I especially liked this part:
Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do when they’re twelve, and just glide along as if they were on railroad tracks. But this seems the exception. More often people who do great things have careers with the trajectory of a ping-pong ball. They go to school to study A, drop out and get a job doing B, and then become famous for C after taking it up on the side.
Jumping from one sort of work to another is an odd thing. Sometimes it’s a sign of discipline, and sometimes it’s a sign of laziness. Are you dropping out, or boldy carving a new path? You often can’t tell yourself. Plenty of people who will later do great things seem to their friends and family and even themselves to be disappointments early on, when they’re trying to find the work they love.
Kids who know early what they want to do seem impressive, as if they got the answer to some math question before the other kids. They have an answer, certainly, but odds are it’s wrong. If you read autobiographies (which I highly recommend) you find that a lot of the most successful people didn’t decide till quite late what they wanted to do. And not because they were indecisive, or didn’t know themselves. It takes a long time to just to learn what different kinds of work are like.
I have this line — “I always admired the ones who were sure.” — I think I wrote it in one of my paper journals. Anyhow, it has stuck in my head, which makes me think it would be a good first line. For Jas, perhaps.