Passion Is For Losers!
A Letter From Naveen Jain
You’ve heard it over and over again. When you were growing up and all around you now. Influencers, business coaches, and leaders telling you to follow your passion and it will bring you all of the wealth in the world. But let me be the first to tell you that passion is for losers. I am not passionate about changing our healthcare; I am not passionate about improving the education system, I am not passionate about making moon travel accessible to everyone… I am obsessed with a single mission to move humanity forward.
It’s easy to be passionate about many things. You are passionate about your hobbies, but your hobbies do not make you wake up at four in the morning and they do not keep you up at night. An obsession becomes your life’s mission. A mission is nearly about how far you move humanity closer to crossing the finish line. You may not be able to finish the mission in your lifetime, but that does not mean you have failed. A mission is about going just far enough so that you inspire others to take up the cause. Even if you do not succeed in accomplishing your mission, you’ve left behind a world that will take the mission across the finish line.
Silicon Valley has become an example of an elite society solving problems that do not benefit the average person. For example, where is the need for a $700 juicer or an Alexa enabled toilet? What if the greatest minds in the world were mission driven and focused on solving big problems like affordable housing or affordable education so that we eliminate student debt? Short term thinking for quick financial gain has become a mindset we must change if we hope to move humanity forward.
If you measure your success in how much money you’ve made instead of what you have done for others, you will always be chasing more money. You should measure success in how many lives you have impacted and how many people you have inspired to contribute towards a greater mission for the betterment of humanity. Money will not satisfy the soul. A mission will challenge you, but will also bring you the significance we all desire as human beings.
Being honest with yourself and being true to your personal mission in life will help you take control of your happiness. Often people believe that it’s material things or people that fulfill us, but when an external source brings you happiness, you’ve handed over the remote control to your happiness. This means that your feelings can be switched on and off without your control. As a human, you cannot control everything that happens in life, but you can always control how you react to it. Once you’ve gained control of the remote, you could be sitting in a dark corner and still be happy. In the same manner, if you are not in control of your happiness, you could be sitting in paradise, absolutely miserable.
A mission with an end goal to achieve something outside simply benefiting your life will give you purpose and fulfillment that cannot as easily be turned off because it is tied to something bigger. The mindset to get you there is the belief that anything is possible. Fear that you “will never have enough” will keep you from believing you can try new things and from moving yourself forward.
These are the things a true leader must not only teach, but demonstrate. If you want someone to believe that anything is possible, you must show them that nothing is impossible. If you want to inspire someone to solve a problem creatively, you must teach them that there are always far better questions to ask. If you want to encourage people to live for more than their passions, you must give to your mission obsessively. Following your passion is not a guarantee of wealth, however, living out your mission every single day with obsession will bring you true significance.
Naveen Jain is the Billionaire founder of several successful companies including Moon Express, Viome, Bluedot, Talentwise, Intelius and InfoSpace. He has been awarded many honors for his entrepreneurial successes and leadership skills, and is often praised for his down-to-earth business advice he offers to aspiring and growing entrepreneurs.