Wanna be altruist? You oughta be effective.

Doing good is the purpose that lights up a life. How do we become better at doing good, though?

Clearly, passion is not enough. When passion is the ultimate driver, life paths could become narrower and narrower and ultimately kill us. We all had made decisions that should have lead us toward a bright future, and afterwards experienced a drift we couldn’t explain ourselves.

We need critical thinking skills to successfully get out of such complex issues. Should we prevent twenty people from suffering from AIDS or eighty people from suffering from severe arthritis? You might be surprised, but there’s an answer to that! Economists developed QALYs (quality-adjusted life year) to help prioritise public health spending.

One of the most fascinating applications of Effective Altruism is career choice. Some young people, eager to make a contribution, choose to be a doctor or social workers. Trading in quantitative hedge funds, although, might have a bigger overall impact through earning to give.

Want to get better at doing good? Don’t rely exclusively on your gut. Don’t follow only your passion. Try to keep your options as open as possible, build career capital and explore the world!

 

 

Stretching selves

When we don’t like the idea of changing oneself, and we feel uncomfortable about that, it might be that we are stuck into the fixed-identity mindset.

Who are you, though? Identity is what produces behaviors, beliefs, actions. If it were anyone who could change them, guess what, that one is you. If you were taught to identify yourself as what your thoughts and actions, things would get harder. You’ll somehow feel that by changing yourself you are spoiling your authenticity, because the future change and those parts which want that change are viewed as external – non-identity.

But that’s madness! Is there anything that doesn’t belong to us, when it comes the time to decide? Anything you think that can’t be influenced by yourself truly? Any poor owned decision is still a hundred times better than a good outsourced decision.

We need them: difficult questions that remain unanswered; long-term goals where you don’t feel like progress is being made.

When the next defeat knocks at the door, I wish you’ll figure out whether it is a failure of your judgement or the failure of not persisting long enough.