Forget ‘finding your passion’
I’ve been reading Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. In it, Newport makes a methodical case for undermining the find your passion in order to do what you love approach to work.
I generally support his view as I’ve written on the topic of finding your most meaningful work by looking not at where your passion lies, but at what you know you do well already.
It takes a bit of explanation, but I maintain that what we do well is determined by our genetic material, namely our DNA.
Here’s how I see it:
- We are predetermined via our DNA toward doing certain things well
- If we engage these natural talents and abilities and nurture them via practice and training, we can learn to do these well
- There are some abilities that come more naturally to us than others, again via our genetics
- Those activities that place us in a sense of flow where we lose all track of time and space (for me it’s writing and teaching) can be labeled our most meaningful work
Newport doesn’t get into this level of detail, but he does agree that passion is developed over time via what he calls deliberate practice.
Newport’s book is an assault on workplace mediocrity
I applaud him for writing this book; for so meticulously setting out for anyone willing to read this important book just how to create a career that you feel passionate about.
It’s not via an in-born passion, but rather the deliberate result of working to obtain master status like champion chess players.
I think this is very important, especially now in this time of political upheaval. I’m writing about this because I think it’s important for each of us to strive daily to do what we do best better than anything or anyone else.
There is no such thing as a safe job, a lifetime employer, or even a pension plan (with rare exception). Now is the time to wake up to the fact that the state, your employer, nor your family is going to take care of you in the long-term.
If you truly want to the security of a lifetime plan, then you need to become so good they can’t ignore you.