Why you will fail to have a great career…

Larry Smith is a professor of economics at University of Waterloo. He coaches his students to find the careers that they will truly love. The most notable start-up he advised in its infancy is Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry. (No commentary please from the audience on how his advise is working for RIM now…Smile)

While I didn’t find any earthshattering revelations here, I did find Smith to be an engaging and inspirational storyteller in his presentation of the excuses we invent in failing to pursue our passions – – excuses including:

  • “There are no more great jobs, all the good jobs are disappearing”
  • “Great careers are a matter of luck”
  • “People who have great careers are geniuses, special one-of-kind”
  • “In 1950’s, competency would land you a good job. Today, not so much given how competitive it is…”
  • “I would do this (pursue my passion) but I’m not weird or obsessive…there is a fine line between great, weird and madness…and this is why normal people don’t have great careers”
  • “If you work hard, you can have a good career. But you need to work really really hard to have a great career and you are not prepared to sacrifice _____ (family, children, friends, etc.)
  • “I value my relationships more than my accomplishments. I will not sacrifice them in pursuit of my passion or a great career.”

    Smith goes on to explain that it is our obligation (to ourselves and our families) to find our passion – to find our destiny – to find the highest expression of our talents – rather than look back on our lives as a missed opportunity.

He explains that we seek refuge in human relationships rather than pursue our passions because we:

  • We are afraid
  • We don’t try
  • We might look ridiculous
  • We might fail
    And he states that there is no reason why we can’t pursue excellence in marriage, in parenting, in friendship and in a great career which we are passionate about.

Yet most of us fall back on the crutch: “if only I had…

Powerful finish.


  1. Reblogged this on Todd's Point of View and commented:
    Lately, it seems all I’m doing is reblogging David Kanigan, but this is really good stuff. Click the ‘reblogged’ button…


  2. lkanigan says:

    Great blog. This guy nailed on the head cause that is exactly what people are saying for excuses. I interview lots of people for our business and it is amazing to hear what people are saying…its from one extreme to another. They are so short sighted that they don’t think the extra work or change will be worth it. And these mental thoughts:
    I am afraid, don’t try, might look ridiculous and might fail are exactly what stops good average ordinary people from having what they want.
    Thanks Dave for sending this as this was a reminder for me and reinforcement that I am on track and it is the litte things that will help people become successful.


  3. Wow, this article was really eye-opening. It’s really inspired me to get a few things done. Thanks for publishing this!


  4. I enjoyed watching this video – thanks for bringing to my attention and your excellent overview. I have not fully followed my passion so far … but it is changing. You get me thinking about the role of passion in leadership. This video also brings home the importance of that first discussion with our children when they talk of passion and life direction. Do we support them or so easily stomp on their dreams and passion? I am having those discussions now with my kids and damn it, follow your passion!


  5. Praise God my adult children really care about me and pushed and nudged me into getting back to writing! My friends are happier with me, I am SO much happier. My children feel very loved because their intuitions and opinions were valued enough by me to put into action! Hooray!


  6. Reblogged this on MyDestiny2011 and commented:
    Thanks again..


  7. Great post! So true! No time like the present to follow one’s passions! Sometimes we just need to figure them out!!! (Spoken like a true procrastinator with ADD – I know, but sometimes the fun is in the journey too!!!)



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