What’s the secret to going from good to great?

Every summer I take a week off of work to spend time with my wife’s family to just relax and play. The week also gives me time to catch up on whatever it is that I haven’t fitted into my normal, yet seemingly busy, life.

This year, I had the opportunity to read the The Big Short, a book by Michael Lewis. It is well-written tale on the real estate bubble of 2008 and the ensuing financial market meltdown. The entire book is amazing — one that was tough to put down — but there was one quote in it that jumped out at me:

If you’re in a business where you can do only one thing and it doesn’t work out, it’s hard for your bosses to be mad at you.

I can easily relate to this quote because I’ve tended to have multiple roles in each one of my jobs. While some roles weren’t right, these experiences validated my initial assumption that I have a passion for technology. And it is passion that has allowed me to go from good to great.

So what are the two things that hold us back from finding our passion?

The first thing is a lack of motivation. We’re such creatures of habit that we tend to fight change. That is why it is critical to experience new things, like getting out of your comfort zone, and to test (and retest) your limits every so often. You never know when you finally understand that one programming concept or overcome that one physically impossible challenge.

The second thing is a lack of curiosity. Ignorance is bliss! We simply don’t know what we should know.

At the end, if you don’t find either motivation or curiosity you’ll need to accept the fact that reaching your full potential is no one’s fault but your own.

PS If you’re a finance geek, this book is definitely for you!

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