Steve Jobs dropped out of college because he couldn’t find a major that interested him. Instead, he started dropping in on classes that sounded interesting—like calligraphy. What he discovered was a passion for a changing the way we communicate.
And thus began the empire that today is known as Apple Computer.
Successful people have a different philosophy—do what you want to do, find a way to solve a problem, and then you’ll make money. It is this philosophy that makes successful people resilient and strong minded in times of crisis and uncertainty.
Too often we think of successful people as experts with strategies, and we believe better strategies will lead to more success. So we renew efforts to become an expert in a field so that we can build better strategies to achieve our goals. It’s a vicious cycle!
Implicit in all of this activity is the understanding that, in order to be successful, we must become an expert.
There is too much competition out there to sustain mediocrity if we hope to achieve success.
Follow That Dream
How did Steve Jobs find his dazzle? He followed his curiosity and his passions.
That doesn’t sound like a business school approach. It’s much scarier. I mean, what if your passions can’t pay the rent or school tuition? Successful people will tell you that sort of thinking is like putting the cart before the horse.
They have a different philosophy—do what you want to do, find a way to solve a problem, and then you’ll make money. It is this philosophy that makes them resilient and strong minded in times of crisis and uncertainty.
This thinking threatens to redefine how you and I look at success. In a commencement address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs said that the only thing that has kept him going was to love what he was doing. He’s not the only one to say this, so why do we spend so much time working to be competent—or an expert—at something that doesn’t really trigger our curiosity or feel like a passion?
No wonder we’re tired and don’t feel fulfilled. It’s like we are on a merry-go-round and we’re afraid that if we jump off, lest we’ll get hurt. If not us, then the loved ones we pull off with us.
We’re no longer resilient, and at some point in our career, we begin believe it’s too late to start over. But what this is really saying is this: “I’ve given up.”
It’s never too late to stop and take stock of where you are in life.
As an FBI agent working counterintelligence and espionage cases, I worked with the Behavioral Science Unit in analyzing the personalities of the targets of my investigations. BSU psychologists told us that childhood patterns are difficult, if not impossible, to break.
Sometimes, the key to understanding current present behavior is to understand past behavior:
- Remember your passions and areas of interest as a kid and young adult.
- Remember the times you were curious as a child.
- Remember how you responded to your curiosity as a child.
By recalling the way you gave yourself permission to engage your curiosity and passion as a child, it’s easier to see where adult patterns of behavior have taken you in a different direction.
- Be curious about yourself.
- Notice what events and situations of the day bother you and produce stress
- Note the number of days in a row this happens
- Notice the events and situation of the day that produce joy and a sense of fulfillment
- Note the number of days in a row this happens.
For some, it may not be about changing jobs or careers, but simply about shifting focus in your current situation.
For others, an option may be following a passion as a part-time endeavor or hobby until it makes financial sense to turn it into a full-time project. Prepare for a period of financial instability or change if you go this route.
Remember this, you will do great work if you love what you’re doing.
- Keep looking.
- Don’t settle.
- You’ll know it when you find it.
Following your heart can make your life better. Which would also mean, you’d be successful, wouldn’t it?
“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” ~David Frost
How do you dazzle? Is it possible to be successful and not follow your heart? What tips do you have to help people follow their dream? How did you find your dazzle?
LaRae Quy is former FBI Agent and Founder at Your Best Adventure
She helps clients explore the unknown and discover the hidden truth in self & others
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Image Sources: ipwalls.com
- Rare photo of Steve Jobs in his 1982 living room (edibleapple.com)
- Success, Richard Branson, and the Spark Plug Mind (linked2leadership.com)
- Steve Jobs Will Help Launch the iPad Newspaper [Launches] (gawker.com)