Sam Radford

May 26, 2021

‘Everything I do is the most important thing I do’

I enjoyed this response by the actor Mads Mikkelsen when asked about his philosophy in an interview for Vulture*:

My approach to what I do in my job — and it might even be the approach to my life — is that everything I do is the most important thing I do. 

Whether it’s a play or the next film. It is the most important thing. I know it’s not going to be the most important thing, and it might not be close to being the best, but I have to make it the most important thing. 

That means I will be ambitious with my job and not with my career. That’s a very big difference, because if I’m ambitious with my career, everything I do now is just stepping-stones leading to something — a goal I might never reach, and so everything will be disappointing. 

But if I make everything important, then eventually it will become a career. Big or small, we don’t know. But at least everything was important.

That insight about being ambitious about his job rather than his career is fascinating. And makes a lot of sense!

The key to a successful career, then, according to Mikkelsen, is to focus less on your career and more on making a success of whatever job you have right now. Do a great job with your job, and let your career take care of itself. 

–Sam

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