Book: Success Built to Last

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In Success Built to Last (Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson), you’ll learn that passion is essential to lasting success, and that both preoccupation and pain can point you towards what you’re passionate about. Here are a few quotes I liked:

What we consider to be painful offers a window to our soul — to see uniquely who we are and what we must do. Do you love to play music and at the same time find it disturbingly painful to hear a flat note on that CD, or hate to live without music for a whole day? Let’s forget for a moment that friends and relatives think it’s foolish or even dangerous for you to choose music as your next profession. Do you love to write poetry and find it torturous to read a bad sentence? When I say painful, I don’t mean annoying–I mean, does it torment you, keep you awake at night, or get you up in the morning? (p.156)

I have many passions that trigger that in me, and over time I’ll learn how they all blend together. It’s painful to listen or watch people communicating ineffectively, and this drives me to learn more about presentation skills and other ways to reach out. It’s painful when I hear someone make excuses for not learning something (no time, etc.), so I make an effort to understand the root causes and see if I can help people over any humps. It’s painful to know that I want to communicate something but I’m not doing it well, so I get out there and keep trying. It’s painful to watch other people get buried in money worries, so I enjoy balancing my books and looking for more ways to be frugal. It’s painful to do things that a computer really should take care of, so I program little tools that can automate some of my work. It’s painful to watch people have humdrum days at work, so I try to bring more of myself to the work that I do. It’s painful to consider resigning myself to a less than full life, so I find as much joy as I can.

The point is that you know that you are on the right track when you naturally obsess over what you love like a geek, as in being a person who is single-minded in pursuit, at the risk of being socially insensitive while so engaged. It attracts you even when you’re too tired to do anything else.  It seduces you to the point where you lose interest in everything else, to the extent that you become socially inept around people who couldn’t care less about whatever it is. (p.40)

<grin> Hey, I’ve been geeking out since I was a kid. W- is like that too, so we’re working out how to signal each other when we’re in our single-minded focus modes.

What are you passionate about?

If you can’t name anything, you might want to contemplate this quote:

"And if you say, I don’t have anything I love, well then there’s a real problem right there, and you have to sit down and say, ‘Why don’t I have anything that I love?’  What in me has walked away from every inclination that I had, that I had found something, something that sparked me, something that was for me, and I didn’t do it.  You have to go back,   you know, just recount every moment of your life, what was it, what was that one thing that I did that I loved?" said [Sally] Field, [a director and actress].

My dad taught me how wonderful following your passion can be. I hope you discover that joy too. =) Me, I’m discovering it step by step – and the journey is awesome.

Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters
by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, Mark Thompson

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