At a recent dinner party, I was speaking with a friend who hadjust been promoted to vice president at a well-known New York hedgefund. The promotion was unexpected, involved an immediate 50% payraise, and came with broad new responsibilities. When he shouldhave been feeling optimistic and excited about his new position,why did he look like the unhappiest person in the world?

This isn't uncommon. In the course of writing Passion& Purpose, I was fortunate enough to meet andinterview hundreds of young leaders, many of them “rockstar”twenty-somethings who command high six-figure salaries, are instable relationships, and have all the career options in the world.Yet, when I asked them whether they were following their passions— really doing what they loved — they would soondescribe how they actually felt about their seemingly perfectlives: lost, hesitant, and uncertain. One respondent summed it upby saying, “I don't know what I want to do, but I know it's notthis.”

Many of those I interviewed echoed her sense of hollowness, asense that seemed to be largely career- and situation-agnostic.This set up an intriguing puzzle: With all the ambition, choice,and ability in the world, why are these young leaders getting sweptaway in an undercurrent of unhappiness and anxiety?

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