I have dreamed about starting my own company for many years. Probably around the same time I became an Apple fanatic and fell in love with the story of Steve Jobs founding Apple. It’s the story of entrepreneurship, focus, and a relentless will to make something insanely great.
Jobs' story is the modern quintessential story of the American Dream. It’s the story that Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreessen, Marissa Mayer, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Arianna Huffington, and Elon Musk followed to great success. Why not me?
Well many reasons actually. For one, I’m just not as talented as they are. Neither are you, probably. For another, so far I’m not as lucky as they are. Neither are you, otherwise you would be reading something else.
The tricky thing with passion is it can blind you from your own abilities and limitations. The people on this list, and the other Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT, dropouts or graduates of the world are freaking incredible. They’re machines, requiring limited sleep and posses deep expertise behind their pursued passion. And they’ve been working on their craft, building their 80,000 hours, perhaps since they were ten years old. They know their own strengths and have made conscious, adept decisions to maximize them.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not that person. I cant do 4 hours of sleep every day and still function. I didn’t ace college classes when I skipped class, I failed them. And, at 29, I still haven’t found my deep, skillful, passionate craft. It’s somewhere around design, programming, and entrepreneurship, but I’m still discovering and developing those skills.
Maybe you’re better than I am. Maybe you’re more talented, or work harder, or never sleep. Your “plate” of productivity could be a dinner platter, but you still may not make it. Timing and chance are key, and outside our control. Yes you can capitalize on your luck with the cards you have, but you still can’t control the hand you were dealt. You cant control everything.
There is no formula, “Follow step A to Bootcamp to IPO and just work hard” which guarantees success. Otherwise everyone would just do that. Part of the challenge, but also the fun, of life, is to roll with the punches. You do what you can, you hustle, but you also have to recognize some things are just beyond your influence. Steve Jobs was a genius, and yet there would be no Apple if he hadn’t met Steve Wozniak, another genius.
This is important to remember when it comes to how we follow our passions. I absolutely believe everyone should take the time to discover, and then follow, their passions. It’s how we do that which matters greatly.
I don’t regret following my passion to start a software company. I just regret not doing it wisely. I had a blind faith that things would just work out, but as we’ll see in the next section, you need more than that to properly follow your passion.
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels