‘Never mind passion and goals, get a system’

Scott Adams, creator of the wonderful Dilbert cartoons, talks to the Wall Street Journal about his new book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.

He says forget about passion (you’ll be plenty passionate once your business is working well) and don’t worry about goals (they can be short-sighted).  What you want is a system.

Just after college, I took my first airplane trip, destination California, in search of a job. I was seated next to a businessman who was probably in his early 60s. I suppose I looked like an odd duck with my serious demeanor, bad haircut and cheap suit, clearly out of my element. I asked what he did for a living, and he told me he was the CEO of a company that made screws. He offered me some career advice. He said that every time he got a new job, he immediately started looking for a better one. For him, job seeking was not something one did when necessary. It was a continuing process.

This makes perfect sense if you do the math. Chances are that the best job for you won’t become available at precisely the time you declare yourself ready. Your best bet, he explained, was to always be looking for a better deal. The better deal has its own schedule. I believe the way he explained it is that your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job.

This was my first exposure to the idea that one should have a system instead of a goal. The system was to continually look for better options.

Read the rest of the interview and see a video interview with Mr Adams here.