I posted this pic of my boy Ed and I reading the magazines at the airport we were both featured in. I love the story this picture says about us both. Ed is so the scientist in Dwell, and I’m the business guy who’s Forbes. We are so different but together we are better.
For 23 years now we have worked together. Do you know how rare that is today?! I couldn’t respect him more and I’d like to think he feels the same about me. We share similar values even passions but we are wired very differently (one of us is Gandi’ish and um let’s just say one of us not so much!) But it works and works well for one reason. Ed does what he’s good at and I try to do the same.
I’m involved a lot either formally or informally mentoring high school and college age kids. I give them a lot of advice but one piece of advice I give them more than any other is to work hard to find and develop their unique strengths. That advice is counter to what most of them have been told and indeed been doing most of their lives. What a travesty!
You bring home 5 A’s and one C it’s not to hard to guess where society tells your parents they need to get you to focus your efforts on. I know because my report card was consistently straight C’s with a D (math) and an A (gym) rounding things out. Needless to say I had a Math tutor all through school. Today I have a calculator and a CFO. Hmmm…
My advice to kids is always work to do your best at whatever you do. Sometimes your best results in an A other times a C. Ultimately however you succeed most when you focus your efforts on what your good at rather than what your not. Agreed? Nobody told me that though than and they still aren’t telling kids that now. Trust me when I say no teacher ever said my love of turtles will land me in Forbes!
Today I look at Ed living his dream by helping me live mine. I tried (very briefly) to get him to be like me. Thank God I failed because he’s become truly a one of a kind person and tops in the world in his field. Doesn’t everyone deserve the same? If he wouldn’t have stuck to his guns in his oh so Gandi’ish way he wouldn’t be were in Dwell today. Aquascape as well probably wouldn’t have made Forbes if I focused on getting A’s in math class. Ugh!
The moral of the story? As Marcus Buckingham pionered in his book “Now Develop Your Strengths” you get further in life by focusing on developing your strengths than fixing your weakness. 87% of Americans surveyed though felt it was the reverse! Is it any wonder our world is filled with so many people spending their lives less than fulfilled doing what they do?! The madness needs to stop and it starts by doing what you’re good at not by trying to become what your not!
Ed’s the best and he makes me better doing what he does everyday. Everyday I work to get better myself. Thank god for calculators!