lördag 27 september 2014

Start Gaining Momentum

Ludvig at Start Gaining Momentum today posted this article on how to make sure you are both successful and happy. I commented on the article and repost my comments in this post:

I think the most important conclusion I made from Ludvig's article was this:

So, I used say (until yesterday) “follow your passion, at least you’ll be happy even if not successful”, but Ludvig has convinced me that what I really meant was: “Choose a useful area, make it a habit, learn to like it, master it, allow it to become your passion and then let it lead you to success and happiness at the same time.”


Choose a direction that is compatible with your strengths, your ambition and your targets, and (you will) learn to like it.

and from Barking (who says happiness brings success not the other way round)



Alright, so on to my comments then:

Your post is very interesting and thought provoking. Despite the difficult and complex topic you also manage to give some concrete and actionable advice at the end, on how to be both accomplished and happy.


The blog name “Start Gaining Momentum” really is genius and says it all in one sentence. Decide where you want to be in the future and start the journey now. Choose a direction that is compatible with your strengths, your ambition and your targets, and learn to like it.


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Paradoxically enough, here I am (Always Be Bruce Wayne, man on the roof) always talking about following your ‘flow’, even your every ‘whim’ in pursuit of happiness :). Where Ludvig says “strategy and long term targets, success, and backs it up with tonnes of research”, I say “flow, lust, whim, happiness” and backs it up by being the European Hedge Fund Manager Of The Decade.


On the one hand, I am the perfect disguised charlatan and bullshitter extraordinaire. I have the titles to back me up, and I often claim it was down to coincidences or just dumb luck. From the outside it may have looked as if I was working hard and deliberately, maybe even following my life’s passion, but from the inside I usually say I was just a bullied nerd, happening to hide first behind my computer, then behind excellent study records and desk face-time.


On the other hand, I am calling my own bullshit, by acknowledging that my passion for computer games, and indirectly programming, provided me with useful skills, that I actually had to work hard for (I became systematic, thorough, learned math, English, patience etc). All of these skills could and would be applied to school and later to work.


I didn’t even start out passionate about math, English, or programming and was not naturally systematic or patient either, but those became my strengths with immersion and time. Then I learned to embrace those strengths as well as (admittedly, happened to, by chance) to put myself in a context where my skills were valuable and “layered” in an unusual and productive way. Knowledge of programming, networks, math, statistics and finance was a very good combination to have in the stock market, when the IT craze took off after Netscape’s IPO in 1995.


Thank you Ludvig for making me see the light and solving the seeming paradox with my success, laziness, happiness and obsession with flow and path of least resistance. I simply wasn’t following my passion, I created it. And that is where Ludvig’s greatness shines like a beacon in the night - he analyzes, scrutinizes and cuts down complicated issues to manageable size, and then tells you how to deal efficiently with the core issue.


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I think some are more or less born with a passion. They know what they want to do, as soon as they can think, and they just keep at it. Most fail, but those who succeed can thank their passion for guiding them. Some of them became good because their passion never allowed them to relax or give up. They worked so consistently that either their talent was discovered or they actually developed a skill/talent. Others just happened to be at the right place at the right time and made it big, despite a lack of talent. The Olsen twins?
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PewDiePie is extremely successful at commenting video games. His advice is to follow your passion, not because it works but because when it doesn’t work at least you could enjoy the journey. That is also exactly why I wouldn’t have chosen a career in finance if I could go back and redo my life. The likelihood of success is so small that I really should have chosen something I liked instead. I didn’t know that then and there definitely was no guarantee of success.


But remember that which is not seen (Bastiat), all the passionate singer song writers and actors that failed and ended up poor, miserable, maybe as abused semi-prostitutes. Passion did them nothing good. On the other hand, they may have misread their own passion; what they wanted was fame and fortune, their time in the limelight. It wasn’t acting or singing that drove them.


Others that are not born with a passion, have to find it, or rather to manufacture a passion by choosing something good enough and work at it.


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Ludvig cut the Gordian knot of Love-Hate / Probability / Happiness-Success by postulating that you can learn to like almost anything, if you immerse yourself and make it a habit



I agree with Ludvig that you can’t count on your passion to make you successful. At the same time I agree with PewDiePie that your passion will make you happy even if you are not successful. I also want to stress that there is nothing inherently wrong with mediocrity as long as you are happy.


An important question is what you want. Do you want to be happy or do you want success? And what is the likelihood of attaining your goal? Is there a middle road that maximizes the expected value of doing something useful that, if not love, you at least don’t hate, and the probability of becoming happy or successful?


Ludvig cut the Gordian knot of Love-Hate/Probability/Happiness-Success by postulating that you can learn to like almost anything if you immerse yourself and make it a habit (given that you don’t hate it deeply to begin with). If you apply your strengths to the most useful endeavor that you don’t hate, you will learn both to master and like (or at least tolerate) that area. Layer on an unusual and valuable second skill, and your likelihood for success increases considerably. If success was very important to you, you’ll be happy too. If you grew to like what you did you will be happy as well, not least from the feeling of being good at it.


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If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”



So, I used say (until yesterday) “follow your passion, at least you’ll be happy even if not successful”, but Ludvig has convinced me that what I really meant was: “Choose a useful area, make it a habit, learn to like it, master it, allow it to become your passion and then let it lead you to success and happiness at the same time.”


I particularly like the quote by Cuban, but I like the Lao Tzu (no, not Yogi Berra) version even more: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”. Hence, make sure to adjust your direction early, the destination will be so much better and the journey will be more or less about the same.

However, DO NOT attempt to create a habit, force momentum, or set out a direction doing something you despise and hate, just to become successful. Success isn’t worth anything if you are not proud and happy.

4 kommentarer:

  1. Hehe I have read that Dilbert comic some time! Such a good comic.

    SvaraRadera
  2. Mikael, this article makes Ludvig's already brilliant article even more powerful.
    It made the core concept even more clear to me.

    The idea of choosing something that goes well with your strengths and that you don't hate as a starting point. To then let it progressively transform into your passion...

    I think this is a smart and empowering approach to be BOTH successful and happy.

    Thanks.
    Matias Page

    SvaraRadera
    Svar
    1. Yes, Ludvig's thinking is very clear. Thank you for taking the time to read my interpretation and commenting. I appreciate it.

      Radera