A Case Study in Success

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You may have heard of the Human Genome Project. This was the government funded effort to sequence the human genome. For nine years Craig Venter worked for the Human Genome Project in their effort to sequence the human genome. He learned some lessons along the way about success that I thought I’d share with you.

Success in any field is about taking risks

Venter grew frustrated with the pace of the government controlled project and their reluctance to experiment with new ideas. His novel “shotgun approach” to sequencing the human genome was soundly rejected by the powers that be on the project. So, taking a huge risk, he quit the project and started Celera Genomics in 1998. He invested all the money he had into Celera. Within 9 months, using his “shotgun approach”, Venter was able to sequence a human genome for the first time.

Believe in yourself and don’t let others opinions define you

Venter was consistently admonished by the powers that be on the Human Genome Project that his “shotgun approach” would not work.

Venter never wavered in his belief in his novel approach and that belief eventually would prove all the “experts” wrong, turning genome sequencing on its head.

Success comes from doing something extraordinary with passion and intensity

Venter’s passion for his unique approach to sequencing the human genome endowed him with an inordinate supply of energy, work ethic, persistence and focus.

When you pursue something you are passionate about, success traits you never knew you had, bubble up and help drive you forward in realizing your dream. Pursuing a passion, unleashes your inner success traits.

Passion attracts other passionate people

When Venter left the Human Genome Project to start Celera he soon found many apostles to his cause. Success-minded people are attracted to other success-minded people like bugs to a light. Pursue your passion and you will become a magnet for other success-minded people. Since no one succeeds on their own, the ability to find others who believe in your cause is critical to success.



  1. Diane on December 9, 2021 at 1:21 AM

    Very cool!

  2. Bryce Shriver on December 14, 2021 at 7:42 AM

    Thank you for sharing these insights.

    They are consistent with our research that shows that those who have truly successful, satisfying careers. share 7 attributes; namely, pursue their passion, know themselves, have a growth mindset, embrace opportunity, develop purposeful relationships, manage heir lifestyle and focus on what is important. Developing these attributes requires initiative. Each of these are expressed in your article – just in a bit different terms.

    These concepts are developed in a broader context in our book, “Career Aspirations: Finding True Success in Your Career” to be released on Amazon before Christmas.