When you look at most successful entrepreneurs, you discover three overriding traits – passion, perseverance and persistence – The Three Ps. They have a deep passion for what they are doing and keep at it until they achieve their goals. This inner drive, rather than the desire to make money, is the most critical component of their success. Think of Edison, Jobs, Dell, Hewlett and Packard, who all started out simply doing something they felt compelled to do. They persisted in looking everywhere for solutions to their challenges.
If you don’t love what you are doing your mind will never be open to the connections you can make, and you will cut yourself off from simple solutions you might otherwise have uncovered. The 3 P’s help nurture, strengthen, and grow what may have been gut instinct or “a hunch” into something powerful and profound. Passion is not blind allegiance to an idea. It’s the willingness to experiment, explore, invest energy, hit a dead end, and then chase a new direction that allows you to refine, revise, alter and grow good ideas. Doing interesting things requires effort. It’s no surprise that without passion, a drive connected to our heart, we often abandon something challenging for simpler, more predictable pursuits.
Achievement demands connecting to your personal motivations and desires to reach beyond your doubts and outside naysayers. You must recognize mistakes, make revisions, rethink and retool. Steve Jobs said, “About half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” Passion motivates you and is essential for convincing others about your ideas. Persistence and perseverance harness that passion into work and entrepreneurship.
When you come up with an idea, people may think you’re crazy. You may not want to hear what they are saying, but some naysayers could be identifying real problems. You have to learn to listen, be willing to change, reinvent, revise and dig deeply into your idea. Without sustained passion, everything else fades away. You don’t want to end up kicking yourself when someone else devises something similar because they persevered to that one small breakthrough that made it all worthwhile.
In the classic tale of Post-it Notes, Dr. Spence Silver at 3M unintentionally created weak glue, but he didn’t just throw it away. He wondered what it might be good for, and kept that glue around, periodically asking friends and colleagues whether it could be useful. Years later, his friend, Art Fry, imagined sticky paper for his music notations because his bookmarks kept falling out of the hymnal volumes, and Post-it Notes were born.
Putting Yourself in the Line of Fire
Researchers at the Santa Fe Institute concluded that what matters most for a city’s economic growth is attributable less to density than to how much residents come in contact with one another. You have to position yourself so you can listen to and learn from others.
It would pay to emulate how people in large cities connect by putting yourself in situations where you can mix with a variety of other people and share information and ideas. Hone your social media skills because passion alone is just not enough to be successful. Spontaneous encounters that provide social and intellectual energy are especially helpful. There’s an added benefit: being skilled at social media and learning how to be an “influencer” will also help you get faster awareness of your business ideas once they come to market. Whether you are inventing the next light bulb or trying to extend into new areas of distribution you’ll need passion, perseverance and persistence along with the opportunity to be in contact with other people. So get out there and mingle!