Mastering the Game: A Guide to the Rules of the Red Rubber Ball

Discovery & Learning

How to find your passion and follow it to success.

Joel Eberhart

At Ideas Collide, there is a very small book that you’ll find throughout the office. This book is Kevin Carroll’s Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, which at under 100 pages, is small enough to fit in your back pocket. While the book is small, the message is not. Teaching you about finding your life’s passion and following that into your work, Rules of the Red Rubber Ball blurs the line between work and play.

In his youth, Kevin Carroll was an athlete. With a great interest in athletics from a young age, Carroll would follow his passion for athletics into his position as head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia 76’ers and a leadership role at Nike. Here, Carroll was responsible for bringing out the best in people, inspiring creativity backed with hard work.

In Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, Carroll uses this red rubber ball metaphor, referring to the ball that represented his passion for sports—something that was always present when he was his happiest as a child. Everyone has a red rubber ball – it’s your dream, your inspiration, your passion. Through this metaphor, Carroll explains to his readers how they too can follow their red rubber ball for a more fulfilling career.

While achieving your dreams may be easier said than done, there are a few simple rules you can follow to bring your dreams to life.

It’s all about finding your life’s passion and following that into your work.

TEDxVancouver, Kevin Carroll, 2009

Here are 3 guidelines from Carroll’s Rules of the Red Rubber Ball for finding and following your own red rubber ball:

Red Rubber Ball Guideline #1


Follow your red rubber ball, your passion, and commit to achieving your work goal of being passionate about your job and having a real interest in what you do. Let your red rubber ball guide you, shaping how you live your life.

Red Rubber Ball Guideline #2

Be Creative

In and out of the office, be creative! Many great ideas come when you’re doing something entirely unrelated to your job, but still using the creative part of your brain and having fun. Avoid routine and always think outside the box.

Red Rubber Ball Guideline #3

Do the Lonely Work

To achieve your goals, sometimes the less than glamorous tasks must be completed in the interest of preparation. The lonely work is your practice. Embrace the unexpected plot twists life may throw at you and learn from others. The more lonely work you do to achieve your goals, for your red rubber ball, the greater the payoff will be.

Finding your red rubber ball is about finding your passion – it’s about finding a job or an element to your job that allows you to be at your most creative and at your very best. At Ideas Collide, we’re always chasing our red rubber ball. We love what we do. Driven by our passion, creativity and excitement, we’re here to help our clients honor their red rubber ball.


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