Passion is often thought of as a strong drive coupled with intense enjoyment. As such, passion can be used as a powerful motivator and a guiding light in life. If you know what you are passionate about and can align your life accordingly, you are on the path to sustainable happiness. It has been said that “when your work is your passion, you never have to work another day in your life”. This all sounds fine and dandy, so how come we aren't all already leading happy, fulfilled and passionate lives? In this (independent) second unworkshop on passion and purpose (following Finding and Following Your Passion - I), we will take a closer look at the obstacles that stand between us and our ideal lives. Again, the focus will be split between finding your passion and following it. To address the first point, we will talk about values and do a longer exercise on envisioning our ideal futures. The second part will focus on resilience; what we need to realize the lives we have envisioned and to remain robust in the face of challenges along the way. As in all unworkshops, the schedule is flexible and the discussions will depend on what we as participants want to talk about. There will be time for individual introspection, for discussing in small groups, as well as for sharing our findings and thoughts in the large group. If possible, the goal is to create an atmosphere and a network in which we can support each other and contribute to each other's insights and resilience.
Recommended reading (this is not mandatory in any way, but if you find the topic of this unworkshop interesting, you will probably find the following texts insightful):
- The Crossroads of Should and Must" by Elle Luna
- Chapter 6 of "Search Inside Yourself" by Chade-Meng Tang
- Part 2, Self (especially chapter six: Inventing Your Life) of "Excellent Sheep" by William Deresiewicz
I am a 2nd year PhD student at ETH Zürich working on applied cryptography. My current research is on forward security for protocols like TLS and cloud storage. I received my MSc in engineering mathematics from Lund University in Sweden, and I also spent a year of my masters as an exchange student at UC San Diego, where I was first introduced to cryptography. Outside of work I like to hike in the mountains, ski, bake sourdough bread and read. Lately I've been reading about mindfulness and well-being, and thanks to the unworkshops I have gotten into the habit of meditating regularly. I joined the Scientific Excellence and Well-Being initiative  at ETH because I think a lot of really bright people in academia who are very passionate about their work aren't as happy as they could be (including myself), and I would like to help change that. I see a potential for a different approach to doing research, and think that together we have the power to bring about that change, starting with ourselves.