I knew the first time I heard the Tim Ferriss Podcast, the world of professional development had changed forever. I was blown away by the idea that content creators would be willing share this much value for free, in an effort to help professionals be better versions of themselves.

It also motivated me to start the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast and had me constantly on the lookout for new and emerging podcasts to make my commute a time to get smarter.

That's when I discovered Master's of Scale. It took all of one episode to figure out Reid Hoffman's (founder of Linkedin) podcast was something of great value. Every week he and his team deliver a powerful and educational episode to help entrepreneurs and business leaders grow and scale their companies and teams in ways they had not yet thought of.

In a recent episode, Hoffman interviewed Google CEO Erik Schmidt. I found myself hitting the rewind button multiple times so I could let Schmidt's words sink in (and to take notes).

"Today I would suggest, and it has been confirmed by studies, that persistence is the single biggest predictor of future success and so Google always looks for persistence in its new hires. Then we would look for curiosity and all that is, is what people care about. So the combination of persistence and curiosity is a very good predictor of employee success in a knowledge economy."

If you want the condensed version, I would say it this way:

In order to achieve long term professional success, be persistently curious.

Persistence

Talent is everywhere. There will always be people smarter than you and savvier than you. That doesn't mean you should just give up and let them win. Quite the opposite is true. It means you have to work harder and more relentlessly than others to surpass them and make a bigger impact. Persistence is actually defined as: the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.

I tell my team all the time, "If building a business or leading a team were easy, everyone would do it." It takes persistence and continuing doing or trying something even though it is difficult that separates those that make it from those that don't.

So no matter what you are currently doing, do it with a persistence that separates you. Go where you know no one else would go. Then and only then will you find the success you are looking for.

Curiosity

Curiosity on the other hand is all about figuring out what you care about. Once you figure out what you care about, you will go to the ends of the earth to learn it, perfect it, and improve upon it. It won't feel like work because you will enjoy the process and results will follow.

As an example, if you are starting a business, be persistently curious about the gaps in the industry, the talent you need to surround yourself with to be successful, and a willingness to go beyond where most people will stop. If you have discovered you care about leadership and want to help others become the best version of themselves. Be persistently curious about developing your skills and talents to make that possible.

Published on: Jun 13, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.