fundamental reasons — because of the value of the activity itself.

The dirty little secret is that instrumental reasons don’t work. It’s way too tumultuous out there. The people who really flourish are those who make decisions for fundamental reasons. They have to live with a certain amount of ambiguity about not knowing what’s going to happen next. But that keeps them alert to unexpected opportunities and the serendipity you talked about earlier.

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