Idea's space

This blog is dedicaded to share ideas about personal and professional development.

Archive for December 2012

When passion comes to you

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Steve Jobs - 2

Steve Jobs, an entrepreneur moved by passion

Time to time, I am used to attend small entrepreneur sessions organized by a partner in her nice small business center, in a nice village in the south of my country. During the last months of the year, some students of a communication school are participating to a training organized by one of their professor. These students are part of small groups spending a whole week to follow the news during 24 hours a day, and building also a personal project. These students are living a unique experience, and few days ago, I saw a comment from one of them on Twitter. She was saying that the useful thing during this week was to discover a real passion. I found these words wonderful, because we don’t read or hear this very often, few people are talking like that.

Passion is something essential in our life. It is an intense feeling we have when we do something, or when we see something. By mentioning that, we notice we don’t hear often people expressing passion. We could wonder what makes that you are passionate by something. Is passion something you have or is it something you have to discover? I remember Steve jobs saying that it was senseless to ask people what they want, when you want to concept a new product, because they have no idea about what they want. I would say that it is a bit the same with passion. You don’t know what you are passionate by, if you don’t look for passion.

How can you find passion? Education plays an important role in the look for passion. Education contributes to open minds, to acquire capacities and knowledge you will use during your life. The more you can learn, the more you will have chance to get opportunities, you will conquer your freedom. But education doesn’t consist only to acquire knowledge and capacities, but also to develop a critical mind, making that you will be able to develop your own system of values, to make your own choices, to take your own decisions. Such process implies that you will be questioning yourself about what you are facing everyday, what you want to do. By looking closely, your life is a range of decision and actions, and by questioning yourself about what you want to do in your life, you will make the choice to take decisions.

The decision process is moved by the whish to do something, but also because an opportunity comes to you, making the right time to try a new experience, to discover something new. This decision is moved by curiosity, and curiosity is essential to expand the fields of your possibilities, of your interests. This is important to see opportunities, to wonder each time what you can to with this. When the decision to act is taken, you start a new experience, bringing you satisfaction or disappointment, but also opportunities to learn, to discover new things you ignore until now. This experience put also a new light about ideas you had about things, and can break your wrong believes. For instance, you participate to a computer training program, and you notice that you have good capacities and intuitions to use the computer and perform tasks with it. The discovery of your capacities brings you a motivation to move your limits forward. Each further step you are doing brings you more and more satisfactions. Satisfaction increases your motivation, and your motivation becomes a real passion.

Passion is not something coming to you but the opportunities leading to a potential passion that can come to you. The facto to will see these opportunities and to take them is just a question of mind. See the fact to try something new, not as a risk but as a chance, the chance to go to new opportunities, and to meet passion. Passion creates a virtuous circle, when passion convinces yourself and convinces the others. You convince the others because you succeed to communicate your passion, you showed the best of yourself, and they see you as an opportunity. Opportunities call opportunities, and can lead you to discover new passions. So, try to discover passion, passion will come to you.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 10, 2012 at 21:57

Think big, think wide, think wisely

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Richard Branson, an entrepreneur and humanist mind.

Richard Branson, an entrepreneur and humanist mind.

In a previous post, I was talking about the importance of education in the process of an enterprising mind development. Recently, I was reading an article in the Datanews magazine, about Sebastien de Halleux, a successful Belgian entrepreneur. In this article, few mentioned points are the evidence that education and entrepreneurial attitude are the key of a successful life. By success, we should not think only about financial success, but about personal success, when you give to yourself the possibility to move forward.

Sebastien de Halleux, is a 35 years old serial entrepreneur, who founded “Playfish”, an online game software company. In the interview, he mentioned that one regret he had is to have not move earlier to the United States to develop his business, and said that if you want to develop a business, you have to locate it in the country where it make more sense, and United States remain the best place for the online games or social media business. Despite the location, Sebastien mentions something I pay attention to. As Belgian like me, he mentions that you can’t find the international top people in Brussels, capital of Belgium, capital of Europe. We have to mention that Belgium is facing economical crisis like many other European countries, but some statistics show that the entrepreneurship rate is lower of 30% than the average level in Europe. Such statement does not appear positive about the mid-term economical development. Could Belgium not have a stronger economy, should not it be possible to become a country with successful companies like in the Silicon Valley? Is it because Belgium is a small country?

In his comment, Sebastien de Halleux talks about “international”, says that you have to think big. Today, the world is a village thanks to new technologies and the globalization of the economy. In order to be a successful player in this world, education is essential to build a successful life. This is the reason why the government has to ensure the development of an efficient education system. It has to be an ongoing process of investment. It requires important financial resources, but the mid and long-term returns are priceless for the society but also for each individual who will have the possibility to build his own way, his own life, with positive impact on his personal wellness. Each people have to be encouraged to make studies he likes, not only for economical purpose, but also to open his mind. We see these last years students who have to choose to make other studies, because some quotas in the field they choose were reached. This is in my mind totally senseless. If you ask around you, you will meet a lot of people doing a job without direct links to the studies they did. But it doesn’t mean that the studies they did are useless. Studies are useful first to develop the process and the wish to learn. We are learning everyday. For those who remember the Steve Jobs speech at the Standford University, they remember him saying that you never know in advance what you will do and if what you learn will be useful. Some students will probably do a job that does not yet exist, but the most important is to connect the “dots”, to use what you learn to create something. In Apple company, a lot of Steve Jobs collaborators were not IT guys, but biologists, physicians, but they were really passionated by the Apple story. By mentioning this, I mean that “international” means “to think high, to think wide, big, to think wisely”.

I mentioned previously the lack of entrepreneurs in Belgium and the statement that some Belgian entrepreneurs move to other countries to build projects. Even If some initiatives are done to promote entrepreneurship, people are not so enthusiastic to start as entrepreneur. The difficult economical environment make that people are not entitled to build their own activity, but there is also a negative image given to successful entrepreneurs who are guilty to become rich, which is not well accepted when other people are losing their job and when they are facing difficulties to have a decent life. In my mind, such debate is totally senseless and to put entrepreneurs in guilty is not a solution. In our society, work has to be considered as a value, a value that has to be respected. It is senseless to criticize entrepreneurs who succeed and who earns money. The development of the economy contributes to create wealth and jobs, with consequences to increase the level of tax and social contributions. These taxes and social contributions are necessary to finance schools and universities, contributing to the education and to the fundamental research. To criticize entrepreneurship has a negative impact on the economy and the society and make us dependent of multinational groups that can relocate their activity in other countries. It is important to develop a network of local businesses, working with other international companies. But it means that each of us has a responsibility. Entrepreneurs need to have a long-term vision and to play a social role. By developing a business, you create jobs and by creating jobs, you develop a market. You can only develop a sustainable business if people have the possibility to buy your product and services. Such statement is not “rocket” science. To develop a business, you need competences, know-how, and here is the key role of education. Entrepreneurs need to keep in mind that the taxes they will pay will contribute to maintain and develop a high quality education system, contributing to educate people and to create know-how and intelligence, needed to run our society, in large domains like business, education, culture, etc. But it means also that the politic has also a high responsibility, the responsibility to use received taxes to develop an efficient education and social system.

Some entrepreneurs have and show social responsibilities and it is the case of Sebastien de Halleux who is investing money in NGO, acting in education for students of the emergent countries, and work based on computer for people living in countries where workless level is high. Social responsibility means a education to what is money. You can not block somebody who wants to create a business, and who is generating cash because he had a good idea. World is moving because people had ideas, developed them, and built business with these ideas. Entrepreneurs are not only motivated by money but by creating something new, by the wish to change the world. But they have not to forget that you can only wear a tie on a time, and that if they earn a lot of money, their can make work people in decent conditions, but also contribute to finance social projects, like Richard Branson did with his foundation, Virgine Unite. This is a positive way to change the world. Albert Einstein said “Don’t be a man of success, be a man of value”. So, think big, think high, think wisely.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 3, 2012 at 20:49