Why did Steve Martin experience success? This is the main topic approached in the book: So Good They Can’t Ignore you: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work you Love, by Cal Newport.  Newport focuses on four main rules for success based on the title, which is the quote that Steve Martin gave when he was trying to make his nightclub act into something too good to be ignored. He was all of twenty years old when he came upon that concept and applied it.  The first rule Newport focuses on is: Don’t follow your passion. He says it’s way over-stated and if even Steve Jobs really followed his passion, he’d be still hanging out at some Zen Center taking a spiritual journey. Jobs ended up “falling” into his career, mainly through some of his contacts, while holding another job. Jobs was trying to make an extra buck and a computer store wanted fully assembled computers instead of just the plain mother-boards that Jobs was selling. Apple Computer was born.

Steve Martin Success2
Available at Amazon Definitely worth reading!

The second rule focuses on the quote from Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you,” from Martin’s memoir Born Standing Up. Comedy at the time was all setup and punch line, but Martin made his act more sophisticated with no punch lines. He created tension and never released it. It took him ten years, but when his style became popular, he was a monster success. Newport’s rule number three is to turn down a promotion, focusing on the power of control in your career and life. In Dan Pink’s 2009 book, Drive, Pink summarizes that more control leads to better grades, better sports, performance, better productivity and more happiness. Newport says that giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement and sense of fulfillment.

Newport’s rule number four says to Think small and act big.  This is the importance of mission. To have a mission is to have a unifying focus for your career. It provides the answer to the question, “What should I do with my life?” Missions are powerful because they focus your energy toward a useful goal, and this in turn maximizes your impact on your world–a crucial factor in loving what you do.

Subscribe to Facebook Musician Page & Monthly Newsletter! ©Deborah Johnson • Twitter: @DJWorksMusicwww.DJWorksMusic.com  Check out FREE Download of 70 page Study Guide: 40 Days to Getting Un-Stuck. So Good they Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport, (Hachette Book Group: Business Plus, Sept. 18, 2012)

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