Stoicism is becoming a source of counsel and guidance for me as I combat a world of materialism, technology and social media that at times leaves me feeling anxious, a little bit frustrated and a sense I should be travelling at lightening speeds, following every fad. We are taught from a young age that ‘passion’ is something positive, something you follow into a folly or potentially further. A naturally occurring biological feeling we get which provides a compass on what we should do when we grow up and the energy we pour into ‘projects’.
You probably don’t have to think too long and hard about the friend, colleague or family member that followed their passion. They had this awesome idea that everyone needs a ‘Jet Ski’ based solely on their love of water sports. If only everyone tasted the feeling you get cruising a lake at 70kph it would replace the need for cars. That venture lasted all of about two years before they were back to the corporate job. Just think for a moment, what if they took this passion, sat back, thought about the future technology trends which may affect the category and worked on a product that made the Jet Ski smaller, lighter, used renewable energy and connected like minded water sports lovers, in a way they could share the price and enjoy the experience of escapism together.
The passion in this instance has been left on the table. Ego has been put to one side. Stoic mentality allows you to step back without emotion, think deeply for utility, trend, need, relevance, innovation and price. These elements have now incorporated your idea to create a blue ocean of opportunity to the non-Jet Ski market and thus create a business with scale…I think you just might get me on the back of one!
Elon Musk isn’t passionate about electric cars, he cares deeply about safety and creating a sustainable world. Steve Jobs wasn’t passionate about computers, he was determined to empower everyone with the opportunity to change the world one MAC at a time. Every great idea has an initial viable product with a longer term game changer in mind…Gary Vee calls this the north star. Passion doesn’t do your north star any favours…sure it creates momentum but that lasts all of a week until you realise you actually have to work beyond your great idea to achieve the desired goal.
Being part of a start-up executive search firm over the last 14 months has been 99% grunt work, 1% innovation. Perhaps we may have got that ratio wrong but its meant we are operating in BAU far quicker than most would have thought. Hiring 5 people and having regular clients has been the bi-product of taking the passion out, moving into the practical and pushing the notion of ‘entrepreneurship’ & ‘start-up’ w*nk factor to that back of our minds. We live in a country where we feel entitled and my aim over the next 10 years is to ensure I’m working hard on my self-awareness to address that personally and to unlock how we can enable our kids to see the reality of the world from an early age and not sugar coat it with a safety net that keeps expanding.