What to do with your life

In his famous Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said the formula for success is “to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.”

The problem with this formula is that Steve Jobs is wrong, says Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can’t Ignore you: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.

Cal says that even Steve Jobs didn’t start out loving what he did. Just a year before he co-founded Apple, Steve left his job at a tech startup, Call-in Computer, to hang out at a commune for a few months. He just didn’t have the passion.

When Steve founded Apple, he didn’t love it instantly either. Over time, Cal says, “As [Steve] had more and more successes in the early days of Apple, it grew to be a bigger source of passion for him.”

In his Mixergy course, Cal shows you how to avoid the passion trap and become so good they can’t ignore you or the company you’ve founded. Here are three strategies you’ll learn in the course.

1. Don’t Follow Your Passion

There are two ways to start a company.

The first way is to search for a passion. “Most people approach their job with the passion mindset, which says, what does this job offer me?” he says. “They sit there and they say, am I enjoying this job today? Are they giving me enough opportunities that I like, and if not, then this must not be the right job for me and let me switch.”

But even musical geniuses, neuroscientists, and accomplished mathematicians don’t start with a pre-existing passion for their work. “The research on this is actually pretty clear,” says Cal. “In very few cases did the researchers find that they started with an intense passion.”

So what the other way to start a business?

Switch to the “craftsman” mindset

Build your skill set.

For instance, when asked to give advice to aspiring entertainers, comedian Steve Martin said, “Be so good, they can’t ignore you.”

“In other words,” says Cal, ”putting your head down and spending the time to build a skill that is unambiguously valuable is the secret…As your skills grow, your passion will grow along with it.”

2. Practice the Right Way

You want your company to dominate in your niche. But you might be going about it all wrong.

One study looked at a group of chess players, comprised of players who had each practiced for about 10,000 hours. But despite putting in the same amount of practice time, “half these players were Grandmasters and the other half…were intermediate-level players,” says Cal.

So what separates the great from the mediocre?

Do serious study

The great ones improve methodically.

“The Grandmasters spent way more time doing serious study,” says Cal. “Working with teachers to methodically improve key points of their game.”

The intermediate players, on the other hand, spent more of their time playing chess with friends or other chess club members.

“It’s not just putting in the time to get better,” says Cal, “it’s putting in the hard, deliberate work to stretch your ability.”

3. Abort Your Mission

Every great company has an overriding mission.

“You want to find a compelling mission,” says Cal, “something that could nourish you for a lifetime of passionate work.”

But trying to start with a mission is putting the cart before the horse. “The biggest mistake I see is young people saying, ‘Here’s my big mission. I’m going to start this non-profit that’s going to change the world,’” says Cal.

So how do you find your mission?

Build your capital

Get to the cutting edge, and the mission will come later.

“Most people that fail in their quest to have this mission for their life try to make a leap to a mission before they have the career capital to back it up…before they actually get to the cutting edge of their field,” says Cal.

But when people get to that cutting edge, missions reveal themselves. “If you’re not at the cutting edge, it’s very hard to actually identify a sustainable, important, accomplishable mission,” says Cal. “You have to get there before you can find and identify the type of missions that can redefine your working life.”
Start Course Now!
Written by April Dykman. Production notes by Alex Champagne.

  • http://twitter.com/AdvantixGroup Adam Hempenstall

    This is horrible advice. Not impressed by this and doesn’t fit with the rest of the stuff on Mixergy at all.

  • Dustin Mattison

    I identify with this advice and wish I would have followed it years ago. Thanks.

  • Karen

    Agreed Adam

  • Kimberly Baxter

    I agree. NUTS. Follow your bliss (Joseph Campbell) and you will gain experience. Why work against nature? Take it from a creative who spent years doing admin work in offices — it’s soul sucking!

    “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso

  • Yokudeki

    Don’t follow your passion is a big statement and will definitely challenge people’s beliefs and turn them off. Did you expect a blanket strategy that works for all? Such is taking advice from someone else about how to live your life.

    Either way, I think it’s great advice for college grads that usually have no experience in what they think they’re interested in. Follow your effort first and passion will develop as you get better at it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502290314 Óli Á Deild Olsen

    Why is this horribel advice? I found that this is definitely true for me.

  • Karen

    This is one of the dumbest articles I have read in months. The factory worker mindset does not work for Entrepreneurship. We employ them, they are equally passionate about what and how they do it. Apple is not Apple because of great factor workers, it is because of the passion of the Genius of a visionary leader that was inspired and passionate and uhm did what he loved. How did the factory mindset work for Apple when the best this type of leadership was not there? They were at the top of their game when he was fired…and toppled without the pull of the why in a true leader.

  • Richard

    I think that it all works together, why would you build your skills in something that you do not have a passion for. Me I build my skills in media production and when I find an area that produces results I then build up that area to expert levels.



  • http://www.facebook.com/dima.daladno Dima Daladno

    All advices are meaningless because life is random.

  • Sam Granger

    Follow what you don’t love, waste most of your life working, doing what you don’t enjoy. Good luck, hope you end up ‘happy’. I’m sorry, but this is the most ridiculous & shitty advice I’ve ever heard (I’m sorry).

    Sure, if masterbating in your room is what you love in life, you should choose something else. But enjoy what you do. Love what you do. Life is too short for doing work you hate.

  • jqpurdue

    Two sides to the same coin. Its not one extreme or the other. It’s just like relationships folks. Emotions come and go. You have to work hard at relationships for them to be successful and interesting. Such is the same with your career relationships. So first you search out the one thing that you love (if it exists) and the more work you put into being excellent at it…. The more your love and relationship… success will grow. I agree with the author mostly in this article. Most people base what they love by analyzing what they do best. Of course we all start somewhere and that is usually not knowing anything. Think about what you love most. Did you love the same thing before you knew anything about it? Did you love it more the harder you worked at it? The answer is probably yes because we appreciate the fruits of our labor. Love grows proportionate with the effort applied and knowledge gained.

  • Zsolt Rényi

    Disagree. Read it again, there is more to it than it looks at first sight.

  • Zsolt Rényi

    But there’s plenty of BS in it as well: “be so good they can’t ignore you”. …like “Wow, didn’t know you had to be very good at what you do, great advice…”

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruno.miani.142 Bruno Miani-Ambrosio

    I think both advices are great, but thinking in a business mind and not an artist mind, transpiration is what matters in any business and if you get inspired by the idea and do not sweat on it, it will never succeed and the way up is never a beautiful story.

  • http://www.makemoneyinlife.com/ James W

    you don’t have to love it to become better at it, you don’t need to be passionate about it in order to stay with it longer. Catch a bigger picture, help others, make money and enjoy the rest of your life with your loved ones. This is my personal motto and this advice on mixergy is something I understand completely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622131989 Chris Robock

    I found myself disagreeing with this advice, but only partly. Yes, if you develop a skillset, your passion will *probably* follow. But you need to start with at least a little bit of passion for a subject in the first place.

    By trade, I’m an accountant. I am very good at my work. And I absolutely despise the work. It’s boring, and I get no recognition for my work. I would never in my life start up my own accounting company, because as much as I have the skills, I’m not at all excited by it. The best I can say is that I can use those skills to make sure I don’t run the company I *am* starting into the ground.

    My passion is for helping the helpless. I have few skills that translate that. So I learned the skills I needed to be able to make my passion my reality. I started with an endpoint and I figured out what I needed to do to get there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/labrentca Brent Lowry

    My thoughts exactly.

  • http://twitter.com/CroydonH harry croydon

    You have to have passion – everyone possess the skills to do everything – the passion is what drives us – try learning to play a piano to concert level, without passion, when do you think you would give up? Its true you have to be a craftsman at everything – there is a theory that it takes 10,000 hours to get good at things – so how do you get through the 10,000 hours? To put up with the ups and downs of starting and making a business work and be successful passion is essential – passion for what counts in your business. Being good at it comes with the passion and time. Bill Gates was (is?) a good software programmer was he not passionate about what he was doing? Look at what his passion and drive is achieving now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Whiteey Andrew Ritchie

    This totally hits home with me….As soon as I followed new (Dane Maxwell) advice on developing an empowering mindset and building internal skills like sales, marketing, leadership and influence then everything changed. I had been doing what I loved for 6 years and was making no progress at all. Peddle pushing a product no one wanted by trying to use the latest marketing trend…Not a single penny made but a massive lesson learnt, when I switched this it was life changing, I know it’s thrown around a lot but ‘following your passion’ isn’t always great advice, even though it is empowering and makes you very inspirational, and gives you loads of motivation, it doesn’t always give you the reward you are looking for. Happiness comes from fulfilment and just because I now solve better problems doesn’t make me feel less happy :) in fact, the money and the fact that I have actually helped makes me happy.

  • Jacob Karasch

    Was the missing ingredient in your admin work that you weren’t learning and growing? Growth as a person is essential to fulfillment. Don’t confuse learning real skills with getting more efficient at drudge work!

    I’ve found the “passion follows experience” to be very true for many of my endeavors. However, a passion for drudgery will never exist.

  • christopherjacob

    My $0.02. The cheatsheet doesn’t do the Master Class justice. Listening to Cal explain each point provides a wealthy of background to each point. Stories and Data. It’s much less controversial than the Tweetable’s would suggest ;-)

  • timdanyo

    Cal Newport brings up some really good points to concider. He’s not saying that you can’t have passion that drives you in your work. He’s saying the process starts with building career capitol and gaining valuable skills that take you in the direction you need to go. Instead of just having this “feeling” or doing activities that you love to do, but have little marketable value.

    For instance, many entrepreneurs don’t just wake up one day and start creating amazing businesses without having key things in place like skills, knowledge, experiences, that enable them to be successful.

    I read his book and found the information liberating, because it helped me to focus and to see the building blocks I needed to put in place to get to where i need to go. It put more value on doing the hard work and to know this skill is going to take me further. It also helped me put into perspective about taking risks and that making the commitment to try something new and spend time and enrgy will have a payoff.

  • http://www.e-marketingpartner.com/ Bob

    Jobs was genius, there is no doubt about that. I think part of the message here is that we aren’t all Steve Jobs.

  • Mark Brooks

    The underlying point here is ‘FOCUS’

    A long time ago my mother said to me, “at some point everyone dislikes their job.”

    That burst my bubble, and was a suitable blast of reality. At some point every job sucks! Its the people who get back up and keep driving forward that make it to the big leagues.

    I’ve focused on the Internet dating business for 14 years now. That focus has served me well. I’m known for it. http://onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/in-the-press.html

    When you’re good at something, known for it, and respected for it, you can generally make money at it. It’s been a long road.

  • http://www.localbusinesscoachonline.com/coachnotes Vernessa Taylor

    This advice is more aptly aimed at youth, college grads, young adults. Indeed, if young people “do what they love,” they might not get out of bed, or surf (the ocean or the web) day and night, or rock climb …

    The sage advice “do what you love …” has overwhelmingly been geared towards career-changers or adults who have been in the workforce for a while who are taking stock of what they are (or have been) doing, or retirees searching for the next bit of meaningful work upon which to set their minds, hands, and years of experience.

  • Mitchell Roth

    I heard Cal speak at the World Domination Summit last summer, and his advice is well-researched and convincing. “Follow your passion” is cliche and is gives no practical steps. If you want substantial advice, he has something very valuable to offer.

    What he is really offering is how to achieve a life that you are passionate about.

    Watch his talk for yourself:
    Cal Newport speaks at World Domination Summit 2012

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I wish I asked more about that. It’s a very good point.

    Cal talked about how people who kept at their work discovered their passion and meaning. But I wish I asked him about people who were very good & experienced at their work who didn’t find passion.

    Chris, thanks for adding this question.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I don’t think he’s advocating for a factory mindset.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    What makes you say that, Dustin?

    is it too late?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    What makes you say that?

    Isn’t Mixergy best when it exposes you to different points of view from people who have the credibility to talk about them?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    What makes you say that Karen?

    You know I like to hear opposing points of view.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I don’t think Cal is advocating a lifetime of admin work.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner


  • http://www.facebook.com/joshmormann Joshua Mormann

    How is passion or love [for your work], at odds with personal or business development?

    I have a feeling we are being trolled with a faulty semantical use of Steve Jobs’ famous commencement speech. His words are being maligned as if he had said, “don’t start something unless you love it first.” Which he never would have said, nor would have agreed to.

    Love is rarely ever at first sight, and doesn’t always mean “enjoyment, fondness, or passion” either. Anyone who has ever been in a romantic relationship, knows that. Love also, semiotically, includes enthusiasm, devotion, loyalty, need, and desire.

    You can love something with nothing but pure grit and tenacity. Even if you never enjoy what you do, you must be stalwart, to endeavor for excellence. Even if it’s just an ugly “tough love,” the only way you get “so good [at something, that] they can’t ignore you,” is to be devoted to the process of improvement, every step of the way.

    Sometimes, if you’re lucky, and you strive for excellence, in many things, your work can start to love you back, and you may just find that, “above unity” feedback loop of driving passion for your work. Love, as I see it, is a decided attitude, or approach toward something, more than an enjoyable, passive experience, that one may or may not ever have.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Would help if I put that sentence in context?

    The idea is that figuring out how to be good at what you do is a more valuable use of the next 5 years of your life than figuring out what you’re passionate about.

    Getting good leads to passion.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks, Zsolt.

    It makes more sense in the context of the book or the course.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Anyone who’s fighting this should consider getting Cals’ book or taking the course.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Would everyone who disagrees with this please at least read Andrew Ritchie’s comment?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Cal tells this great story of a woman who followed her passion for yoga and opened up a yoga studio. Soon after, her studio was shut down. I think Alex (who produced this course) even found a NY Times article about how she went bankrupt.

    Even if you don’t fully buy into this philosophy, would you concede that passion isn’t enough?

    You don’t have to commit to every single thing that Mixergy guests say. Take what fits in your life and leave the rest for someone else.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner


    I was kicking myself for not saying more about his research and his background in the course. I think it would have added more credibility. Glad you added it here.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Yes, it’s a better fit for them.

    But at this point, aren’t more people reconsidering their paths several times in their lives?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Yup. It’s a happier road too.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Yes. It’s very liberating. He told me about the pain that people who spend years looking for happiness experience. We’ve all seen it. I find it liberating to not have to look for passion to find passion.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Great comment.

  • Rich

    I have read Cal’s book and found it refreshing to read someone going against the grain of the popular “follow your dreams and the money will follow you home & play fetch in your yard” theory.

    I do think we need a passion but sometimes we need to zoom out the lens. You can have a passion for living each day fully, doing the work of a linchpin, practising the art of non-conformity but also make some compromises to meet the needs of the market (both for their sake and the sake of your wallet).

    My idea for training llamas to swim in the waters of Alaska may tick every one of my passion boxes but the DVD may not make enough to support me. Which leads to one last thing. I don’t think it always works to try to fit your work/career/calling into one box. Squeeze them together and you get things like passionate blogs with excessive affiliate links and businesses where people become upsell opportunities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammed.gandhi.7 Mohammed Gandhi

    I agree with with what Cal is saying here.

    I am one of those people who never had passion for anything except doing business- no particular kind of business though. I am jealous of people who know what they want to do because I hadn’t a clue.

    Having a bachelors and masters degree in aerospace engineering (had zero passion or interest in planes but did it because I didn’t think I could do it- its complicated), along with a friend, I launched a cloth diaper company called Lil Helper (www.lilhelper.ca) and through learning and reading I have become an expert and am great at what I do. My passion is in helping my customers-now.
    Andrew, you have been the constant voice in my head as I quit my job working as a desk jockey with the third largest aircraft manufacturer. You and your guests provide amazing conversations and advice. I don’t think, I have missed a single podcast of Mixergy. When people ask me for advice on business, I recommend Mixergy as the first treasure trove of information. And when I hear you ask your guests about the self-doubt and constant need for vindication- I know that I am listening to a fellow struggling entrepreneur. Burn on!

  • http://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.l.barrows Geoffrey L. Barrows

    A note for the curious- before you decide to “follow your passion”, you should Google the etymology for the word “passion”. It is not very pleasant… But the original meaning is perhaps one that would fit better with Cal’s message…

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    This is an amazing story. I think your way is what Cal was describing.
    How long have you been running Lil Helper?

    And THANK YOU for listening for that long. I’m sitting in a cabin Lake Tahoe right now reflecting. Those were rough days for me in the beginning. I didn’t know if anyone cared. I felt like a fool for going on. To know you heard those interviews makes it worthwhile.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammed.gandhi.7 Mohammed Gandhi

    I have been running Lil Helper Cloth Diapers (a field exclusively dominated by women) full-time for a year now. We officially launched it in Oct. 2011 and were working on it for a good year before that.

    In those years I traveled to India and China looking for reliable suppliers, started manufacturing in Canada and now supplying diapers all over the world.

    And now I am mentoring young entrepreneurs in starting their own businesses.

    I owe a part of our survival in a competitive business to Mixergy and you. There are bits and pieces of advice from each show of yours that I have applied in the day to day running of our business.

    Looking back now, I think I didn’t reach out to you because I had the same doubts in my mind that you so often talk about- who cares about what I think.

    Sitting in my car after another unsatisfying day in 2009, working for a company where I was reduced to a punch card, I wrote down on a piece of paper that I will appear as a guest on Mixergy. I feel that part of that dream has already come to fruition. Talking to you right now is the highlight of my week.

  • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

    I like this idea of a “craftsman” mindset. I think it’s very good advice, and it’s pretty much how I’ve progressed in my career.


  • yaelgrauer

    I really love this, after reading the summary and listening to the course.

    In college, my goal was to work at a nonprofit organization as a community organizer, but I found that willing to work for pennies, a couple of summer internships (and yes, passion–to change the world) didn’t really help separate me from the thousands of other candidates.

    I’ve held various jobs but was never *indispensable* so the advice to be good enough they can’t ignore you really hits home.

    I HAVE to be that good as a freelancer because there are no guarantees–my job security is dependent on my own ability. Coasting isn’t an option; my livelihood depends on me being scrappy, relevant, on time and on point, always…in addition to delivering amazing work.

    I wonder if it’s just the vocabulary people are taking issue with. I guess if I had to rephrase it, I’d say something like, “You have to be passionate ENOUGH to get really good at something.” Not just have great dreams and build castles in the cloud and hope against hope for the best outcome. You have to work away without anyone even noticing for a looooong time. Sort of reminds me of Muhammad Ali’s quote: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I can’t wait to have you on Mixergy. Let’s talk when you’re ready. Got my contact info?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=622131989 Chris Robock


    I know many people that are great at their jobs, but hate it. They continue doing it because they’re scared to try something new. They’re afraid of trying, and failing. Most people, I think, have a passion that they don’t see as being something they can make a living at. Or they feel that they just aren’t good enough, smart enough, or whatever, to be able to succeed.

    Unfortunately, many of us have those friends or family members that mean well, but do everything they can to keep us doing what we’re doing, and not trying anything really new. New is scary. So they stick with what they’re doing, even if they hate it, and they’re miserable.

  • Rob Rawson

    I agree.

    If you’re passionate about something then you’re not going to be asking yourself “Am I passionate?”, you’re more likely to be already doing it!

    So it’s not really that “following” your passion is a problem, it’s just that spending time thinking and trying to analyze or search for what you are passionate about doesn’t make you passionate.

    Usually the reason why someone asks “What am I passionate about?” what they are really thinking is, “I don’t feel passionate right now, what am I passionate about so I can do that and feel passionate?”. The mind is trying to make you feel passionate but it will always fail because it’s trying to run away from the feeling of a lack of passion.

    Basically the only people who spend time thinking, “What am I am passionate about?” and trying to figure it out and search for their passion, are people who are NOT passionate and are searching for passion.

  • http://twitter.com/CroydonH harry croydon

    I agree that passion by itself is not enough – you have to be clever, smart, hard working etc – being just one of any of these things is never enough. Passion can get you in to lots of trouble clearly.

    I think there is a lot more detail here on the postings. Having a passion is important but I agree you need more to make that a successful business.

  • Richard Altman

    all that matters is start up money, if your idea is redundant you shouldn’t ever ask for it, this luxury of learning from failure is the most ridiculous maxim I’ve ever read/heard. a person should be honest and aware, anything less is an insult. i’d like to learn more about finding investors, practical things, not goto Adeo Ressi or some other thing, or these conventions that cost $1,500 to ‘talk’ with other geniuses. I want to know how do get people excited about potentially not getting a return on investment, in the short term. Any stories about people who have no extra money, getting the funds to build a prototype, and don’t mention oDesk. Thanks. Love the site and the straight faced ability to ask questions from people who have never met many articulate AND honest individuals. Thanks Andrew.

    to recap: no extra money, risky and inevitable percept/concept, where are these people who want to invest hiding, and which out of the 1 in 20 actually wants to dent the universe for real (again) not just puke by numbers or make enterprise bs

    again, thanks.

  • http://www.impactlogos.com.au Logo Design

    Ive read Cal’s book and he qualify’s his passion hypothesis by saying that your job has to have 3 key things to qualify for something you can turn into a craft. I cant remember them all but one is it has to enable you to be creative in your job and stand out from the crowd. So jobs like accounting dont generally cut it for becoming a master. He kind of has a proviso that yes you have to choose a job that can give you the chance at making a difference. Sos its the middle ground. Dont go for your absolute passion like I want to save the world before you have the skills and experience and mastery to make that happen. Start in a role that might lead that way in an industry you like and are drawn to. Its never black or white

  • fnthawar

    This advice goes against: http://hbr.org/1999/09/job-sculpting-the-art-of-retaining-your-best-people/ar/1

    After being a Product Manager at Microsoft and being rated Top 3 in the world, I can attest that being good at something doesn’t mean you’ll love it.

    I quit.

  • dustinmattison1974

    No, it’s not too late! I keep trying and learning from my mistakes. I am now teaching my students in China that they should focus on building their skill sets. I teach as I learn and try to practice what I teach. I continue to work on getting an online course ready for sale as well.

  • dustinmattison1974

    In Cal’s book he talks about situations where you shouldn’t keep at your work. I will have to look it up. By the way, does this course cover the same info that is in his book, or is there more?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I used the book as a basis for the program.

  • http://bradly.co.nz/ Gabriel Bradly

    Andrew I agree with the three points above, but the first tweet suggestion is misleading based on my experience running a ‘boring’ business. I started a business I didn’t believe in just to make money, for the worst of reasons as well – that I saw a several other people earning fantastic incomes in the business. Easily the worst decision of my life.

    I’ve now changed my mindset to become outstanding at five skills, Sales, PPC, SEO, Conversion and Copywriting in a similar vein to Steve Martin. I’m going to become so good that I can’t be ignored. I realized that ideas are essentially worthless, but the ability to execute on an idea is where all the money and value is. Take Steve Jobs for example. The MP3 players was around for years before Apple came out with the iPod. But Jobs had the skill set to execute a completely new way to enjoy music. He then applied that skills set to retail, telecommunications, music, movies and computers. Execution as Cal points out is where we should all focus.

    Thanks for the great content Andrew (I get so much value from your cheat sheets I should subscribe!)

  • http://www.admci.org/ ADMCi

    the juxtaposition of ‘digital’ and ‘craftsmanship’ is an unfortunately jarring combination today. we’re working on creating a ethos of craftsmanship in the digital arts. the thinking here is right in line with hundreds of years of knowledge and the next 100 years will likely be the same for actualization in the workplace… even as our ‘work’ is turned completely upside down by innovations, market disruptions, and massive process change. i’d suggest it’s the only way to find a peaceful path through it all.

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Love this comment. Thanks for posting.

  • http://lessonsdadnevertaughtyou.com/ Omar

    I always wondered why thought leaders spend so much time comparing “passion” and “skills” and make it a point to put them in a fighting battle. It seems like a lose lose battle.

    On surface level, they don’t seem like opposites. And based on the research, they aren’t opposites, but seem to merge.

    As a matter of fact, rofessor Robert Vallerand has done extensive research, who is the guru of passion and motivation, has defined passion as:

    Passion: “A strong inclination toward an activity that people like, find important, and in which they invest time and energy.”

    He has also formed the “Dualistic Model of Passion.” In the Dualistic Model of Passion Vallerand and other researchers, talk about 4 conditions necessary for you to have “passion” for something.

    The 4 Conditions for Passion based on the research are:

    1. Identity.
    The first condition is that you identify at least some how with the activity. You see it as part of your identify. So to have passion for something you should somehow see yourself identified with this thing.

    2. You value it.
    You value this thing in your life. You give it value whereas someone else might now.

    3. Love for it.
    You love doing this thing.

    4. Time investment.
    You find time for this activity and you actively invest time in your life to engage in this activity. If you don’t make time for it, researchers say you’re not really passionate.

    If you reflect it seems to be the exact model for one’s career or business work.

    I think it’s better that people merge them as is also mentioned in Robert Koch’s best-selling book: the 80/29 Principle.

    In the end, reading through the comments. I think what so many of us underestimate is where we derive our SELF ESTEEM and self worth like @AndrewRitchie mentioned what he learned from @DaneMaxwell.

    There are studies that demonstrate athletes who derive their self esteem from their performance in their work and goals have unstable self esteem.

    The research shows that deriving your self esteem from your performance in your career or work is not the best idea. Instead, you’re self esteem needs to be derived from a more stable source such as your character and your virtues.

    That’s what keeps you going.

    But so many of us lose our self esteem because we base it on what others say or think about us, or on what our co-workers or boss say or how we perform. When your self worth and self esteem needs to come from who YOU are and your values.

    In our day and age with the economy the way it is people are losing more and more passion and self worth because of the chase.

    I think if we step back and reflect on who we are we can build more self worth. Finally, based on the research it seems passion is a beautiful thing to have in life regardless of your “skills.”

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  • http://twitter.com/nomuu__ Simone

    That was a really interesting perspective. I kind of see where Cal is coming from. I think it’s true in some cases that to keep something ‘alive’ it needs an audience, paying customers and ability for one to control their work.

    Take my little business, that came to fruition about 3 years ago, I did some little drawings (with no passion or skill for it beforehand) put it online, people started to ask about them, and want to buy them. If those drawings had not sparked something in people, I would have just moved on to the next thing. Having recognition, sparked my interest and passion to continue on with it.

    However, I did go on a journey at that time to find my passion, so I think for me it was important to try lots of things…did I find my passion? I am not sure, I found something that I certainly enjoy and fits well with my personality. I think the whole package of the business, makes it really enjoyable for me, and so more passionate about it.

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Thanks for sharing your story, Simone

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