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Adam Carolla Lecture Paper

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One of the basic tenets of life is that greater opportunities will appear to individuals that actively pursue and know how to recognize them. Since the majority of us do not have the luxury of being born into wealth or power, the choices that we make ultimately shape our successes in life. Adam Carolla begins by using examples to highlight the concepts of consistency and residual income. He explains that it is easier and more useful to understand how to sell something and continue selling it again and again as opposed to figuring out how to simply make a large amount of money. As a student that had performed poorly in high school, he worked a variety of jobs including carpet cleaner and boxing trainer before entering the media industry. Lacking a career support system, Carolla explains that it took him a long time to discover his path. The significance that he takes away from this lesson is the importance of “shooting for the stars” and finding a job that you can enjoy doing as a (pure) living. Many individuals feel they do not have the time or ability to pursue their desired career. Although there is more semblance of stability to playing it safe, consequently, they become relegated into jobs that they lack passion for, thereby stifling opportunity. Adam contrasts the two career paths by stating the idea that optimal job satisfaction comes from the process of “doing what you would like to and getting paid for it.”

He elaborates that while enjoying the work that you do, more opportunities will present themselves along the way. Citing the cancellation of his morning radio show in 2009, Carolla states that there is no straight path towards success and the ability to overcome the various obstacles in life will determine whether or not they become a steps-back or opportunities for moving forward. Motivation is another key component of pursuing opportunities. Both positive and negative reinforcement can be utilized towards driving an individual towards achieving a goal. Positive reinforcement includes things such as job satisfaction, job security, and prestige. Conversely, Adam Carolla cites an example of negative reinforcement being used as a form of motivation. He refers to his time working as a carpet cleaner out of high school and the “pain” he felt from working a horrible job with people he did not like. Carolla explains that by being miserable at a bad job, he learned he did not want to continue working at a career that he did not enjoy. Using “pain” as a motivating factor, this realization forced Adam to forge a better career path for himself.

Another important aspect of creating opportunities revolves around the concept of doing a job well regardless of whether you enjoy it or not. In reality, the dream job is not typically the first job, the second job, or even the third. However, this does not count as an excuse for not performing to the highest capacity at any level of work. Adam expands, saying that it is crucial to “get in the habit of doing things well” and not judge a job because you it feel it might be below you. Doing a job properly and to the fullest ability demonstrates attention to the detail and is a key indicator of overall job performance to employers.

Experience and knowledge are also key elements that an individual can use to take advantage of opportunities. In order to obtain chance for advancement, it is imperative to commit the time to understand all the aspects of a job and acquire the knowledge necessary for when the opportunity does come. In the lecture, Carolla speaks about the work ethic of Jimmy Kimmel and his willingness to learn on the job. By working on the Christmas albums for “Kevin and Bean”, Kimmel was able to how to produce, edit, create, write, and manage talent. Adam stresses that in order to truly succeed, a person should not focus on “what’s it in for me?” but instead on the invaluable experience that “transcends compensation.”

Risk is a choice that we as individuals make in order to pursue a goal. In order to reach other greater prospects, it is necessary for us take a chances and make certain sacrifices based off of uncertainty. These sacrifices include things such as time, wages, and recognition. This does not mean gambling and hoping for luck to occur, but rather making a calculated decision to approach the inevitable ambiguity with the skills and motivation necessary to achieve greater heights. Adam elaborates that because “you can’t [always] know where you’re going,” being a good, hard worker will allow the person to reach their full potential when the opportunity arises. Although other people may attribute positive results to good luck, by establishing a solid foundation for taking advantage of these opportunities, you are fundamentally creating your own luck. In this respect, a lucky individual is one that has taken more chances than the average person.

Adam’s philosophy toward pursuing a career mirrors many of the ideals and beliefs that I hold as well. All the concepts discussed about creating opportunity are invaluable tools that when combined, lay the path for moving forward. In order to reach your full potential in life, it is vital to not rush into decisions, know what motivates you, enjoy what you do, and to do it well. As stated earlier, there is no straight path towards success but it is possible to possess the tools and knowledge to overcome those obstacles and open up unknown possibilities.

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