Matched

Day 136 Week 20 Q2 Wednesday, May 15, 2024

If you have the good fortune to have a set of things that are expected of you, which are the same as the things you really want to do, then you are matched. This is a pretty glorious state to be in. So much of the time, there are a large number of tasks we need to address, which have nothing to do with what we care about. In fact, for much of our lives, the dominant set of activities we are involved in may have nothing to do with what we really want to be doing.

It really does feel terrific when you have a tremendous amount expected of you, and it is precisely what you want to do. In retrospect, I have been trying to figure this out for 40 years, when I was first told by a boss that we didn’t know what to do with you. You’re going to have to figure out what to do with yourself. This was not meant as a pejorative; it was actually an extremely positive and respectful interaction. 

I feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a boss who had the intellectual and emotional security to not feel the need to micromanage me or, evidently, even manage me at all. This was not a stupid man who did not know what to do. He was actually a brilliant individual who determined that he would get more out of me by having me do what I thought I needed to do, and he trusted me. He knew I would do the right thing even if he didn’t know what it was beforehand.

This was at Bose Corporation, where I was working on sound research. The company’s tagline was better sound through research, and this just suited me wonderfully. I was able to spend a decade in this beautiful environment, and then, amazingly, when I moved to Apple Corporation, I was greeted with the same conditions. They also did not tell me what to do and permitted me to work on what I wanted to do.

When you spend 15 years of your life working for world-class organizations that give you incredible degrees of freedom, you kind of get spoiled. And you kind of expect to have a lot of freedom. I did not realize at the time just how unusual this was, but it made the pattern of expectation for the rest of my life.

Right now, I find myself doing precisely what I want to do, which is a combination of composing and performing music, writing and publishing columns about technology, and having a television show on a local cable station about harvesting Infinity, my favorite topic. This is actually every innovator’s favorite topic. I get to interview other creative outliers to see how they are creating MeaningPlace in their lives. 

The people at the station, the people I bring on the show, and I are all in the business of harvesting infinity, which is precisely what all creative outliers and innovators really love to do.

It is fantastic to be matched to what matters most to you.