What A Coach Learned from Ray Bradbury

Oh, What You Can See, When You Look!

“Do what you love and love what you do.” ~Ray Bradbury

I cherish my memories of Ray Bradbury’s opening night talk at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference.  His message never varied from year-to-year and I never tired of it: “It’s about LOVE,” he would shout.  He was on the stage in his wheelchair, but his zeal transported you to a mountaintop with him.

1.   “Do what you love.  Love what you do.”

When someone as successful as Ray Bradbury says that the key to his success is his ardor for his work, I pay attention.   Lots of people talk about the importance of “knowing your purpose” and “living your passion” but Ray Bradbury really did.  Selling more than 8 million copies of his books in 36 languages, as documented in the New York Times, is enough to convince me.

2.   “Surround yourself with people who love you and love what you do.”

While this tidbit of wisdom was for writers who find themselves on the receiving end of more than their share of rejection, it is good advice for everyone.  When you look at successful people, they have a cheering squad to support them through the tough times.  Everyone needs a support team.

3.   “What if?”

Ray told writers to ask “what if?” to get their creative juices running.  One of his favorite questions was to ask “What would your conversation be on an all-night train ride with one of your favorite authors?”  Imagine what we all could dream up if we asked ourselves “what if?” on a regular basis.

4.   “Write 1,000 words a day.”

Ray started writing 1,000 a day as a youth and claimed he did so every day of his life from then on.  He died last week at the age of 91, but he was still writing stories, producing plays, and writing screen plays and poems, 1,000 words a day on his Royal Typewriter.

typewriter Ray’s suggestion to writers to write 1,000 words a day reminds me of one of the insights in Malcolm Gladwell’s book OutliersHe observes that people who achieve a level of expertise in their lives that we admire– musicians like the Beatles, computer programmers like Bill Gates– all logged in a lot of hours getting there, 10,000 to be exact.   At 1,000 words a day, it probably won’t be long before you have got your 10,000 hours.  If you want to achieve your aspirations, you need to commit to it and work at.  (By the way, that is not a problem if it is something you love.)

5.   “You have been put in this world to love the act of being alive.”

In the video below, Ray said that not a day went by that he didn’t have gratitude for being alive.   He was 86 when he said it and he was astounded that he had lived so long.  He credits his “zest, love and passion” for his long, successful and happy life.  Look at this short video of Ray talking about how we are here to love our life.



Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself:

What can you do today to begin living a passion-driven life?  Who can be part of your support team?  What would you do differently if you asked “what if ?”   How can you log your 10,000 hours? What can you do to cultivate gratitude every day?

If you would you like to be coached on how to integrate Ray’s life lessons into your life, contact Dr. Lynn K. Jones for a free coaching session.

P.S.  Thanks in advance to anyone who chooses to share this blog link to friends!

Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Board Certified Coach and an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US.   Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry.  She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves.  A MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.

BCC Board Certified Coach #1487




  1. anon on June 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Bradbury loved what he did for years before the reading world did. He started writing pulp magazine stories for peanuts. He didn’t need success, although he seemed to relish it once it arrived. He was all about process, not results.

    • Executive Coach on June 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Good point and a great lesson in that too! When we focus on the process rather than the outcome we are able to achieve more and ultimately have a far superior outcome.

  2. Debbie Allen on June 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Beautifully written tribute. This is such a great inspiration for both writing and living. Thanks Lynn for taking the time to write this.

    • Executive Coach on June 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Debbie! I am glad that you found value in my thoughts about Ray for your own living and loving!

  3. Calla Gold on June 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I love that Ray was all about the love. His message to write 1000 words a day is very tempting.
    I’m in my passionate life, but want to do a bit of “what if-ing”.
    Great blog Dr. Lynn and I appreciated your take on Ray Bradbury and his words.
    Calla Gold
    Passionate Personal Jeweler

    • Executive Coach on June 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks, Calla. I would love to hear what you come up with after a couple of days asking “what if?”

  4. Marilyn on June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Ray passed on a lot of love

    • Executive Coach on June 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      He did, indeed! When I think of Ray I smile and I am sure countless others do as well. He left a wonderful legacy.

  5. Debbie Dobbins on June 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Having just finished a conversation with a writer friend of mine about how to publish my book, this post was so remarkably poignant. I especially love the idea of writing 1000 words a day. That the consistency of doing what you love only makes you better and grounds us in our passion. Your lovely reminder to be conscious of our support team was a much welcomed reminder that I often lose sight of. Thanks so much for a perfect message at a perfect moment.

  6. Maria Cordi on June 29, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Ray Bradbury’s passion, joy and gratitude is inspiring. As is his exhortation to write 1000 words a day.

    Equivalent consistent effort put towards any goal would similarly reap rewards. Indeed, big goals are often achieved by taking a series of small steps.

    Doing it that way makes the journey less arduous. If you can combine this approach with Ray’s advice on “love what you do”, achievements & success become less of a chore and happen naturally.

    Thank you for your tribute to this wonderful man.

    • Executive Coach on July 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you, Maria. I agree that his advice really works for so many of the daunting tasks that we want to pursue in our lives. I find every time I revisit his words I find new meaning and applications for them.

  7. Renee Manseau on July 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Ray was an amazing man and an amazing writer. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • Executive Coach on July 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Glad you liked it Renee. Ray truly was inspirational. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to hear him speak for so many years at the SB Writer’s Conference. I can hear his voice so clearly, “Love what you do and do what you love!”

  8. DYOP_Coach on August 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    This was great, Lynn. I’ve loved Ray Bradbury since high school term paper experiences (I had an amazing teacher). His advice goes so much farther than just writing.
    I was immediately taken with point #2 – “Surround yourself with people who love you and love what you do.” So many times as coaches, we miss that we have a cheering section, too, and that we’re not just that cheering section for everyone else! Thanks so much for the reminder.

    • DrLynnKJones on August 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      How lucky you were to have an amazing high school teacher that turned you on to Ray!  It was those kinds of stories that kept Ray going on to the last moment! And yes, you are right that we all need our own cheering section!

  9. prathima on September 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

    – What can I do to live a passion driven life? Law has intrigued me so I could read an LSAT book or a book on how to learn more about lawyering or psych
    -I can make a gratitude list- only 31
    -I can spend one hour on something I’m passionate about
     -It can be hard to pick a long term goal that you’re passionate about 

  10. prathima on September 7, 2012 at 11:09 am

    – What can I do to live a passion driven life? Law has intrigued me so I could read an LSAT book or a book on how to learn more about lawyering or psych
    -I can make a gratitude list-
    -I can spend one hour on something I’m passionate about
    -I”ll try to what if and remember that doing the work is important even in small chunks

    • DrLynnKJones on October 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      @prathima All great ideas, Prathima.  All the best in leading a passion-driven life!

  11. LesleyChamplin on October 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    This is about the best advice about finding your passion that I have read in a long time! Thank you so much… .

    • DrLynnKJones on October 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      @LesleyChamplin You are so welcome!  Glad you found value in it!

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