I am drawn to complex challenges that include: - surfing 50 foot waves at Mavericks - rethinking the role of privacy in a society - architecting a more useful structure for the internet and - guiding enterprise organizations through changes to their structure and processes that will allow them to adapt and thrive in an age of rapid transition.
I tend to focus on projects that satisfy two goals: 1) They feel like they will have a significant impact on the world 2) The process of taking them on will be a whole lot of fun
There is a balance, of course. I'm not sure how the big wave stuff makes too much of an impact, but it is one of the few situations in which I am able to completely lose myself -- and I believe that such ecstatic moments are an important key to a fulfilling life.
Plus, facing your own mortality on a somewhat regular basis makes all the heady stuff seem that much less consequential... and thus easy to take on.