Looking for a lifetime full of success? You won't have to do much searching if you remember three simple words, according to entrepreneur advisor, tech investor, and former Apple CEO, John Sculley.

In a recent address to the graduating class at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, 80-year-old Sculley advised that the young graduates choose a "purpose-driven life."

Sculley first understood the importance of life purpose in the 1980's, when icons Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were well-known for empowering others through technology.

In fact, Sculley had even left Pepsi for Apple in 1983 when Jobs famously asked him, "You want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?"

Scully admits that at the time, a "noble cause" was a foreign concept to him. But now, he says, working towards a purpose is much more possible in today's rapid-paced world. With work shifting away from a simply operational nature--"In the past, people would just sit in," Sculley explains--it's actually easier now to work for those with an entrepreneurial mindset. No matter where you are in your career, today's workforce allows you to implement and imagine new ideas.

However, even if you choose to live a purpose-driven life, your life's purpose can be rather elusive if you don't already know what it is.

If you're unsure about the noble cause you should be following, don't worry. Sculley recommends that you simply keep an open mind to what the world has to offer. In particular, hone an insatiable curiosity as you move forward in life. "You've got to have a huge curiosity and open your mind to the possibilities of things that could exist," advises Sculley.

Surely, success is not everything in this life. As the line between success and failure remains thin, says Sculley, failure will be critical for your growth too. But remember what Jobs once said: "...half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."

Published on: Jan 21, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.