This is the really fast gist of a two hour presentation Richard St. John gives to high school students (Video link here). We edited the transcript down to a handy little list:

“…the first thing is passion. Freeman Thomas says, “I’m driven by my passion.” Carol Coletta says, “I would pay someone to do what I do.” And the interesting thing is, if you do it for love, the money comes anyway.

Work! Rupert Murdoch said to me, “It’s all hard work. Nothing comes easily. But I have a lot of fun.” Alex Garden says, “To be successful put your nose down in something and get damn good at it.” There’s no magic, it’s practice, practice, practice.

Fun!..have fun working.

Focus. Norman Jewison said to me, “I think it all has to do with focusing yourself on one thing”

Push! David Gallo says, “Push yourself. Physically, mentally, you’ve gotta push, push, push.” You gotta push through shyness and self-doubt. Goldie Hawn says, “I always had self-doubts. I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think I’d make it.”

Serve!  Sherwin Nuland says, “It was a privilege to serve as a doctor.” Now a lot of kids tell me they want to be millionaires. And the first thing I say to them is, “OK, well you can’t serve yourself, you gotta serve others something of value. Because that’s the way people really get rich.”

Ideas…Bill Gates says, “I had an idea — founding the first micro-computer software company.” I’d say it was a pretty good idea. And there’s no magic to creativity in coming up with ideas, it’s just doing some very simple things.

Persist. Joe Kraus says, “Persistence is the number one reason for our success.” You gotta persist through failure. You gotta persist through C.R.A.P! Which of course means “Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.”

H-m-m-m. Here’s a question…a kind of survey-ette: Have you found that “if you do what you love, the money will come anyway”?

Let us know.


Related posts: 7 principles of comedy/design/creating anything

 being ‘a landing strip for ideas’

wylie dufresne on failure and experimentation

 the 7 vices of highly creative people

‘harness the power of being an idiot!’

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5 replies on “‘8 secrets of success’ in 3:33 minutes

  1. Is it a particularly post-modern/Western proclivity to try to reduce complex things to simple one-liners?

    I do what I love, what I have a passion for, and a dozen years into it, the money has NOT followed.

    The idea that if you just do what you love long enough money will come your way is completely ahistorical. Artists, writers, poets, inventors, explorers, musicians, thinkers and others are legion who lived and died in various states of poverty.

  2. I do agree that TED talks tend towards simplistic cheerleading at times. The ones I find most interesting deal with a fresh approach to a specific problem or process, like the Janet Echelman talk you posted a few days ago.

  3. Yeah, I hear you. Sometimes I think this idea means that there will always be “just enough”, not necessarily that “success” will come, but for sure the pleasure of doing the work with enough to get by. It’s such a rampant idea.I’d like to hear what others think. My father used to say “It is better to be lucky than smart.”

  4. i haven’t yet listened to the TED talk, though have listened to quite a few – think i get the gist of his talk –

    not sure if money always comes, but interesting to ponder what does?

    wondering about the relevance of “how we tell the story”

    wondering about the gift of “daring to go in the direction of one’s passion”

    seems like his points are in the “mix” and natural flow of the journey, but there would also seem to be a whole bunch of subtleties and nuance that would color what we see with the naked eye

  5. Thank you for your inspiring and creative ideas every day!! But please don’t include Rupert Murdoch as someone to emulate. He has achieved a great deal of power and money through means that are not moral, owns media outlets that misrepresent the truth, violate the privacy of individuals, and promote ideology for profit. He may enjoy making money this way but we don’t have to admire him for it.

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