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Stay Hungry for Success

Author: Michael Sansolo

The Independent View

Michael Sansolo

Stay Hungry for Success  

 January 7, 2013 


For a second, let's imagine that you are one of the best ever. Imagine you are famous for your skill as an IGA retailer, wholesaler or Red Oval partner. Now ask yourself if you would relax or press on? It's not an easy question.

Luckily we get a wonderful example from a man famous for creating a television show that famously promised no lessons. Jerry Seinfeld's life offers lessons that demand your consideration.

It's possible that you have never heard of Seinfeld, but it's really unlikely. For most of the 1990s, Seinfeld's self-named show was the pinnacle of American television. Phrases from the show instantly became part of the nation's language. The show's ratings remained staggeringly high right through the final episode and it still runs constantly on re-runs.

Needless to say, the show made Seinfeld very rich. Very, very rich!

So it would be easy to imagine Seinfeld kicking back to enjoy life. But Seinfeld, as was revealed by a recent profile in The New York Times, is not relaxing at all. He's as hungry as ever.

Seinfeld is a working comedian, which means he spends significant time developing jokes, a task that can take an amazingly long time. (Joke writing is a hugely difficult skill. As one actor once said, "dying is easy. Comedy is hard.") Seinfeld averages more than one comedy show a week to keep his skills sharp. Frequently he does them unannounced to make sure the audience is unbiased.

In many ways Jerry Seinfeld is like Apple, Toyota, Coca-Cola and other great companies. He's a giant who keeps running like a start up, always trying to get better.

It's worth thinking about all you can learn from the man who created the show about nothing. Glory is always fleeting. Staying on top is hard work.


Michael Sansolo