Why Our Equation for Success May be Wrong

There is a common equation that is taught to us in Western society: Persistence --> Find Your Passion --> Success. Now, that equation probably looks funny to you because, DUH, you obviously find your passion before you work hard towards success (persistence). However, most actually live by this age old equation because we are told to find a good job after college and stick with it for many many years. Once enough monetary wealth is built up, THEN you are allowed to take risks, travel, wander, and discover your true passion.

So could it be that the common success equation we are taught day in and day out may actually be wrong? Drum roll please....drumroll....I think so and let me explain why with a simple question. Would you rather shed blood, sweat and tears for something you MAY be passionate about or something you KNOW you’re passionate about? I’m guessing most of you chose the latter. Great choice. The problem is that most of us don’t actually choose the latter in real life because we are taught the flawed equation of, Persistence --> Find Your Passion --> Success.

So what’s the solution? Like many highly successful people have done, simply swap two of the equation items. Find your passion FIRST and then give that passion EVERYTHING you’ve got, so then the equation reads Find Your Passion --> Persistence --> Success.  Steve Jobs (Apple) dropped out of college and began to wander into many different classrooms in search of his passion before dedicating to a cause. Blake Mycoskie (Tom’s Shoes) went through four separate businesses and many adventures before taking a trip to Argentina and discovering his passion for philanthropy.

This equation works. Why? Because ask anyone over 60 and they will tell you that life is about more than just money. It is about finding something you truly care about and making an impact on it. Why not start searching for that something in your 20’s rather than your 40’s?

I personally live by the modified equation and my journey towards success has been exceptionally exciting and wonderful. I’ve experienced many jobs, lived in many states, and attempted personal venture after personal venture in search of something that is worthy of my blood, sweat, and tears (persistence). For five years, I wandered in many different directions instead of sitting at the same desk. I’ve worked my ass off at every step of the way, and eventually my journey led me to MeditationWorks, a mindfulness company I now help manage that uses a mobile meditation studio to run quick, effective meditation sessions for the busy working world. I can confidently say I’d give an arm and a leg for MeditationWorks and our cause, and I’m so grateful I was taught to search for passion rather than attempt to create it. 

My advice? Wander, live on dimes and nickels, spend the small amount of money you have now on experiences, not things, and TAKE YOUR TIME. Travel to another country, quit a job you’re not loving, try a new job you are intrigued with, or attempt to start a business. And work so SO hard at everything you do.

I know it’s cheesy to say, but everyone has a passion and everyone is good at something. Don’t overstay the first opportunity you receive in hopes of passion eventually arising. Search for passion and once you’ve found it, success will naturally follow. I promise.

I’ll leave you with my second favorite quote of all time:

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
— Steve Jobs

What is my favorite quote? One that I love so much I tattooed it on my body? You’ll just have to message me and find out :) josh@meditationworks.com



Josh Leider