Monday, July 28, 2008

Talent + Passion = Success

I saw this picture the other day. It was a web site’s pick for best fan costume at the recent Comic Con in San Diego. Now you can think this fanboy crazy, but that’s not really what struck me. What it got me thinking about was both how much talent and how much passion went into producing such a result. Many people have the talent for such a thing, even more still could envision such a thing. But most lack the passion to actually turn it from concept or thought into reality.

For the lucky relative few, the equation: Talent + Passion = Success is just simple basic math. It’s every bit as easy as it appears it would be. For most of us however, it winds up being more complex math. Some of us are very talented at things we have no passion about and passionate about things we have no talent for. All the shades in-between can turn it into Vector Differential Calculus for some of us.

For most of us, the laws of physics really do play a role. We get on a certain trajectory in our lives, and the law of inertia comes into play. We mostly, it seems, don’t spend a lot of time winding up thinking about Talent + Passion = Success.

Things happen in our lives and we come at it from a variety of ways, but don’t often get down to thinking about this basic math. I think that’s probably a real shame because in the end, when it comes to success that equation usually plays the pivotal role.

The other day, I watched The Last Lecture by Carnegie Mellon Professor, Randy Pausch who recently passed away. Pausch’s lecture, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams is worth spending the hour and sixteen minutes or so with. It was quite powerful. It left me feeling many things, including, quite honestly, ashamed of myself. One of the concepts he talked about was the brick walls that get thrown in front of us in our lives. He suggests that they’re not designed to keep *you* out, but designed to keep out all the people who don’t want it badly enough.

The next day I saw the picture above and because it was already on my mind I started thinking about the talent plus passion equation and how great it would be if when the brick walls presented themselves, we stopped and thought about those walls and why they are there and what we want to do about them. I run into many people who when running into such walls feel victimized by them and don’t feel they personally play a role in getting around the wall, scaling the wall or knocking it down with a battering ram. But I like Pausch’s take on those walls.

I’ve been blessed to know many people, online and off whose talent and passion are aligned extremely well. So well, it all just seems natural for them. It seems so easy for them we sometimes don’t realize just how hard they are working at it. But they are working hard at it, it just doesn’t seem like work because they are following their passion.


Ken Stewart said...

another great line of thought, Robert. A friend of mine once told me that life is simply a choice - a perspective or outlook about things that happen to you and what you do about them.

As you prepare for your day, and as each event occurs in your day, you have the simple choice of how you react. Should you choose to allow the events to drag you down, you quickly can lose site of your purpose, and thusly forget your passion towards that purpose.

Life is a choice, always a choice. Thanks for helping me thing about that just a little more.

Robert Seidman said...

Ken, thanks for the kind words.