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"Choose a job you like and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

In the hustle and bustle of running through life, we often forget that we are actually on a journey which has an expiration date. My favorite post this week was a reminder that the journey of life is really work in progress. Think of it as a personal resume, an accumulation of individual choices that through time build into your life's work.

 Favorite post this week: From Harvard Business Review (HBR) "Life's Work 2012: HBR Interviews 10 Intriguing People" http://ow.ly/gLdnH

Summarizing some of the key thoughts from the Harvard Business Review interviews with 10 intriguing people:

  • Kareem Abdul Jabar - Quote - "You can't win by yourself" - Jabar made the transition from star basketball player to New York Times best-selling author, all while being an introvert.
  • James Patterson - "The high-brow audience wasn't interested in me" - Patterson first novel won a prestigious award - after being turned down by 31 publishers. He always relied on his intuition.
  • Ai Weiwei - "Focus can give joy to any situation" - An artist and human rights activist whose political activities have brought him into conflict with the Chinese government. His focus is on small things that have a big impact.
  • Christiane Amanpour - "There's no such thing as overnight success" - War correspondent who discussed truth telling in the war in Bosnia.
  • Admiral Mike Mullen - "Don't burn bridges because you just don't know when you're going to need to cross them" - Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who often had to navigate between two political parties spoke on how he bridges cultural divides.
  • Bela Karolyi - "If I demand that the kids be 100% dedicated, I have to be just as dedicated" - Coached the USA Women's gymnastics to a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. He had to fight his way back to the gym after defecting from Romania, learning English, and working as a cleaner. He spoke on how he adapts his style to the people he coaches.
  • Sally Ride - "You can't be what you can't see" - A few months before she died at age 61, astronaut Sally Ride spoke to HBR on transitioning from scientist to role model to education activist. Her focus was on the best way to spur innovation in any field. It is not a question of constantly generating new ideas. It is the action of bringing good ideas together, prioritizing them, and giving them impetus to a scale not previously imaged.
  • Barbra Streisand - "When I'm really nervous, I say - Let go and let God" - Singer, actress, director, producer, and philanthropist. She famously suffers from severe stage fright. HBR asked her how as a director she brings a cast together to quickly collaborate. Her favorite part of directing is focusing on the story and getting the best performance out of the actors by getting to know them upfront.
  • Ian McEwan - "The moment you lose curiosity in the world, you might as well be dead" - Decorated novelist and avid hiker spoke on harnessing creativity. To be creative you need to understand the value of hesitation, to not be in a rush, to pull back and pause. To let those moments enrich the ideas further.
  • Muhammad Yunus - "I don't think any human being wants to retire as long as they enjoy the life" - Nobel laureate and Grameen Bank founder discussed scaling up. Don't focus on the megastructure. Focus on each building block and think how it will link to the next towards that megastructure.

Further interpretating the above quotes from those 10 intriguing people interviewed by HBR:

  • Kareem Addul Jabar - "You can't win by yourself" - Unless you want to be a hermit, life's journey takes place in a community. We all have a desire to win. Surround yourself with people who share your passion for excellence. Winning is very exciting when it is a team sport.
  • James Patterson - "The high-brow audience wasn't interested in me" - Never, ever give up. Learn from each rejection and reformulate your go forward strategy. Trust your gut, but do not be arrogant. Don't let your ego stop you from achieving your dreams.
  • Ai Weiwei - "Focus can give joy to any situation" - Focus is one of the most important elements to future success. It is very easy to get distracted, especially today, with all the high tech stimuli around us. Learn to separate your medium to long term goals. Focus time each week on making sure you are making progress on your life journey.
  • Christiane Amanpour - "There's no such thing as overnight success" - The concept of "overnight success" is a myth. Angry Birds was Rovio's 52nd game. After eight years and almost going bankrupt, Angry Birds was born. Pininterest started back in 2010 and also struggled near bankruptcy before success. Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 different configurations before inventing the lightbulb. It took eight years for the Ipod to become an overnight success. The Beatles were doing lots of early gigs starting in 1957 before appearing successful on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. Work hard at your passion and that "overnight success" will be yours.
  • Admiral Mike Mullen - "Don't burn bridges because you just don't know when you're going to need to cross them" - This is one of my favorites quotes for building a successful future. Every step you take in life, every job, every person you meet builds towards your future legacy. Never, ever burn any bridges, no matter how upset you may be with the situation at hand. The circle of life means you may run into that situation or that individual in the future. Always keep it positive.
  • Bela Karolyi - "If I demand that the kids be 100% dedicated, I have to be just as dedicated" - This quote is all about commitment. If you are a leader, then you must be dedicated to the mission and inspire others to your vision.
  • Sally Ride - "You can't be what you can't see" - All over Napoleon Hill's motivational books are the concepts of how each of us are wired for our particular success. What we dream is potentially in our grasp, if we dedicate ourselves to the hard work to make it happen. Understand where you are today. More importantly clearly visualize the milestones in front of you to achieve a successful life.
  • Barbra Streisand - "When I'm really nervous, I say - Let go and let God" - To succeed in life you must have faith in your ability to overcome the obstacles in front of you. The near term worry that sometimes leads us to delay in taking action is actually our worst mistake. Action is the only way to overcome fear.
  • Ian McEwan - "The moment you lose curiosity in the world, you might as well be dead" - We are part of a very lucky generation. Recall from the "Did You Know" video that a week's worth of New York Times content has more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century. New ideas are all around you.
  • Muhammad Yunus - "I don't think any human being wants to retire as long as they enjoy the life" - Have said it in other posts, if you are enjoying what you are doing, if you are following your passions, time will fly by quickly. Plan multiple stages of your life, including a very fulfilling retirement.

From Fast Company, here are the 8 signs that you have found your life's work (*):

  1. It doesn't feel like work
  2. You are aligned with your core values
  3. You are willing to suffer
  4. You experience frequent "flow"
  5. You make room for living
  6. Commitment is an honor
  7. The people who matter notice
  8. You fall asleep exhausted, fulfilled, and ready for tomorrow.

Listen to Confucius, find your life's passion and never work a day in your life.

What's Stopping You

(*) http://ow.ly/gZTXd

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