In the early days of a relationship or career, excitement is often high.
You're experiencing new things, achieving new goals, and everything feels fresh and thrilling. But before the honeymoon phase fades, it's important to ask yourself: will you still be happy with the person or profession you've chosen, even when things get boring?
This is something that musician Ben Gibbard learned the hard way when he and actress Zooey Deschanel divorced after a little over two years of marriage. Reflecting on their relationship, Gibbard realized that they didn't take the time to "get to boring" and determine if they were truly compatible.
The same principle applies to our careers and projects.
A lot of things look shiny on the surface. And they may actually be awesome - but the real question isn’t about the level of intrinsic awesomeness in the work. It’s about your level of engagement and enjoyment when that awesomeness comes at a cost.
How will things look when you’re not so starry-eyed?
Humans acclimatise faster than you might imagine. Both to the good and the bad.
Research shows lottery winners aren’t much happier than the average person a year after collecting their winnings. And people dealing with life-changing injuries don’t feel as awful after a similar interval.
When you get a pay rise, a lot of people go through something called “hedonistic adaptation.”
The new thing makes you feel great, but soon no day is better than the last. Your lifestyle inflates. Your baseline rises.
So here’s a litmus test for your new pet project - I’m stealing it from Naval Ravikant, the founder of AngelList:
What feels like play to you that looks like work to others?