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Life Lessons

Passion and Problem-Solving

Here’s a different point of view on something you’ve heard a lot: follow your passion.

It comes from Oliver Segovia, a young author and entrepreneur, who argues that following your passion can leave you feeling empty (as well as poor). Segovia instead suggests finding big problems.

“Happiness comes from the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, and what the world needs,” he says.

To me, there’s not much difference between doing what you love and finding big problems. When I tell people to follow their passion, I don’t mean to sit on a beach all day. I mean do something that energizes, challenges and fulfills you.

Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

I once heard of a study that laid out four attitudes toward to work. In a group of 100 people, there will be roughly:

24 who are problem-avoiders. They show up late for work, go home early, and do nothing but steal paper clips in-between.

60 who are problem-copers. They show up on time and stay as long as they’re supposed to. They do what they’re asked to do, but not much more.

12 who are problem-solvers. They are the professionals: doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.

4 who are problem-seekers. These are the entrepreneurs, inventors, etc. They see a niche and try to fill it.

In which group would you place yourself? Would it be your passion to seek a problem and solve it?

I’m at the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association today, and as part of my talk, I’m urging coaches to go on a journey of discovery to find better ways to train their athletes.

But you don’t need to be a coach to seek out problems. My favorite example is Dunkin’ Donuts. William Rosenberg opened a store that sold doughnuts and coffee, even though people can buy both of those things in a supermarket. He sought out a problem and solved it.

And upon his death in 2002, here is what the company CEO said about Rosenberg:

“He had a passion for quality that he instilled in his organization and franchisees.”

So use your passion to seek out and find problems!

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TotalGamePlan offers Winner’s Workshops for schools, sports teams and businesses. The emphasis is on motivation, skill-building and teamwork. To bring a Winner’s Workshop to your group, just email coachtully@totalgameplan.com or call (973) 800-5836. To order a copy of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know,” click here.


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