A Successful Life

“Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

– Albert Schweitzer

Yes, you will! 

If you don't believe me just consider the life of Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records (in 1947) who passed away this week.

As I read Ahmet's obituary in the New York Times, I was struck by this anecdote:

In 1944, the year his father (the dean of the diplomatic corps in Washington, D.C.) died, Ahmet was 21 years old and taking graduate courses in medieval philosophy.  As he told the graduates of Berklee College of Music in 1991:

“In between courses I spent hours in a rhythm & blues record shop in the black ghetto in Washington.  Almost every night, I went to the Howard Theater and to various jazz and blues clubs.  I had to decide whether I would go into a scholastic life or go back to Turkey in the diplomatic service, or do something else.  What I really loved was music, jazz, blues, and hanging out.”

And that's what he did.  He did what he loved to do.  And his 83-years on this earth are a testament to that.

If we love what we do, we will acquire whatever skills it takes for us to be successful.  I have seen so many people during my lifetime who were talented and skilled at what they did – but they weren't doing something that they really loved – the passion just wasn't there for them.  And… they never achieved success until that found their passion.

We can thank Ahmet Ertegun for following his love, engaging his passions and becoming extremely successful – by helping so many musicians to find success.  He resisted the desires of others to make him follow a different career path – theirs.  If he had not followed his love, it would have been much harder for Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and John Coltrane to find a broader audience.

Find what you absolutely love to do.  Then it will not matter how hard you have to work while doing it.  You will be happy.  You will be successful!


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