“You have to find the intersection of doing something you’re passionate about and at the same time something that is in the service of other people,” he says.
“I would argue that, if you don’t find that intersection, you’re not going to be very happy in life.”
Cook is not advocating that students volunteer indefinitely. Rather, he recommends finding a paid job that aligns with your sense of purpose.
“There’s a big difference between loving to work and loving the work. And there’s a big difference between whether you fall in love with some work that is just for profits or revenues versus work that is in the service of others. And so I feel very strongly about that.”
He has followed that advice, after all, and it has served him well. He loves his job and gets paid handsomely for it: In 2016, Cook made $8.75 million.
“Find the intersection of doing something you’re passionate about and … something that is in the service of other people.”
He acknowledges that: “I’ve been very fortunate to wind up with an incredible company where I’m very passionate about what we do and it also stands at the exact intersection of my values.”
But not everybody is so fortunate. That’s why, to some, the advice felt painfully naive. After all, grocery bills, student loans and other financial obligations can’t wait for you to find a passion that pays.
Watch the full speech below. (Warning, the video is not of the highest quality.)