The passion to be strikingly different: Ronald Hickland at TEDxPurdueU 2014

The passion to be strikingly different: Ronald Hickland at TEDxPurdueU 2014


Translator: Xixi Chen
Reviewer: Denise RQ Hi! I have an amazing job, shared by only 4 people
in the entire world, I design bowling balls. There is one real reason
why I am so happy and excited to have the job that I have. It’s because I found my passion. Today what I’m going to do,
is I’m going to talk to you a little bit about my passion,
a little bit about my story, and give you some tips to be able
to find your passion as well. It all started with my father,
who is a big time bowler. I would travel around the country
with him, and at one event, at one tournament that he was at, I was actually able to meet
a bowling ball designer. And I inquired
with that bowling ball designer: “How hard can it be to design
a bowling ball? It’s round. (Laughter) He said: “It really depends
on what you really want to do.” There’s two parts of the bowling ball, there’s actually the outside
of the bowling ball, –It’s called the cover stock–. If you want to design the cover stock,
you need a degree in Chemical Engineering. I was like, “Wow!” (Laughter) If you want to design the inside piece,
that’s called the core. That requires a degree
in Mechanical Engineering. You are also going to have
to do some things to be able to get into the industry,
because it is very small. You’ll need some pro-shop experience, that’s the place that you go to where they actually put
the holes in the bowling ball. Additionally, you are going
to need to take some time and keep in contact with as many people
as you can within this industry because it’s just a small
and niche field, right? So I left the tournament and went home,
and thought: “Hmm…You know what? I think that’s what I want to do,
I want to design bowling balls.” So, I said, “Well, I guess I’d better
get me a job in this pro-shop, and figure out how to drill
bowling balls,” and I did that. Then I said: “I think I’d better start
making some phone calls to people in the industry,”
and I did that. And then came the big decision,
what school am I going to go to? I needed two things for the school, I needed a top-ranked,
high powered engineering program. I also needed a good bowling team, So, of course, I chose Purdue University. Boiler[makers] up! (Cheers)
(Applause) While I was at Purdue,
I had to make another decision. Was I going to go
the Chemical Engineering route, or the Mechanical Engineering route? After one, and I repeat, one, long, hard, excruciatingly
stressful Chemistry class, I said, I’m designing the core. (Laughter) So, I also needed some experience. For two of my Spring breaks, I worked
for free for bowling ball manufacturers. Ultimately, I was able to bowl
for the Purdue bowling team, as captain, and, when it came time to graduate,
because of the experiences that I had, I was able to get a job
working for the world’s largest bowling ball supplier,
Ebonite International. Within six months of being hired,
I was designing all of the core shapes for Ebonite the brand. Today, I design core shapes
for four different brands, that make up roughly 60%
of the world supply of bowling balls. Now that you guys have
a little bit about my story, let’s talk about the core shape. This is the core of a bowling ball. The core is the steering mechanism
in the bowling ball It’s kind what makes it hook,
makes it curve, you’ve seen that before on TV, right? Likewise, the core
is also inside of a person. See, it’s called their passion. And in bowling,
there’re two types of cores. There’s a round core shape, and there’s what’s called
the asymmetrical core shape. The round core shape
is a very common shape. In fact, when you go bowling
at the bowling center, that’s the core
that’s in your bowling ball. This bowling ball goes straight,
it doesn’t offer much performance, and ultimately, a lot of times,
it ends up in the gutter. Now you understand why, because the core that you have
inside your bowling ball, isn’t meant to do anything. People that are not passionate,
or haven’t found their passion, are a lot like
the round-core bowling ball. Because in a similar fashion,
unfortunately, they haven’t figured out
the way to be able to take maybe what they have thought
as their passion, [and] turn it into a career. Or, maybe they don’t even know
what their passion is. And a lot of times, they too,
could end up in the gutter. Because they don’t fully realize
the potential that they actually have, if they were able to find their passion. But that’s okay, because there is a place
for the round-core in bowling. The round-core in bowling
is used to shoot spares. Spares are the pins that are left
after you’ve made a first bowl attempt but were unable
to knock down all of the pins. Now, that’s not really
what you want to be like. You want to be like
the asymmetrical core shape. The asymmetrical core is high-powered,
it’s big-hooking, it’s great performing, it looks kind of different. In fact, this one is made
with some unique materials like carbon fiber
for durability and strength. The asymmetrical core shape
is very symbolic of people that have found their passion. Because they are not afraid to do
things other people are scared to do, like talk in front of a bunch
of strangers for 10 minutes. (Laughter) They are also very driven
to do things that are different. Like say: “Hey, you know what? I think I want to design
bowling balls when I grow up.” The asymmetric core shape
is also replicative of the person who has found their passion. Because when the asymmetric core shape
goes down the lane, it actually comes back to the pocket. You throw it away from the pins,
then it comes right back to the pockets of the pins, right? People that have found their passion,
once you figure out what it is, It pulls you into it, it draws you into it
and it becomes a part of you. So that’s all and good, and you know,
there are some benefits to being able to find
and follow your passion. For me, one of the greatest benefits
I’ve been able to find so far is that I don’t have
to work a day of my life. Well, how is that possible, right?
Here is the deal. When you find your passion
and you can follow it, one thing that’s happening is
that you don’t go to work, you go to play. When I get up in the morning
and I head to the office, it’s going to be
another fun day in paradise. The CEO of Ebonite once said to me. “Ron, when your work becomes work,
it’s time to find new work.” what that means is that if you
are not doing something you love, then stop doing it. Find something that you love,
and start doing that. When you do that, you’ll become
very successful in what you do. One of the best things that I enjoy
from my job on a daily basis, is being able to help other people. And as a result of being able
to design bowling balls, and interact with people, you find
that you get additional gratification from things you get to experience. As an example, just two weeks ago, I was bowling in the
Tennessee State Singles Championships alongside with my father. I was able to watch him
bowl his highest 3-game set ever, 820. He struck at an amazing 86% of the time. I was in complete awe because that was like the best
he’s ever bowled in his entire life. and I’m sitting there,
and I’m struggling to get a strike. It was gratifying, obviously,
to watch him bowling, being able to see all the things,
all the excitement, all the people high fiving and cheering. But at the end of the day,
on the ride back, I thought: “Man,
that was really cool to watch. But you know what?
I played a small role in his success. Because the bowling ball
that he used, I designed. (Laughter) So now, it’s very gratifying
to be able to hear stories of people that have their first 300 game,
or their first 800 series, or their high game at their career,
especially when you are having a bad day. That’s one of the beautiful things
about doing this job, because you are able to help people
that you never even meet. I really feel like standing up here
talking to you today, it’s like my 30-self something,
being able to speak to my 20-self something, and offer him some points
to have a happy successful life. But you see, the real key is, not only you are able to have
a happy successful life, but you also get to help
make the world a better place. So I hope that,
by giving you some tips today, and talking to you a little bit, that I can help you begin to design
your own asymmetrical core, to keep you and your bowling ball
out of the gutter, and to become a striking success. Thank you! ( Applause)