Follow your effort

If you were watching the Oscars last night, like I was, you may have seen a new Apple ad featuring voiceover by Martin Scorsese. I was fortunate enough to be in the audience when he gave that speech, and while it was a long speech packed with lots of great inspirational stories, the beginning of that ad features one of my favorite parts.

I’m not talking about ‘following your dream,’ either. I never like the inspirational value of that phrase. Dreaming is a way of trivializing the process, the obsession that carries you through the failure as well as the successes which could be harder to get through.

I’ve never been a big fan of the advice to follow your dreams. I prefer Mark Cuban’s advice - follow your effort.

My dream is to be a rock star, but it is just that - a dream. I put no effort into it. None!

If you’re dreaming, you’re sleeping. It’s important and imperative to always be awake to your feelings, your possibilities, your ambitions. But you also know this, for your work, for your passions, every day is a rededication.


About a week ago, Fred Wilson wrote a great story about finding your passion. While the details might be different, the story is very similar to what I hear from almost everyone I know who knows what they want to do in life. You find out what you should be doing by doing it.

A favorite preacher of mine used to say “God’s not going to take an elevator down to your bedroom and say ‘Psst, hey you!’” I think a lot of people want that, but it’s not gonna happen. Do something until you figure out what your good at, passionate about, “called” or “born” to do, or whatever you would call it. Figure it out by working on something - and then iterating and learning from your failures.