The Billionaire who became a Teacher.

I recently presented at the world congress for Human Resources (Hrizon put on by AHRI). The starting keynote was by Steve Wozniack, the co-founder of apple computers. What an impressive guy. Not only did he single handedly design the first personal computer, he was also involved in the design of the calculator and GPS technology. You could say that he has been one of the most influential people of his generation. However there were two things about him that stood out the most.

First was his incredible passion and excitement for what he did; you could tell that the 12 year old boy was just below the surface. 

The second came when he was asked “Of all the amazing things you have done in your life what are you most proud of?”. His response was “Two things, first of all I am most proud of my personal relationships, secondly I recently trained to be a teacher and went back and taught 5th grade for 8 years. It has to be one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.”

I thought what the hell. This guy co-founded the most profitable company on the earth, he has more money than God, and the best thing he has ever done was taught 5th grade. Also he did it for 8 years it was hardly a short term whim. He went on to talk about how it was a privilege and such an important job. Also that he learnt so much from the kids.

Then I thought of my friends who are teachers, some of them would rather stick bike spokes in their eyes than go to work. Those particular friends were not excited about their job at all.

It shows what a difference your mindset makes. Steve chose to be there (wasn’t like he was lacking opportunities) he focused on the meaning in his job and attacked it with the same enthusiasm that he applied to the design of the first personal computer. In contrast my friends the disengaged teachers had the mindset of:

  • These kids are a pain.
  • I cant stand being a teacher.
  • I Just drag myself through the day.

Steve in contrast had the mindset of:

  • I choose to be here and make a difference to these kids.
  • Teaching is a privilege
  • As a teacher I have such a huge influence on these young minds.

In our research for “The Third Space” book we found the same thing. Most people came home with a mindset focused on money and tasks. “I need to earn more money and I have all these things to do”. The problem is that interactions in the home do not give them money or get tasks done. Because their mindset is the filter in which they look at the world, they saw the family interaction as getting in the way of them making more money or getting tasks done. The result, they saw the home interaction as worthless and an annoyance. In contrast when we asked them to enter the home with a mindset of “I rarely get to see my family this time is so incredibly precious, I really need to engage.” Their behaviour was far better.

Our mindset shapes our behaviour and is the lens in which we view the world, regularly check in to ensure that your mindset is helping you get the most out of each space you move into.