If you have your primary needs of security and health fulfilled (as billions of us now do) how then do we proceed? It seems I have two options. The option I default to, is to feel I should first do what I must—the work that others have assigned, the work that brings in the dollars, the work I feel that I should do. The second option is, of course, doing what I wish to do. My defaulting to those shoulds directly conflicts with my pursuit of the wish-tos. This creates enormous tension, and alarming swings of focus, energy and mood.

The message is clear: you should do what you do to the best of your ability, and whether you gain recognition for it or not is secondary. This is the ethic of the Japanese shokunin, the true craftsman. These masters are completely dedicated to perfecting their craft, whether it is cookery or calligraphy, woodwork or weaving. Honour comes simply from the work, not from the recognition others give you for your doing it.

~ Julian Baggini from,

What, actually, happens if we flip things? Rather than first doing what we must, we first do what we wish. Don’t misread; I’m not proposing we do what we wish instead of doing what we must. What if we simply flipped the priorities— a reversal of the ordering?