The art of being self-made and how to find out what you’re really passionate about

April 21, 2010          Comments (2)


I’m always in search of litmus tests for varying aspects of life. For example, if you want to know what someone really cares about read this. Well, here’s my latest…

If you want to know what someone is really passionate about, ask them who they’d have lunch with if it could be anyone in the world besides their family or friends.

Growing up I dreamed of playing in the NBA. I honestly believed I was going to make it…until, I was in 8th grade or so.

I dedicated my life to it. I attended basketball camp all summer long from 8am to 4pm. I’d get home; quickly grab a snack and then train intensely on my own all afternoon into the evening. Ever hear of Jump Soles? Well, you’d find me running on the street, and in my driveway doing drills with them on.

By summers end (of my last devoted summer), my goal was to be able to dunk. Unfortunately for me: White Man Can’t Jump. (Although, I was easily able to touch the rim which was a huge accomplishment for me!)

(I still played JV/Varsity basketball but it was never the same once I realized I wasn’t good enough to make the NBA) I also remember watching sports all the time. Who could ever forget the good old Sundays of the NBA on NBC back when Jordan was playing?

Or, if I was watching college basketball 60 minutes would come on once the games were over. Ugh, 60 minutes? I’d turn it off and go finish (actually start) my homework that was due on Monday.

About 4 years ago, I realized 60 minutes was one of my favorite shows. It’s absolutely fascinating. Every story is interesting. No, this isn’t a promotion for 60 minutes but it’s certainly proof that our tastes evolve.

So back to my litmus test: When I was growing up, if you asked me who I’d have lunch with I would’ve said Michael Jordan in less than a heart beat. Sadly, I had many dreams of playing basketball with him in my driveway. The best dreams of him, though, were when he’d be in my kitchen having lunch and I’d have time to call my friends and invite them over. Those were some disappointing mornings, let me tell you.

Anyway, if you asked me who I’d have lunch with now it would absolutely be a self-made entrepreneur. There are not many more impressive things to me than someone who starts out with a little and ends with a lot. (A lot doesn’t have to be money, by the way. It could be power although often linked to money but influence, access, free time and impact to name a few.)

While my goal isn’t to become a billionaire like Mark Cuban, I’m still fascinated by him and many others.

There’s something to be said about creating your own way in this world. There’s something to be said about those who are completely self-made from scratch. People who work for what they have, instead of having things handed to them, are just so much more interesting. You can’t buy that perspective and depth it gives you. You can’t fake it nor can you successfully mask it.

While entrepreneurship makes me tick, it probably doesn’t make you tick. I’ve argued before against being an entrepreneur unless you’re practically possessed by your idea because you believe in it so much.

And I’d argue that if you’re dying to find out what your passion is or what you’re truly interested in – ask yourself, “Who would I have lunch with if it could be anyone in the world besides my family or friends?”

I think it’s a very telling question.


If you think you have too many passions, you might enjoy this post.

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  1. Adam – Fantastic post! I came across your blog via Brazen Careerist and just wanted to let you know that your posts are the only ones I read regularly. I love the way you weave your interesting personal stories with such insightful advice.

    Just wanted to stop by and let you know to keep up the great work!


    Comment by Craig — April 22, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  2. Thanks, Craig. I appreciate the kind words!

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — April 23, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

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