PASSION was number one for Bill


passion1When I was talking with Bill Gates we were discussing the “Eight Success Principles” on the back of my business card. Pointing to WORK, I said, “One thing I like about Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers is the research that shows it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get good at something.” Then pointing to the top of the chart, I said, “But didn’t Malcolm miss the most important thing, the number one factor for success – PASSION – finding something you love to do?” Bill said, “Yes, I agree. If you don’t love it, you won’t spend the 10,000 hours.”

I said, “You found something you loved. There’s a quote of yours in my book 8 To Be Great where you say, ‘Paul and I never thought we would make much money. We just loved writing software.'” Bill said, “It’s true.” So take it from a man whose passion took him to the top, the number one thing is to find something you love to do. It may not be easy to find. It wasn’t for Bill. But that’s another story.


  • Passion comes first in everything, Richard!!!!

  • Richard,

    I just found your site and think it is great.

    I think you missed the point here, however. I agree with you that passion is essential for success, and I don’t think that Gladwell would disagree with you either. He mentions the fact that you need 10,000 hours of doing something to become truly great at it. Only a person who is passionate will be able to devote 10,000 hours to something.

    However, Gladwell’s point is that to truly be an outlier, you need more. Luck is involved. Gates needed all of your 8 traits, plus had to be in the right place at the right time. He would have been in the top 0.1% without luck, but with luck, was able to be in the top 0.001%

    The good news, however is that anyone is able to achieve a great level of success without being at the right place at the right time. It is true that all we need is the 8 success principles that you describe.

  • I think the underlying truth is just that while it is probably the most important ingredient for success, passion alone is not enough. Especially you need the skills (be good at) and the market (people).

    Combining those, passion will guarantee determination and the willingness to go the extra mile, and maybe even 10,000 hours 🙂

  • richard

    Myrko you’re right, passion alone is not enough. That’s why my book has 8 Traits for success, not just one.