Why you will fail to have a great career

April 14, 2014  //  By:   //  DISCUSS, Featured, OFF CAMPUS  //  No Comment
Did you notice what I just did there?  Since you are here, I definitely got your attention with that aggressive heading, didn’t I? However, this article starts with a confession:  those strong words are not mine.


Source: tedxtalks.ted.com

Why you will fail to have a great careeris the title of a TEDx talk by renowned story-teller, teacher, and youth leadership champion Larry Smith. “Youth leadership champion”, that is a title which would look good on your CV, isn’t it? If you are not familiar with TED, this is a non-profit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TEDx events  are independently run events which help share ideas in communities around the world, and this talk was done at the University of Waterloo. This talk, “Why you will fail to have a great career”, challenges the way many people make excuses instead of pursuing their passion. Being a personal favorite of mine, this 15-minute video can be used when you are facing obstacles/possibilities in your life that makes you question if you should pursue your passion. If you haven’t seen the video (do it!) it should be mentioned that Larry Smith’s way of presenting his thoughts on this subject is aggressive, humorous and definitely different. In his talk he describes the common mistakes we all could be making and by this, destroying our own chances of succeeding.  Isn’t the dream of success partly why we are students at CBS? Most of us share the goal of wanting not a good, but a great career. Despite it being scary, it should be strongly considered that you could easily be your own worst enemy when it comes to your future happiness.


So what is this guy saying?
Larry Smith proposes a number of ways in which you could hurt your future possibilities of getting not a good, but a great career. Creating excuses for ourselves is one of the most crucial mistakes we make in our everyday lives.
“It is too hard”
“I will never be good enough”
“I don’t wan’t to fail when trying”
“I will never find my passion”
“I am afraid to look silly if I don’t succeed”
“I am not smart enough”
“I am afraid to be different or weird”.
I bet that you at some point in your life have used one of these excuses when facing a challenge in your own life. Larry Smith mentions that a reason why you will fail to have a great career is all of the excuses you tell yourself. If you choose to stick with your excuses instead of focusing on discovering and exploiting your passion, you will fail in having a great career, as stated by Larry Smith. I have a theory of my own regarding this, meaning that I believe success, to a high extent, is a matter of focusInstead of focusing on internal motivation, such as passion, we  all tend to put a lot more emphasis on external motivators. By external motivators, I am thinking of  the things in our surroundings which we convince ourselves will minimize our chances of succeeding.  Focusing on demotivating aspects, such as excuses made up in your own head, will never help you in succeeding, instead you should shift your focus towards discovering what your own personal passion could be. 



Consider this strange concept, passion. What is passion? Why is it so important? Larry Smith emphasizes the fact that you can have an interest, something you find enjoyable, but this is not a passion. A passion is not just something you love, it is your greatest love. Well,  just discovering you passion is a huge challenge in itself, a discussion which I will have to save for another article, however, I strongly believe that you should keep looking for your passion if you haven’t found it yet. As Steve Jobs said so competently when being asked about passion: 

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on”.
Larry Smith ends his talk with a thought-provoking statement; despite your excuses, if you do manage to find your passion, you will still fail to have a great career. Why?

Source: Wikimedia

Finding your passion is one thing, but actually pursuing it is something else entirely. When it comes to the actual pursuit, some choose to focus on the things they feel they have to sacrifice in order to  pursue this dream. Is your passion worth it? A key element is human relationships. Some believe that in order to be truly successful, you will have to sacrifice close human relations. You cannot be a loving parent or spouse if you want to dedicate your life to your passion. But why not? When it comes to sacrifice and choosing between human relations or your passion, I agree with Larry Smith. Why choose? Is it naive of me to want it all? Doesn’t there exist truly successful people who have followed their dreams while having a loving caring family as well? Of course these people exists. So why can’t you be one of these people? Why can’t I?

If you repeatedly feed yourself with your own excuses regarding your perceived insufficiencies, these excuses will in the end become a true reflection of your life. Don’t create your life on a basis of focusing on what you can’t do. That would quite simply be too sad.

You will fail to have a successful career.

Unless you shift your focus and stop making excuses for yourself.


About the Author :

Sofie is a second-year student studying B.Sc. in International Business at CBS. When she first moved to Copenhagen she felt very lost. However, she quickly made contact with the intriguing locals and they introduced her to the exciting opportunities which the city has to offer.Bonus-fact: Sofie is from Funen and proud! “Fyn er fin!

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