Why do you do what you do? What adds juice to your life?
Someone recently asked me what drives me? When I was a child I was told by my grandfather that you should never do anything because of the money so subsequently financial reward has never been a big part of why I get up early and work late. No what drives and excites me is having the freedom to learn and to grow by working with big ideas and great people. If I’m not learning in one area then I move onto an area where I can.
The first part of this is the importance of freedom. I was heavily influenced by writers like John Stuart Mill, Isaiah Berlin and more recently Tim Ferriss. Each wrote about how we should cherish our freedom and the ability to do what we want, when we want, with whomever we want as long as we don’t harm others. I would argue that this concept of freedom, of not being constrained by others and having the space to live our lives as we sit fit, is central to living the good life (however we define it).
Learning and having the time, opportunity and resources to do so is what I primarily want to do with my own freedom. If I feel I am no longer learning and growing as a person then I change my situation. This attitude which many will find selfish is behind all of my most important decisions. I will forgo financial or other rewards as long as I am doing something that is stretching me. Some people thought I was mad to leave the music industry in the UK and travel 6000 miles to begin again in technology startups in California. The reason for that was my work in the music industry no longer challenged me and I needed to go to new places and learn new things.
The next important component for me is the opportunity to engage with big ideas. My current role as a director of an education startup allows me to work with others on the big idea of how technology can transform education and learning around the world. EdTech, e-learning or online education is one of the hottest topics and investment areas in Silicon Valley just now because the rewards for investors and humanity are potentially huge. Having the opportunity to work in this field at a critical time is incredibly exciting and I feel grateful for living at this point in history.
The final thing that makes me go above and beyond are the great people that I get to work with and help. A thread that has run throughout my life is my ability to help others achieve their goals and potential. Whether that be working with a pop artist to reach more people by playing bigger venues or an online teacher by enabling them to positively impact students from Shanghai to San Francisco, all are about helping them achieve their goals.
So what drives you in your life? Why not leave a comment below.