Make Your Life Extraordinary

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 24th August 2022 08:34 EDT

It’s exam results time. I regularly communicate with young people through my TikTok (now 70k followers) via regular live sessions which are essentially mentoring. Questions which come up a lot relate to their careers and their futures.

I found an outstanding Oxford University backed website with excellent career advice on making your lives extraordinary. It’s called 80,000 hours and here are some of the top tips quoted from there.

  • Your career is your biggest opportunity to make a difference. But how can you make the most of it?
  • Many global issues should get more attention, but as individuals we should look for the biggest gaps in existing efforts. To do that, you can compare issues in terms of scale, neglectedness, and tractability.
  • Many social interventions don’t have much effect when rigorously measured, but some are enormously effective. This means that by finding a more effective solution to your chosen problem, you can often make 10 or 100 times as much progress per year of work. To find these solutions, we advocate a ‘hits-based approach’: find rules of thumb that increase the chance of the solution being among the most effective in an area, even if it also has a good chance of not working. This often means working on research, policy change, or movement building.
  • Your ‘leverage’ is how many resources (e.g. money, attention, skill) you’re able to mobilise toward the solution. To get more leverage on the most pressing problems, we often encourage people to work in government and policy; to pursue careers where they can mobilise others (e.g. media); to help people or organisations that have a lot of leverage; or to use their strengths to contribute indirectly through donations or community building. Most people only reach their peak productivity between the ages of 40–60, so we also encourage people to invest in their skills, connections, reputation etc. to have more leverage in the future.
  • But how do you actually find the best possible path? Think like a scientist: make some best guesses at the most promising long-term paths, identify key uncertainties, then update your guesses every 1–3 years.
  • Explore: learn about and test out promising longer-term paths, until you feel ready to bet on one for a few years. (ages 18-240
  • Invest: take a bet on a longer-term path by building the career capital that will most accelerate you in it. It’s normally better to aim a little too high than too low — but make sure you have a backup plan. (ages 25-35)
  • Deploy: use the career capital you’ve built to support the most effective solutions to the most pressing problems at the time. (Age 36 onwards.)

For me this is my work in Government, journalism and my and around that my chairmanship of Loomba Trust (with Lord Bilimoria). CityHindus and the India League (

I wish you all well in your exams. And if you want mentoring – my TikTok is and I do regular live sessions.

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