Fail Your Way to Success

Most of the readers of this blog share a common goal: To utilize their engineering mind and their creative mind to produce something awesome for the world. And hopefully get paid for it. Of course, the world isn’t necessarily beating a path to your door just because you want them to.  To carve your own path you will have to get out there and try different things.  But where to start? What if you choose the wrong path? What about all that wasted time, which you don’t have? But, but, but….

This is where Scott’s philosophy is really powerful. He believes that you should have a system, rather than a goal, in order to reach your destination. From there, you try different things until skill and luck coincide. Every failure you have is an opportunity to learn something new, to find a new contact, to get introduced to another project, etc. So each failure is really building up to that final success(s).

So how does this look in the real world? Let’s use Scott’s story. He gets an engineering degree and starts working as an engineer. He is good at it, but really wants to do something unrelated to the cube farm. He has always enjoyed drawing cartoons, but is actually pretty terrible at it. He didn’t one day say “I want to be a rich, famous cartoonist!” because that would be absurd. Instead, his thought process was more along the lines of “I would like to not be in this cube farm anymore” and starts to put a system in place (he uses the goal of “Lose Weight” versus the system of “Eat Healthier” to show what he means by goal versus system. It is a little confusing). His system is straight forward: Try different things until something sticks, learning from each failure. He invents products, writes books, starts up businesses, and starts drawings a little thing called “Dilbert”.  He leverages all that he learned during all of the failed ventures to help push Dilbert toward success. If Dilbert had not happened some other success would have come his way because he was ready to capitalize when luck ventured his way.

Anyway, the book is worth the quick read that it is. Have any of you found success using this method?

Engineering Fields With The Most Potential For Innovative Development

I recently received the following email (edited for clarity):

Recently I came across your blog and I found it quite constructive. I would like your opinion about which engineering disciplines  you perceive to be most linked with future technologies. I mean, which specialization seems to exhibit the most potential for innovation in the future. I am considering studying either naval architecture or  marine engineering. Although these fields covers a lot of engineering modules,  I just don’t think that there is no enough space for innovation in (comparing to automotive or aerospace). What do you think?

Here was my response:

I’m glad you have my website useful. Thanks for the feedback. At the moment, I would think that automotive has the most potential for break through innovation. The industry is at the crossroads of better communication (smartphone interfacing, city wide wifi, touch screen everything), better gas mileage (which WILL require some major innovation in weight savings as well as battery improvements), and consumer safety (crash avoidance). And look at what they are doing with self-driving automobiles. Here in Michigan, we are testing self driving fleets on the highway with remarkable success. Then again, automotive is a consumer product so we know what is happening their. Major innovations in the marine and aerospace are likely to occur in government (military) applications, so they will be classified and not visible to the public. But, hey, look at SpaceX. Private shuttles in space. Who knows where that will take the industry?

Do What You Are

Interesting article going against the perennial career advice of “doing what you love”. Instead, the author suggests that you “do what you are”.

The pressure we feel to find a perfect career is insane. And, given that people are trying to find it before they are thirty, in order to avoid both a quarterlife crisis and a biological-clock crisis, the pressure is enough to push people over the edge. Which is why one of the highest risk times for depression in life is in one’s early twenties when people realize how totally impossible it is to simply “do what you love.”

This idea is in line with the main thread of this blog: only chasing what you love can have you end up doing that which you hate. I have often heard it said that the secret to a great career is to develop a love for something that other people can’t or won’t do. If you have a passion for picking up trash, then you can make a great living dominating the trash collection industry. Why? Because most people DON’T have a passion for it. Having a passion for something is 9/10 of the battle. The rest comes down to competitive edge. If, instead, your passion is shared with millions of other people (like acting or art) then you have a much harder road ahead of you. So, my advice is NOT to drop your dreams. That would be silly. Instead, find an angle to your dreams that involves looking at what you really ARE. Love singing/songwriting but have found it difficult to break on to the scene? Have skills when it comes to managing people and using production software? Why not go the production side of things to get started. Then, produce videos of you singing your songs. Not in the hopes that you will be the next Bieber. But so that Bieber picks up your songs and records it. You still get in to the industry, have influence, make money, etc. Play up what you are, not what you love.

So how does this apply to engineering? I can state, without question, that most engineers use the profession as a means-to-an-end. We all come to it for different reasons, but I highly doubt anyone truly LOVES engineering. You may love design, product invention, problem solving. But you get paid to manage projects, remove roadblocks, and trouble shoot processes. The result is the same: Great design goes out the door. But by acknowledging what you ARE you actually get the chance to play the game.

Powered by WordPress | Download Free WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Premium Free WordPress Themes and Free Premium WordPress Themes