You have about 80,000 hours in your career: 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for 40 years.
This makes your choice of career the most critical decision of your life and most significant opportunity to make a difference, and how you can use it best.
If you can increase the positive impact of those hours just a little, it will probably have a bigger impact than changes to any other part of your life.
After ten years of research, 8000hours, a nonprofit organization that conducts research social impact of careers, found out that you can have a more positive impact throughout your career by aiming at these four points.
1. Help solve a more pressing problem.
Many global issues should get more attention, but we should look for the most significant gaps in existing efforts as individuals. To do that, you can compare issues in terms of scale, neglect, and tractability. It turns out that some issues receive hundreds of times less attention relative to how big and solvable they seem.
This means which issues you choose to work on is likely the biggest driver of your impact.
2. Find a more effective solution.
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.