What Is Your 1 + 1 = 3?

Are you chasing passion or a paycheck?

As Bruce Springsteen paid tribute to his long-time bandmate Clearance Clemons in 2011, he explained how his relationship with his group was essentially a math equation. Mundane life equates to 1 (get up) + 1 (go to work) = 2 (come home). 

But, Springsteen insisted, “Artists, musicians, con men, poets, mystics and such are paid to turn that math on its head, to rub two sticks together and bring forth fire. Everybody performs this alchemy somewhere in their life, but it’s hard to hold on to and easy to forget.”

Then, he famously added, “When the world is at its best, when we are at our best, when life feels fullest, 1 and 1 = 3.”  

What is your 1 + 1 = 3? 

Clayton M. Christiansen American academic and business consultant developed the theory of "disruptive innovation," first introduced in his transcendent 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma.

He later wrote an article titled, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” It urged us to explore three fundamental questions. How can we be happy with our careers?  How can we be sure our relationships can be an enduring source of joy? How can I live my life with integrity? Essentially, he wants us all to find our 1 + 1 = 3.

Just focusing on one career, we know money is never the greatest consistent motivator or the solution to anyone’s long term happiness. Rather, being part of a winning team in an environment that allows growth, creativity, and recognition for your work are the ones where 1 + 1 really = 3.   

When we follow our passion, our true calling and don’t simply chase money, we find our inner happiness. And when we use Springsteen’s math equation, the joy we bring to our work makes us stand out. Only then are we at our best and making our most significant contributions in life.


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