Quick: Think back.

What did you love doing when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old?

What I remember from that age that I loved reading, coming up with big ideas how to change the world (I created mars colonies, a world filled with flying cars and robots that would go to work for me. Darn!) and helping others to solve their problems. Giving my friends advice how to deal with their parents and get the most out of them. All of my friends from the distant past remember me as the guy who always shared ideas how to solve their problems. (And pretty adamant about implementing my ideas. The word “headstrong” comes to mind.

I asked that question because I just finished reading “The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film”. In Murch’s book he discusses how to choose the work that makes you happiest:

“As I’ve gone through life, I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old (…) At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you ‘should’ be doing. (…) If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself. It’s certainly been true in my case. I’m doing now, at fifty-eight, almost exactly what most excited me when I was eleven.”

It took me more than 40 years to find a place that is a reflection of what I loved most when I was ten. Advertising, Marketing, Media – it came close. But now I feel at home. Excited like a 10-year old.

Take his advice to heart. It will change who you are.