Dilbert creator Scott Adams says success is not about pursuing passions or achieving goals (The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/13). Success, he writes in his new book, is about learning from failure. "For most people, it’s easy to be passionate about things that are working out, and that distorts our impression of the importance of passion." He bases this observation on his own experience with Dilbert, which started out as "just one of many get-rich schemes." His passion for the venture grew with its success. "Success caused passion more than passion caused success," he writes.
Goals, he continues, "are for losers … If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction." Instead of a goal, says Scott, you should have "a system." He gives the example of a friend of his who found a field that "allows him to sell a service that almost always auto-renews. In other words, he can sell his service once and enjoy ongoing commissions until the customer dies or goes out of business." Another example would be to "concoct something widely desired that would be easy to reproduce."
The challenge is that creating such a system is not easy, and pretty much guarantees "a string of failures … The most useful thing you can do is stay in the game," Scott writes. "If your current get-rich project fails, take what you learned and try something else, Keep repeating until something lucky happens. The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it’s your turn. It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall," as a way "to become smarter, more talented, better networked, healthier and more energized."