In this week’s podcast Max asks: “I’ve always been very passionate about cars, specifically racing them. While I realize that I probably won’t become a successful racing driver, I do have the skills and passion required for other racing related jobs. I have a family and think that taking a stable engineering job would be best for them. Should I save racing for a hobby later, or pursue it as a career? A regular automotive engineering job would be great too, but might require moving across the country. I want to be passionate about my career, but also do the responsible thing for my family.”
So if you’re not good enough to be the very best should you walk away from your area of passion and just be “responsible?”
A couple of years ago I was watching the PBS special on the music of David Foster (Hit Man – David Foster and Friends). As the hosts asked him about his early years in music, one response jumped out at me. David said he loved music as a child and his parents allowed him to take lessons in classical music. But David said: “I was good, but not great.” He went on to explain that if he had been a better musician he would likely have ended up as an anonymous face in some orchestra. Not being great forced him to look for other ways to be involved in music. So he writes and produces for other musicians. It has been said that Foster’s songs have made “many famous singers into superstars.” Many of his songs have become well known through the voices of Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Madonna and Micheal Buble. And his own fame and fortune has far surpassed what he could have possibly hoped for as a “great” musician.
In The Millionaire Mind author Thomas Stanley looks at the common characteristics of people who have ended up ended up extremely wealthy. Their average GPA is 2.7. Why isn’t it that all 4.0 students become wildly successful? Maybe their “greatness” came too easily and they missed the benefits of the struggle.
If “greatness” has not come easily for you have you given up the pursuit and settled for mediocrity? Or have you looked for alternative approaches for success anyway?
Maybe “greatness” that comes too easily is itself an obstacle. We’ve all seen athletes, musicians, writers, and speakers who were so naturally great they never had to exercise the discipline to survive the hard times – and quickly faded into oblivion.
Maybe not being “great” is your biggest hidden asset.
Where are you passionate but not good enough to be the best? Could it be that your best opportunity is just a slight adjustment in that same area?