FARNSWORTH'S FIRST LAW OF LIFE, LEADERSHIP, AND FISHERMEN:
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
Find a man with a passion for fishing and he will feed the entire village.
I first observed this principle in action from watching my good friend Gary Norton back in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Among his numerous talents, Gary loves to fish. Regardless of when, where, or what kind of fish or fishing - Gary is there with passion.
Gary taught me how to fish for bream in small ponds, so I could take my young children fishing and not disappoint them.
Gary showed me and a bunch of Boy Scouts how to catch sea trout and red fish under an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
He took me bass fishing where I observed how the competitive "big boy" fishermen do it with fast boats and fancy rigs.
Gary shared with me the finer points of trotline fishing in the Mississippi River for the monster catfish that live in its deep and muddy waters. You haven't lived until you've wrestled a 40-pound catfish into a very small boat on a very large river. Talk about adrenaline rush!
I took him to the high-altitude streams and lakes of Colorado, away from his native fishing habitats, thinking an entirely new kind of fishing might slow him down a bit. Not so. Within 30 minutes, he was out-fishing those who grew up in the area. He just has a nose for fish.
Due to his kind and generous nature, Gary always had a large circle of friends. If you were in that fortunate number, you could count on a steady supply of Ziploc bags filled with fresh fillets. Like an unselfish gardener who raises more than his own family can eat, Gary felt the need to share his abundance. He kept our freezer - and a lot of other freezers - stocked for years. He literally fed the entire village.
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This principle of employing a person with passion applies to building a world-class business, a championship team, or an exceptional volunteer organization. The secret is to be on the lookout for people with passion in your field and when you find them, put them to work. You can teach skills and processes but you can't teach passion. Without passion, world class is out of the question.
This principle applies to improving your existing team. You probably already have passionate people around you. Make sure they are in the right slot, and search constantly for ways to allow their passion to energize their work and your organization. Eliminate barriers to creativity and honor exceptional contributions.
This principle also applies to you personally if you're trying to create a topnotch life for yourself or a better world for us all. Do what you love and love what you do. Find your passion and nurture it, and in short order the rest will follow.
Here's a quote I love:
Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive. Howard Thurman
Whether it's fishing or photography or fighting cancer, find your passion and purpose and let that bring you to life. Then surround yourself with other passionate people and turn them loose to be their best. Remember Farnsworth's First Law of Life, Leadership and Fishing: Find a man with a passion for fishing and he will feed the entire village. You need to live this principle; your village needs it; and the world needs it.