Aleck was a passionate man.
Born in 1847 to Scottish parents, he had a natural curiosity about the world, gathering botanical specimens and performing experiments at a young age. With no formal training, his passion for learning led him to master the piano, becoming a ventriloquist and learning manual finger language to speak to his mother who’d begun to lose her hearing when he was 12 years old.
Had Aleck not been passionate and determined to pursue his creative nature, we wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom of cell phones. Let’s all give a shout-out to Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone!
Never forget to value your passions and be determined to make your mark on this world. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.
Core Value #9: Be Passionate and Determined
Passion is the fuel that drives Zappos, and its employees, forward. We value passion, determination, perseverance, and the sense of urgency. It’s difficult to be passionate without feeling the burning need to pursue something bigger and better.
Zapponians are inspired because we believe in what we’re doing and where the company is going. We don’t take “no” or “that’ll never work” for an answer. If we had, Zappos would still be a crazy dream full of missed opportunities, not the amazing, kooky reality it is today.
Passion and determination are contagious. They’re what makes people take up causes, start movements and change the world. Besides Aleck, here are four others who top our list and take to heart Zappos’ ninth core value:
If Maria Bello hadn’t listened to her mentor while attending college, it’s likely you wouldn’t know who she is. Bello studied human rights law at Villanova University but, on a whim, took an acting class her junior year. Needless to say, she was hooked. When she told her mentor, Father Ray Jackson, that she was leaning towards a career in acting instead of law, she expressed her concerns about the validity of doing so. Would she be able to help the world as an actor? Father Ray told her “You serve best by doing the thing that you love most. Follow your bliss.” Despite Bellos’ many accomplishments on the silver screen, she’s contributed mightily to several charities and community initiatives, never losing sight of service for justice.
Aisha Tyler was determined to become a comedian. So determined in fact, that she joined a group of stand-up comics to go on a four-month national tour weeks after she’d gotten married. The low-budget hotel rooms, the less than stellar venues, and the male comedians Tyler performed with were almost enough to make her run back home. Her husband believed in her passion so much that he said to her before she left, “This is your dream. Go for it.”
Tyler emerged from that trip realizing that she could do anything she set her mind to. “What I learned in that shabby hotel room with the moldy shower curtain and the iron burns on the carpet was that I had what it took to go all the way: pure, unadulterated bullheadedness.” Since then, Tyler’s starred in several television shows, movies, and video games. Sounds like passion and determination to me!
Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, aka the $100 billion man, wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. But he’s always been an inquisitive inventor. As a kid, he created an automatic gate closer out of cement-filled tires, a solar cooker out of an umbrella, and tinfoil and baking pan alarms to keep his siblings out of his room. In 1994, Bezos announced to his wife that he wanted to start an online bookstore with millions of titles. “I'd always wanted to be an inventor, and she wanted me to follow my passion,” said Bezos. Although his boss at the investment firm where he worked tried to discourage Bezos from following his dream, he decided to take the plunge.
Now, Amazon has surpassed Apple as the most valuable business on Earth. But Earth is not where it ends for Bezos, who’s also the founder of Blue Origin, a company that aims to make space tourism affordable. “I fell in love with the idea of space and space exploration and space travel when I was 5 years old," said Bezos. "You don't choose your passions; your passions choose you.”
David Lucatch, CEO of Yappn Corp, is a technology enthusiast. And it was his ambition and drive to come up with something that enhances B2B and B2C communication. Yappn’s 67 languages and customizable set of tools enable people, brands and organizations to be social, conduct commerce and communicate freely without language barriers. "The people I have seen achieve the greatest success in their professional and personal lives are passionate people that lead, support and mentor others with that 'zeal and zest' for the work and people," Lucatch explains. “Passion fuels confidence, passion creates excitement and passion is contagious.”
What are you passionate about? Do you have a fire burning deep in your soul to create, invent or do something spectacular? Maybe we can give you some advice, point you in the right direction, or help turn that ember into a four-alarm fire! Talk to us in the comments below.