Why follow your passion is dangerous advice, you will know in the summary of So Good They Can’t Ignore You by author Cal Newport.
To prove this statement, Cal gives the example of Thomas.
Thomas always has an interest in philosophy. He did his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Theology and a master’s degree in Comparative Religion. He has a firm belief that Zen Buddism is his passion. He devoted his whole life to it, and for a living, he did some small jobs. He realized that his dream life will be to become a monk. Then he came to know about Zen Mountain Monastery. He applied there and within a few months, he got selected. He was very happy that finally, he would achieve peace and happinesss.
His life in the monastery was very simple. He wakes up early, did meditation, listened to senior monks’ lectures, and solve Buddist puzzles. And after a long time, he finally solved the most important Buddist puzzle and become a true monk. He realized that this is what he dreamt about, he has achieved his passion. He finally has become a monk. Then he realized that he still has anxiety and stress in his life. Finally, at this stage, he understood that following passion is a dangerous thing. And what we should do in our lives is a more complicated question than simply following your passion.
Cal Newport was obsessed with this question, why some people enjoy their work, and why other people don’t?
We have been told in most career advice to follow your passion but in Carl Newport’s research, he found that the main things that matter are the importance of ability, skills, and career capital.
Cal Newport says, forget about your passion and be good in your work so much that you become So Good They Can’t Ignore You. If you are able to do this, you will feel the passion for your work automatically.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You, gives us 4 practical rules to live our dream life.
1. Don't Follow Your Passion:
The passion hypothesis says that first, you should find what you’re passionate about then make that your career. But in research, we have found something else-
(I) Career Passions Are Rare:
Once a study was done on some students and in results, they found that 84 % of students have a passion for something but of that 84% only 4% have a passion that has a career.
(II) Passion Takes Time:
Those who have the highest job satisfaction are those people working for a long time in their fields. That means if you do something for a long time and become so good at it then you automatically start feeling passionate about it.
(III) Three Factors That Make You Like Your Job:
- Autonomy: This means how much control you have.
- Competence: How good you are at your work.
- Relatedness: How you feel with your colleagues.
2. Be So Good They Can't Ignore You:
Cal Newport tells us the difference between a Passion mindset and a craftsman mindset.
This passion mindset focuses on what I will get from my job, which is a selfish mindset.
But Craftsmen mindset works absolutely opposite and focuses on what value I can give. This way your focus remains on the end result and you keep on working with dedication and become so perfect at your work that no one can ignore you.
Cal Newport says if you want a good career then you need rare and valuable traits, also called Career capital. The author advises us that by continuously working on our skills we can build enough career capital to make it a successful career.
3. Turn Down A Promotion:
One of the major parts of a fulfilling career is control. We can get this control in two ways.
(1) Control Without Career Capital:
Understand it with this example, If you are a writer and you want to start a blog and leave your job then this way you get the control but indeed it is not a good idea. Because you don’t have career capital, you don’t have a good experience, and if your blog does not make money for you then you are in trouble.
(2) Control With Career capital:
In this way, you first understand if your work has a demand or not. And after deciding it you start building career capital and then this career capital brings with it control.
4. Think Small, Act Big (Have a Mission):
Many people have both, career capital and control but still, they don’t like their work. That is because they don’t have a mission to do something big. If you have a big mission and with your small steps you are moving towards it, this will give you a feeling of satisfaction.
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