Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Monthly Archives: April 2015

Asking the Right Question

Most of us would admit to asking ourselves, at some point in our lives, questions about how to earn more money, how to become independently wealthy, how to retire at age 40 and so forth. And we get these rather smallish ideas about how we can do something to earn that money or independence, but really don’t get anywhere.

So it turns out I’ve been asking the wrong questions all this time. Justine Musk says,

Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it.  Choose a second thing and become a master of that.  When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it? So the question changes from “how can I earn X” to “what am I deeply into”. This sounds somewhat like the old adage, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” In other words, find out what you like to do, and somehow you’ll be able to monetize it. Which is awful advice – few people ever get the opportunity to see that become a reality.

Justine, however, puts a twist on that, and says it’s the intersection of two passionate interests that create the spark leading to a successful idea. So I get that too, it’s one of the reasons why we cross-train and organize interdisciplinary groups. bringing both together creates synergy.

Of course, one needn’t insist that a single person master both worlds – this could as successfully accomplished by two or more people with disparate passions who agree to jointly cooperate to achieve something neither could do (or do as well) independently.

All in all, though, it’s an idea worth considering.