I made a delightful observation recently, and I believe the conclusion is a powerful lesson on happiness and success.
I went to the window to call my son in for chores. He had been in the driveway playing basketball for a while, so I thought it was time to focus on something useful like laundry or emptying the dishwasher.
When I peaked out, I realized he was not engaged in the typical aimless shooting around. He had put tape out and was shooting 30-plus shots from a single spot and noting the percentages made and missed, repeating, improving, etc.
Additionally, he had cones out and was running drills, and he was timing himself on plays run with left hand and then again with the right. I thought maybe the dishes could wait because I wanted to see how far he would take this discipline.
When we spoke at dinner, I announced: “I know you will be successful at anything, whatever you choose for your career.” He questioned me but seemed more annoyed, like, “Sure, mom, that is your job to encourage me.”
I continued. “You know that joy you experienced when you were focusing on the plan to get better, that creative problem solving, and executioning of a strategy? That feeling you had while on improving at basketball is the exact same feeling you will have in 20 years whether you are ‘working’ on being a basketball player, doctor, engineer, lawyer, teacher, firefighter, etc.”
His eyes lit up.
We often tell our kids to find something they love for a career, and yet we tell them the thing they are doing now to prepare for their career is school. My kids don’t actually love school, so there is a disconnect in that logic for them.
I am so grateful my son was able to use basketball to build skills in problem solving, strategy and commitment, all of which are transferable skills to a future career. I am also grateful that I don’t personally have the resources or time to over provide such training and commitment for my child.
I worry that in a world of affluence, we Americans tend to provide the best coaching, conditioning, training, etc., for our kids, leaving no room for their own desire and strategy. In the end we may have better basketball players, but will we have great problem solvers?
My son had, on his own, learned to work at play. I work with entrepreneurs daily, so I know the importance of passion as a driver for successful entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs-Journey.com states: “When you identify your passion and align it with whatever you’re doing, a magical synergy happens that will effortlessly carry you to rarefied heights. Work becomes joyous and pleasurable.”
Forbes journalist Dave Lavinsky writes: “Will passion ensure your success? No. But it sure will help. So, if you’re choosing between businesses to start or products to launch, choose what you’re most passionate about. Because when things go wrong and/or you go through tough times, which happens in all businesses, it’s this passion that will help you persevere.”
Find your passion. Follow your passion. Stick with your passion. It will make a tremendous difference in how high you soar and how much you enjoy the journey on the way.
Bea Wray is the executive director of The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Bea can be reached at 912-447-8457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.