Your Work Can Only Be As Good As Your Problems Are Meaningful

A lot of people struggle with doing great work and still being unfulfilled, and your problems might be the problem

Work on the most important problems possible

I have a god-tier hack for improving the quality of your work, and the fulfillment you get from it.

Improve the quality of the problems you’re working on.

Putting it another way, your work can only be as interesting as your problems.

And you can’t only be as fulfilled as your work.

Which means…

You can only be as fulfilled as your problems are meaningful.


Here’s an example.

  • You’re a top .01% programmer.

  • You can solve any problem.

  • You see frameworks in your head like Beth Harmon sees chess boards.

  • But you work at Google in Ad Platform Optimization.

As arithmetic

Here’s the issue as arithmetic.

work_fulfillment = (work_quality + problem_quality) * (problem_quality + problem_quality)

So the left side of the equation is your work, and the right side is the problems you’re working on.

But even the left side is affected by the problems you’re working on! Which means you get more than triple the upgrade when you work on more interesting problems.

As a visual

Your fulfillment based on working on optimizing ad models.

And here’s what it might look like if you’re working at OpenAI trying to build AGI to create universal abundance, and thus, maximum human flourishing.

What do I do?

What’s the takeaway? Simple.

  1. Ask yourself what problem(s) you’re trying to solve in your work.

  2. If they’re not big, interesting, or important enough (in your own mind), change that.

The reason you’re unfulfilled at work might have nothing to do with you.

It might be because it doesn’t matter how well you do, or your team does, or the company does. Because they’re not working on anything important enough.

To get maximum happiness from your work, find the most important problems to work on. It won’t just improve the impact of your work, but will likely make you better at doing the work as well.

More fulfillment will fall out naturally.