I’ve happened upon what I think is a universal trait among people that other people consider successful and it’s dead simple. If you want to be famous, rich, powerful, admired, sought after, or all of those things you need but follow one rule:
Do what you love, do it well and love sharing it with others.
Let’s see if I’m right – I’ll pick a few people I admire and see if he/she follows the rule. Just of the top off my head here:
Laird Hamilton – pro surfer, total wildman. Laird lives to surf, so there’s no doubt he does what he loves, and he does it well. More importantly though, he talks to everyone he can about why he loves it, and tells people how they can do it.
Jimmy Carter – builds homes for the needy, humanitarian, also ex US president. Say what you will about his politics, when it comes to building homes for the needy Jimmy is king. He obviously loves Habit for Humanity, but again, it’s his life’s mission. He’s a helper, and gets down and dirty and builds alongside other volunteers, and helps others follow his passion.
Jeff Veen – I had to think for a while exactly what Jeff does, which might break the rule a bit, but decided Jeff is a proponent of doing things the right way on the web. A bit broad, for sure, but if you’ve ever seen Jeff speak, or read his blog, you might have to agree. I happen to know Jeff, and I know he does what he loves, and he most certainly loves sharing with others.
Almost universally I think that the real measure of true success isn’t exactly how rich or famous you are, but how much you’re willing to give everything you’ve learned and everything you’re good at doing back to the community. That sort of free and open behavior creates an amplified echo that refines your skills, and incidentally brings fame and some degree of fortune most of the time.
I’m interested in hearing what you think about others who fit the rule (and if it always works).