Life lesson #3: What you are doing is great, now find friends who think so too

Focus on working with people who are passionate about what they are doing @rigelstpierre

I want to thank @rigelstpierre for inspiring this blog article.

It’s vitally important to have passion when you are running a business, working on projects and changing the world. Passion helps sustain us when very little else is. It’s also really important to know what inspires you. I learned this lesson the hard way. Inspiration is like the stream that brings life into your passion. I learned what it felt like to have passion dry up. There is another lesson that I’ve learned along the way as well. Surround yourself with people who are passionate about what you are doing and want to see you succeed.

I used to attend UBCO and I had this class in my third year where everyone sat at opposite sides of the room. It’s normal for people to spread out, but this was to the extreme. Everyone kept to themselves. Every once in a while I get little ideas. I don’t usually act on them, but one day, before the lecture started, I thought it would be fun to try an experiment and start a conversation with the guy at the furthest corner away from me in the classroom.

Long story short, it broke the ice in the room. What ended up happening over the course of the next few weeks was a major shift in the social dynamics of the class. An unexpected outcome was that I became a really good friend with one of the guys in the class. My new friend was disciplined, intelligent and very interested in what we were learning. Way more disciplined than I was at the time. His passion about what we were studying rubbed off on me. Looking back at my university days the subjects that I really enjoyed and still think about today were ones I shared with my friend.

A couple things happened. First my marks improved. We were both competitive and watching the other guy do well motivated both of us to do better. Second I became more passionate about what we were doing. It was way more fun writing a paper on a subject that I was actually interested in.

One of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes is “Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.” I think what is even more enlightening about that quote was his comment preceding it.

“My model for business is the Beatles: they were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of its parts.” – Steve Jobs

He looked at four guys that when they worked together could create something better than when they worked apart. Why do you think that was? I think it was because their passion was infectious, not just because they balanced one another. The Beatles not only impacted their zeitgeist but their mark is felt in the cultures of all the generations since.

Many people are passionate about what they do. For example, a judge might be passionate about seeing justice upheld. However, is he always passionate about the cases that he is presiding over? Possibly, but not always. There is a difference between being passionate about what one does and what one is doing. My friend was passionate about what he was doing and that passion was infectious. Find people who share your passion for what you are doing and then hangout with often. You might just find that the total is greater than its parts.

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