In a previous post, “The 3 things you need to succeed: Part I-Passion,” I explained why you’ll be more successful if you do what you love. I also explained why that isn’t enough.
The second thing you need to succeed is skill. You need to do what you’re good at. In certain fields, this is obvious. Not everyone will be good at sports, art or music. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do those activities. Have fun and enjoy! Try to improve! But they might not be the best choice for you for a successful business–at least not until you get much better.
Everyone has certain skills and abilities:
- Some skills and abilities come from your genes
- Some skills and abilities come from your experience
- Your genes and experience interact; for example, you can use experience to improve on — or damage — what you inherited
You need to find your skills and abilities. You’ve probably had the experience that some things come easier to you and other activities are more difficult. You’ve probably seen the same in others. What is easy for you could be harder for a friend.
On the other hand, maybe a friend finds some activity so easy, but you struggle with it. This can be frustrating!
Here’s an exercise for you
Write down major activities you’ve done in your life. Include not only activities you did in school and at work, but with family and friends. Try to come up with at least 25 activities. Here are some examples from my life:
- Being in the 2nd-grade play (didn’t like it, wasn’t good at it)
- My 5th-grade science fair project on the eye (liked it, but wasn’t especially good at it)
- Riding horseback in high school (loved it, was OK at it)
- Writing a 70-page paper on India in 10th grade (didn’t like it, wasn’t very good at it)
- Writing an independent-study paper on 3 translations of the Bhagavad Gita in college (liked it, was pretty good at it; I got better at writing papers as I got older)
- Learning how to use a computer for the first time (Lotus 1-2-3) in 1984 for a proposal (loved it and was good at it)
- Wrote resumes for everyone I know (liked it and was good at it)
You get the idea. Writing down these activities is actually a fun and valuable project. It will help you learn a lot about what you should be doing with your life.
When you find activities that you love and that you’re good at, you’ve found your sweet spot. Try to find several of these.
In a future post, I’ll explain the 3rd component for your success — the market.
Meanwhile, did you do the exercise? What was your experience with it? How did you choose what business to do? Please leave a comment; your comment can help others!