Cory Booker: Putting Purpose Over Position

This is part of the series Catalyst 2013.

It was great to see Cory Booker interviewed at Catalyst this year. Cory couldn’t be there in person, but was interviewed at his office in advance, and the video was shown. Cory is the mayor of Newark, New Jersey and a candidate for the US senate.

(In the time since Catalyst [two weeks], it looks like he has won the election and become New Jersey’s first ever African American senator.)

Like Angela Ahrednt, it was refreshing to hear how biblical principles informed the way he thinks about his vocation. The Golden Rule (“how would I want others to treat me? treat them the same way”) is at the foundation of how he thinks about everything, which is exactly as it should be. As with Angela, we see again that this is not only the right way to be, but that it is also the way to truly be most effective in your work and life. It is, as I argue in my upcoming book, the essence of how to be truly productive.

Here are my notes from the interview:

Don’t get so obsessed with position. Purpose is more important than position. Ask “what gets me up in the morning? What excites me? Is it creating things, serving people, going on adventures? Stay loyal to your passion.”

“For me, it was having the courage to confront fear. There is an old definition of faith that has always helped me: faith is coming to the end of a dark tunnel and stepping out, and knowing that one of two things will happen. Either there will be solid ground beneath you, or God will bring people to help you fly.”

“This world is going to do a lot to try to make you conform, to try to fit you into boxes. That’s wrong. We were made to stand out. As Lincoln said: everyone was born an original, but most of us die copies.”

“When I was in my twenties, I had a lot of people coming to me and saying ‘you should do this.’ And I said ‘why? I don’t want to do that.'”

“You should take risks, especially in your twenties.”

Talent is important, but values are even more important.

A lady in the inner city said to him once “Only if you are one of those stubborn people who whenever they open their eyes see hope and opportunity no matter what, only then are you a person who can help me.”

“You cannot have extraordinary results without extraordinary effort.”

AMEN!!! Way to go, Cory.