In the book Known, Mark Schaefer shares one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves. He tells the story of Dropbox founder Drew Houston who compared the pursuit of this question to a dog chasing a tennis ball. “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” The key is to “Find Your tennis ball – the thing that pulls you”
This is a brilliant way to simplify your life’s goal. It’s not just about finding your passion. You can be passionate about something but it won’t drive you to answers.
It’s this drive that leads to success. The pursuit to solve an important problem creates lasting inspiration. It creates purpose. And there’s no bigger motivator than Purpose.
Professionally, I’ve been on a journey to solve the baseball problem throughout the last decade. Many people would argue that baseball doesn’t have an important problem worth solving. I strongly disagree as from the start of my career in baseball, I noticed that fewer and fewer people were coming out to baseball games. The lowest attended games were the playoff games. These were the games that mattered the most!
What I learned is that most people didn’t care about the actual game of baseball. Most owners won’t say it…but baseball has become long, slow and boring.
As peoples attention span becomes shorter and shorter, baseball has continued to get longer and longer.
So I realized early on that the big problem I was trying to solve is how can I make baseball fun.
This has been my tennis ball. Every day it’s pulling me to make the baseball game experience better and more entertaining. How can I constantly create new baseball fans by making it a show and not about the game.
The pursuit to solve this big problem is what drives me.
I realized I was obsessed with figuring out this problem. What problem are you constantly thinking about?
I believe you don’t need just one problem to solve in your lifetime. It can change but it has to be something that’s not an easy fix.
It had to provide meaning to you. It has to give you purpose.
Personally, I’ve now become so curious as to why more people aren’t creating their own path in life. Why people are stuck working the 9-5 and living someone else’s dream. Why so many people don’t have a job that they love. With the amount of hours we work in our life, I believe this is serious problem. This is why I developed “Find Your Yellow Tux.”
My tennis ball now is this constant pursuit to help people be successful by standing out in business and in life.
By thinking differently I believe everyone can improve their life and find purpose.
So what’s your big problem? And why does it matter to you?