Peter Diamandis, founder and chairman of Singularity University, recently addressed the founders in our accelerator program. In his remarks he stressed the point of finding a problem which you are truly passionate about solving. The reasons for this are manifold – least the sheer fact that it takes time and energy (lots of it) to build a company.
The photographer Ernst Haas once summed this up in a simple question:
“Ask yourself if you would do it if nobody would ever see it, you would never be compensated for it and nobody wanted it.”
Now – We surely want to be compensated for what we are doing. And more importantly we want our work to be seen, wanted and have impact. But as a litmus test this question stands the test of time. It goes much deeper than the shallow quest for success, fame and money.
What is your passion?
If you would have asked me this question about 20 years ago, when I built my first startup, I surely would have given you a reasonable answer. But if you would have kept asking me: “No, why do you really do this” – I am confident I could not have given you a good response.
For the record: My first company did electronic greetings cards. Not exactly a “change the world”-kinda thing.
I meet so many entrepreneurs who are so excited about their idea – but when asked why they are doing it, they can’t give me a good answer.
See – the problem is that being a founder means you are in this for the long run. Building and potentially exiting a company is easily 5-10 years of your life. If you don’t know why you are really doing this; it will make this feel like an endless slug instead of a crazy, wild joyride.
And why would you want to do this? Thus – ask yourself: Why are you doing this really?
I get asked this very same question about The Heretic regularly. Here’s my answer: I write The Heretic because I love it. It is a way for me to reflect, to give back and to connect with insanely amazing people. I do this, because I love it. Which us also the reason why this is post number 772!
What is your passion? How did you find it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!