For this blog post I watched a TED Talk by Larry Smith called “Why you will fail to have a great career.” Doesn’t that just sound positively inspirational? Well, surprisingly, it was exactly that. Smith is an economics professor in Canada and he said that the reason that people do not succeed and have truly great careers is because they are scared, and because they are scared they will invent countless excuses because they are too afraid of failure to try.
Here is a brief outline of the talk:
- Excuses- Here we go, starting off at procrastination station
- Passion vs. Interests- Is there a difference? Apparently.
- Fear- Are you afraid of the journey or the destination?
- Action- Just do it (thanks Nike)
- If only I had- Don’t ever make yourself have to say that.
First he talked about excuses, and some excuses he said we compare ourselves with other people who have successful careers and use that so discourage ourselves from trying. Here are 3 excuses we use in relation to other people:
- People with great careers are just lucky, they get what they want by chance.
- People are geniuses-I’m not that smart so I can’t have a great career.
- People are weird- those who chase their dreams are obsessive and strange and I’m a nice and normal person.
“Nice, normal people don’t have passion”
Second is passion vs. interests. He said that finding something that interests you is not anywhere close to the same thing as finding your passion. You can have dozens of interests, but only one passion.
Third is fear, are you afraid of the journey or the destination? Some people may fear getting what they “want” or maybe be afraid of failure. They want to play it safe and pursue a career that will make a stable amount of money with little risk. Unfortunately little risk can come with little reward. Don’t do a job you hate and don’t let fear stop you from pursuing your dreams.
Just do it. Take action- What are you waiting for? Don’t use your personal relationships as an excuse to abandon your passion and dreams. “Don’t use people as a shield. Don’t look at your spouse or kid and see your jailers.”
Professor Smith said the worst thing you can do to yourself is look back and say, “If only I had.” Don’t live with regret. Don’t play it safe. If you truly have a passion, then chase it. You don’t want to tell your kids that you used to have a dream but never tried.