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Thought Leader series speaker: ‘Think passion first’

Empowerment speaker and author Scott Shickler has a powerful and fundamental message about happiness.

“Real happiness comes when you are living your passion. It’s not the destination of your life, it’s the roads you are taking,” Shickler explained during a visit to NDSU Sept. 27 to present the second of the Thought Leader presentations for the College of Business. “Everyone wants to live their own ultimate life. I often ask the question, ‘If you had a magic wand, what would your ultimate life be?’ The simplest answers are: everyone wants to be happy and passionate about what they do in life.”

More than 625 people attended Shickler’s Thought Leader presentation.

The renowned author of such books as “The 7 Mindsets,” “The Ultimate Entrepreneur” and “Your Magic Wand,” Shickler also is a businessman, establishing companies ranging from computer software to real estate to restaurants. He is a graduate of Fordham University and co-founder of the Magic Wand Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on empowering young people to live their dreams.

“Success really means significance. People want to have an impact with their lives and make a difference,” he said. But, according to Shickler, research shows few people find their “ultimate life.” He said about 80 percent of surveyed employed Americans are not passionate about their jobs, and an estimated one-third of the 60 million students in the United States will either drop out or fail out of school.

“Unfortunately, when we look at statistics there is a gap between what people want and what they get in life. That’s where our research becomes important,” Shickler said. His company conducted a three-year, $3 million study to discover the seven mindsets to happiness. He now works with teachers in 20 states to promote the concepts.

“Money has its place – it just shouldn’t be first. Happy people look inside themselves, because passion is an inside job,” he said. “My advice to students is: Try to quiet the loving advice about finding security and follow your heart. When you are doing something you love, you’ll invest more time in it, enjoy it more and smile more often. You’ll go further and 95 percent of the time, you’ll make more money.”

Shickler’s comments are reinforced by his business partner, Jeff Waller, who also visited NDSU. “The quote we use all the time is, ‘In life, you can choose security or freedom, and if you chose security, you’ll have neither,’ ” said Waller, co-founder and president of The 7 Mindsets. “When you pursue your passion, you have an energy about you and you become very valued. You are rewarded in many forms – financial, self-esteem, happiness and meaning in your life.”

NDSU’s Thought Leader Series brings national and international leaders to campus to enhance student learning outside the classroom and give students firsthand experience. Organized by a team of business students, the series is the brainchild of Tim Peterson, associate dean. National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones was the inaugural speaker in 2011.

More information on Shickler’s program is available at

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.


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Last Updated: Friday, June 18, 2021 11:24:23 AM
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