This week, I had the honor of speaking at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (KAUST) which is one of the top universities in the world and considered the MIT of the desert. Thank you Abdulrahman (pictured above) – and your team for taking such great care of me over the 2 days.
The audience was made up of PHD students and Professors, all graduates from the top schools in the world with many from MIT, Cal Tech, Harvard, Stanford, Cal Berkeley etc; and I was invited by the Entrepreneurship Center, a dynamic team who are focused on pushing and promoting entrepreneurship at the university.
The theme of my presentation was how going after a “goal” is like climbing a mountain.
Sometimes the climb goes easy, at times its tough, but most of the time our climb to achieve our goal is a challenge and struggle …
You will fall down and fail many times during your climb.
But when you fall down – you must reflect on why you fell, learn from your mistakes/learn from the situation, get up and continue climbing.
I pointed out how most people who fall down/fail at something get up, but just turn around and walk back down the mountain looking for another, easier mountain to climb and set another goal to go after.
“There must be an easier way to get to the top…”
I discussed with the audience how everyone wants to get to the top, but no one wants to climb anymore.
Everyone wants to become Steve Jobs, but we don’t want to have to go through the hassle of failing.
Steve Jobs failed several times before he became the genius whom we all remember.
…don’t be a victim.
Most people who fail at something or fall down on their climb waste too much time trying to justify why they fell, and push the blame onto others ….
“it wasn’t my fault…”
I discussed many of my own failures … and how I was able to overcome each failure and climb higher because I reflected on why I fell, learned from it and pushed onward …
but I am still far from the summit of the mountain I have chosen to climb.
After my speech, during the Q and A session one of the audience asked me if I could give them just one theme of advice … what would it be?
I didn’t have to think about it —- and said, “surround yourself with people who have the same values as you, and want to go where you want to go … and don’t let anyone bring you down.”
“Don’t let the losers in the world bring you down…”
During my presentation, this was a theme I had touched upon … and I had shared with them a few stories of all the losers who have bounced in and out of my life; all the jokers who have gotten in the way on my climb.
I discussed, how I had once been promoted to CEO of Asia and was being transferred to Singapore at the previous company I worked, but I had people around me telling me not to accept the new CEO position. “Asia is a dead end job…Marcus doesnt trust you…you are being sent to fail….you should earn more money…” I heard it all.
Poisoning my head … I had several friends tell me that I was being promoted to fail, blah blah blah.
I got so much negativity pumped into my mind, that the morning I was scheduled to fly to Singapore and my promotion would be announced to the company, I woke up and quit a job that I loved.
Of course, I wasn’t being promoted to CEO of Asia, and transferring to Singapore to fail.
I had been promoted because I was a top performer, made things happen, and at the time I was adding great value to the company.
And boss’ don’t fire or push out employees who are adding great value to their company.
But the mediocrity and negativity, from all the people who were jealous of me … people who I had surrounded myself at the time – brought me down.
Ironically, I got into a big fight with my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, Sophie because she told me NOT to quit and how I was making a big mistake…. but I didn’t listen to her, and quit like a big spoiled baby.
But I reflected a lot on why I fell (I reflected on my failures) … and I got back up and kept climbing.
I wonder how many great people are brought down by a negative friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, and or all the people around them who do not want to see them climb higher.
I wonder how many careers are lost or ruined?
Our world is full of mediocrity; we are all surrounded by mediocre people who are threatened by success.
The more successful you are, the more successful you become, the more threat you will be to the jokers because your success will just reconfirm their own mediocrity…
No matter what, make sure you surround yourself with honorable, positive, make it happen people who want to go where you want to go.
Don’t let any joker get in your way.
(early next week, we will post the podcast/video of my speech)…