On Little Bets

This week’s book learning is final part and “bonus” learning from the ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ by Cal Newport series. (Parts 1234, 5)

The thesis from last week was that we find a mission only once we are at the cutting edge of our fields. So, how do we put that mission into action? Here’s a story..

Kirk French was an archaeologist at Penn State with a mission – to help educate people about archaeology and have fun doing so! So, when the archaeological department received a call from a random person who claimed he had unearthed the treasure from the Knights Templar in his backyard, Kirk didn’t laugh along with his other colleagues.

– Instead, Kirk decided to visit the man and actually understand where he was coming from (and had lots of fun helping the man understand the facts..!)

– A couple of similar visits later, he started taking a video camera with him and launched a documentary project called “Armchair Archaeologist” and began doing so in his spare time

– He raised some money from Penn State for his project soon after

– A few months down the line, a production group contacted Penn State for TV show ideas – Voila! Kirk sent some of his footage

– They, in turn, sent his footage to the History channel and they paid up front for 8 episodes!

That’s how the TV show – “American Treasures” was born. Kirk asked his best friend, Jason De Leon to join him as co-host and he was on his way!

While this is just an isolated story, Cal demonstrates how one success after another occurred after tons of little bets!

In summary –

Don’t follow your passion -> Apply deliberate practice, the “craftsman mindset” to what you do

-> Be so good they can’t ignore you -> Build career capital -> Exchange career capital for more control
-> You will find a mission once you are at the cutting edge of your field (think small i.e. in terms of next step)
-> Take lots of little bets to make this mission real..!

I hope you enjoyed the series as much I enjoyed it..

Here’s to taking lots of little bets this week!