The Sour and the Sweet
I am thanking Mark Sanborn and Joe Calloway for a special Facebook share tonight. It relates a commencement message from Ben Horowitz at Columbia University. My own students need hear this, as does every entrepreneur in the private, public and community sectors worldwide. Ben essentially slams the understood notion of “following your passion”. For many, that might seem a little sour. Personally, I have long believed that we should not confuse our joys with our one passion; our sense of purpose and contribution. Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art speaks to this. Find your path of excellence. There is the sweet. Sharpen your blades and go to work. Bring your value to the world. Commit to your contribution.
So, all I will suggest here, this day, is that you ask 3 simple but powerfully discerning questions.
- What are all of my joys in life? Be exhaustive. Identify “knowledges”, skills, abilities, character traits and activities. Squeeze every idea out. This is your starting point. All but one will ultimately only help in making you grateful; but that is good.
- In which do I know myself to have real skill? This question will narrow your joys down to specific skill sets and help you identify your resourcefulness; your tools for success.
- Which one would I commit daily to develop mastery, excellence and contribution? Now, here we are talking of real passion… not simply joys and desires and distractions. We are talking purpose here. This is boiled down from all of your joys and skill sets to identify what you bring to the table. What is your contribution?
Now, with that in mind and your skill sets identified, get at sharpening the blades. Develop mastery. Use education as that force for excellence, growth and change. The way is the work and the work is the way. The world might not need you to save it, but it needs you. Contribute.
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™