At the Heart of Success: The Quality Event | Foundation 2 – Lesson 1

Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.

Let’s Start with a Story…

The call came in at 8pm. It was Todd, Jason’s ski instructor, inviting him to ski with Todd and friends the following day. Todd’s skiing ability was legendary amongst the staff, and this invitation was a signal that Jason was “ready.”

Jason awoke the next day to 8 inches of fresh snow, blue skies, 40° weather— a t-shirt day! —and 7 new friends who were all ski patrol or ski instructors. Here’s how Jason describes that day:

I was completely at peace with myself as we navigated trees, boulders, and each other racing to the bottom. At the end of the day, as I watched the sun sink behind the mountains and considered the day, I thought to myself, “This is perfect.”

That day, for me, was a slice of heaven. But I didn’t know until the end of the day how it would end. In fact, I had many reasons throughout the day to believe that it would be a mess: I was skiing terrain that pushed me to my limits with people who were all better than me. I was skiing— and often falling (hard!) — while wearing nothing more than a t-shirt. More than once, I found myself staring at something that made me seriously consider taking off my skis and walking down the mountain… one of those somethings even jumped out at me and gave me a nasty bruise. In the end, though, it was like a spell had been cast over the day: no matter how steep the run, how big the rocks, or how close the trees, I always managed to find a way through, around, down, or over. I wasn’t always perfect, but I was always perfect when I needed to be. Even today, I can close my eyes and relive that day — every run, and every turn — like it had happened this morning. The thought brings a smile to my face.

The Quality Event

Maybe you’re not a skier, but if you are human, you can probably relate to that feeling. Can you remember a story from your own life that resulted in a similar feeling? Maybe you’re already thinking of one now…

These types of moments are Quality Events: experiences that are intensely satisfying simply due to the excellence of the moment.

Quality Events are at the heart of all success.

When you focus on having a Quality Event, you put yourself in a position to succeed because you align yourself with the “emotional frequency” of success. You create consistency across your emotions and your thoughts, solidifying your “memory” of the future and making it that much more likely you will achieve it. And you also achieve a level of focus that makes pressure seem to go away. Ultimately, you get what you’re after.

Whether you read Napoleon Hill, Mihali Csíkszentmihályi, Martin Seligman, Malcolm Gladwell, Wayne Dyer, Jack Canfield, Phil Jackson, Jack Welch, Mike Krzyzewski, Laurence Gonzales, Larry Bossidy, Deepak Chopra, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Seth Godin, Major Dick Winters, Donald Trump, or someone else, you’re going to hear the same thing from all of us: attitude matters a great deal. Your capacity for holding the right attitude is determined by your emotional set point.

Let’s get the emotional piece squared away right now.

If you’re in a job search, we know, it might seem difficult to have a Quality Event. We certainly understand that. That’s why we don’t recommend trying to have a major, world-changing Quality Event when you’re out hustling for a job. Quality Events don’t need to be big, and we actually recommend that you start small.

You can build a Quality Event around something you can accomplish today. Or this hour. Remember, Quality Events are moments of “intense personal satisfaction,” which implies nothing about their scope or scale, so they can be small.

Making waves is something you’ll do later. Right now, focus on making a ripple. In the next lesson, we’re going to show you how to use small events to practice creating the conditions for moments of intense, personal satisfaction.

There will be no introspection that requires you to deal with a bruised ego, fears about the economy, or frustrations at the injustice of it all. Only you, what you need to do today, and the tools to manufacture a string of small Quality Events.

Of course, life won’t be one continual Quality Event. Ups and downs are to be expected over any extended period! That’s a natural cycle that we should respect. The key here is not to eliminate the low points, but to move quickly from them into high points that are Quality Events.

There is no law barring you from having Quality Events during you job search.

This entire course would probably be superfluous if the subject weren’t job searching, but skiing, tennis, or something else people do for fun. For most people, the idea of making a moment special comes more naturally when discussing hobbies and other rewarding, non-work activities. But since we often put artificial barriers between ourselves and our work lives, work-related Quality Events can be difficult to create. Job search Quality Events are even more difficult to create when we allow feelings of self-doubt to enter our minds.

The way we treat work as somehow “different” is silly. The mechanics of the Quality Event are exactly the same for a job search as they are during a ski run or a night out with friends. In fact, the mechanics of a Quality Event are exactly the same during a job search as during a date.

Just like with dating, a job search requires you to set the stage and then be flexible in the moment. The better you are at correctly reading your environment and adjusting your approach, the greater your odds of success. But if you force it… well, I think we all know that trying too hard makes the whole thing unravel. (It’s not a pretty picture. I’ve done it, it was really ugly. Not my finer moment.)

So the choice is yours: you can insist on seeing your job search as a struggle or as something to be forced, or you can approach it as an opportunity to have Quality Events. If you see it as a struggle, rest assured, it will be a struggle, you will try too hard, and the whole thing will fall apart like a bad first date. If you see it as a string of potential Quality Events, you will find yourself with many more options much more quickly. You may not be guaranteed success, but the odds will be much, much more in your favor.


First of all, if you haven’t already, watch the closing video. Then, write two lists. The first should include every Quality Event you had this past week. I’ll get to what to do if you can’t think of any in a moment.

The second list you will write should include potential Quality Events that you could have had but that you missed because you were too aggravated, too stressed, or too worried to break out of your job search “struggle” and “lighten up.”

We know your job search is serious. But you know what? Getting lost in the wilderness without food or water is serious, too, and the first thing they would teach you at survival school is that you need to keep your brain open, loose, and curious.

And if you can’t think of any Quality Events from the past week? Then add one of the following steps to your homework assignment:

1) Turn off the TV and stretch for 30 minutes. You can listen to whatever kind of music you want.
2) Go out. Spend at least an hour with family and/or friends doing something productive but unrelated to your job. (Ideally, help a friend with a home/apartment improvement project.)
3) Then, either alone or with your family/friends, make a list of Quality Events and missed Quality Events from any stage of your life that you can think of. Do not stop until you’ve listed at least 10 in both columns.

There is no real magic in the number 10, but there is magic in the conversation you will have to come up with the list.

Another lesson is coming quick… so get moving!

If you have any questions about Quality Events, use the section below to ask away.

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11 responses to “At the Heart of Success: The Quality Event | Foundation 2 – Lesson 1”

  1. annie says:

    Are we supposed to be listing Quality Events in general or quality events in the job search/career reshaping process?

  2. mdabhi says:

    Right, I see if you imagine the job-search to be struggling and frustrating, it will be furstaring and difficult for me. No matter how I approach it, how-ever if I see my job-search as an occupational adverture it will seem more interesting and enjoyable and maybe I can gain something valuable from that new mind-set? It’s quite an interesting lesson.

  3. mdabhi says:

    What do you mean by potential quality events? I’m struggling trying to come up with some ideas for this second list?

    • Jason Seiden says:

      I was with my daughter yesterday and I could tell she wanted a hug. I gave her one, and she gave me the hugest hug back—a powerful Quality Event. But the day before, I thought she had wanted a tickle torture, and wrecked a good moment when I tickled her ribs. That was the one that got away… another potential Quality Event was a few nights ago when I had a block of time to get some work done and ended up on FBook for 30 minutes. I didn’t manage my environment and missed an opportunity to meet my goal of getting ahead with my work. (Oops.)

  4. samanthabrie says:

    Here goes:

    Quality events I had in the past week: finished putting together ikea furniture, cleaned and organized my room, bonded with new roommates, took a long walk on an unusually warm day, treated myself to the best chocolate chip cookie ever, talked to all my immediate family members, corresponded with some friends who I don’t see regularly, made progress in understanding twitter, finished a book, danced to music that makes me happy

    Quality events I could have had: getting my taxes out of the way, seeing a friend perform in a play, having lunch with a friend who works close to my part-time job, contacting people to request informational interviews, going to a dance class, practicing Spanish conversation, going to a gallery opening with a friend, taking advantage of the numerous free wifi hotspots in my neighborhood, using my roommate’s guest pass at her gym, further researching items I found interesting in a magazine

  5. Jason Seiden says:

    @samantha I think you actually did OK… not sure that using free wifi *truly* qualifies as a QE—though discovering that your favorite local restaurant just installed it might—and for what it’s worth, the Ikea furniture I built for my then-girlfriend right out of college is still in use in our home today, 14 years later. Who’d’ve thunk.

  6. Roxy says:

    I found some of my QE’s and PQE’s to be the different side of the same coin.

    For example, I canceled/got out of 2 different PQE’s – meetups/meetings with people I don’t know in person but met online in 2 different social networks – this week because I didn’t think meeting with them would be worthwhile and allow me to accomplish what I want so I decided to use that time to do other things like slow down, take care of myself, and do other more pressing tasks.

    So can a QE and PQE be the same thing? Those 2 meetings could have had potential but I chose to take care of myself and my needs first.

    Keeping in mind I am in a steady job now in a very junior position in the nonprofit world, taking this course to get the most out of my career that I can.

  7. Roxy says:

    PS I tried changing my picture – even went into my WordPress account – but I guess I will have to remain with this unflattering one I had up years ago! Haha!

    PPS What if I’m NOT beating myself up about my PQE’s because I did the best that I knew how to at the time?

  8. Jason Seiden says:

    @Roxy re: your image, it’s a gravatar. Change it at and it should work… tho I hope the new one has just as much style as this one!

    re: QEs… QEs are very specific; it’s not just a decision to take care of yourself, it’s making that decision and then having the best day of your life. Or conversely, going to a meeting you expect to be a waste of time and discovering it to be the most important connection you’ve made in a year. PQEs, on the other hand, are those moments when you see opportunity pass you by: you know for sure this is your shot, and you blow it. You show up for a job interview on the wrong day, for instance, because you never checked your voicemail and so missed the message asking to reschedule. That kind of thing. QEs and PQEs are definitely different things!

  9. m.pistorio says:

    Making it a habit of posting something after each lesson.

    Here’s a QE from last week.

    You might say I was down and out in San Francisco last week while eating at a hot dog stand waiting for an interview appointment nearby for lowly service gig. While eating, an old man carrying a shopping bag walked into the place and began asking one of the employees for the name of the neighborhood’s political representative. Knowing the answer, I informed him after he found no such luck with the cashier. He asked if he could sit down, a request that I granted. Forty-five minute later, my entire worldview had been flipped and I left with an entirely re-energized MO. I skipped the interview then went home and FB’d dozens of people in Italy as means of finding connections to my namesake and for summer opportunities. I look back at that convo as a source of strength that will keep me motivated to not settle for anything less than what my dreams are.


  10. joelponder says:

    “There is no law barring you from having Quality Event during you job search.”-sic

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