One of the most valuable things I’ve heard in the past couple of years is a string of entrepreneurs admitting that steering your own course is hard and explaining some of the reasons why. There’s no map. You take responsibility for deciding where you and everyone else on board is heading. Most of the time you feel like you don’t have a clue what you’re doing and you marvel that you so often find the motivation to have a go anyway and look like you know what you’re doing.

And so with the current charity that I’m running, I find myself persisting much more easily than I have in the past because I recognise that it’s supposed to feel like this. If I’m tempted to crumble under the stress of thinking on Monday that we should be going left and Tuesday that we should be going right, I don’t write myself off as useless. “No,” I tell myself, “this is leadership, remember? Carry on.”

Every life requires leadership, including altruistic lives. But some challenges are more specific to altruistic lives, and those are the challenges I wish to start to address in this article.

Areas where altruism has asked something of me:

1. A “do no (significant) harm” lifestyle
2. Material comfort & financial security
3. Career and spare time
4. Facing what you’re not giving, and what you’ll never be able to give
5. Social approval and connection

Read the full article about the emotional challenges of altruism by Holly Morgan at Effective Altruism Forum.