If You Hate Smoking, Don’t Make Cigarettes

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“Ross Millhiser, then vice chairman of Philip Morris and a dedicated smoker, said, “I love cigarettes. It’s one of the things that makes life really worth living.” – Good to Great by Jim Collins

For those that don’t know, Millhiser was the man responsible for enlisting the rugged cowboy image that helped to propel Marlboro to the top of the cigarette charts.

It doesn’t take a medical doctor to know that smoking isn’t the best thing for your health. Granted, Millhiser was at the top of the industry during a time when medical knowledge wasn’t terribly advanced, but the quote still is very powerful. It embodies just how much passion Ross had for his craft. Sure, his job was to package and sell cigarettes to both dedicated smokers and to hook in fresh blood to pump with nicotine. It obviously behooves someone in that situation to be a proponent of smoking. While I’m never going to work within the cigarette industry, I think it poses some pretty powerful questions regarding passion and happiness at work.

A little while ago, I posted a thought I had concerning prioritizing different parts of your life and making them the focal point of your time. One of the prioritized items on my list was “my purpose”. In the description, I briefly hit on the idea that “work” and “purpose” are two vastly different concepts in my mind. The word “work” typically becomes synonymous with a daily chore that we put ourselves through often helping to turn someone else’s dream into a reality. By contrast, purpose is much more fulfilling. It’s evident above that Millhiser found something to work on that he was passionate about. To him, it wasn’t just work. He was putting out a product that he both loved and enjoyed using.

So, the inevitable question: Are you working on a product/service/idea that you have a passion for?

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