Those with successful careers such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Marc Cuban embrace the “don’t follow your passion” advice when it comes to growing a career. Here are a few reasons why following your passion can be ineffective as a career advice and what to do instead.
Focus on Effort
The “follow your passion” advice assumes that our passion is inside of us organically. This can lead to frustration when we’re not “feeling” it. The reality is that for some, passion comes from effort. For Cuban, instead of using passion as your north star, look to effort and how you allocate time.
“Look at where you apply your time. … You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you.”Cuban | CNBC
If you’re worried that you don’t have passion, think of it as something that needs cultivating. Most of the things we are passionate about, we tend to be good at. It doesn’t mean that we’re born with some talent; rather, we work on it constantly that we progressively improve. Eventually, we become great at it.
This reminds us that finding your passion doesn’t always mean earth shattering revelation and constant high. Rather, it’s finding the spark in our daily grind. James Clear’s Atomic Habits has some useful advice about becoming good at something through habit formation.
Reason and Passion
Advice on following your passion in building a career can sometimes be financially impractical, such as quitting your job to follow a passion. Schwarzenegger disagrees with throwing caution to the wind when it comes to pursuing a dream career. Instrumental to his success, he credits working on his business while trying to make it in Hollywood.
“I was making money from real estate, and that gave me the power to wait for the roles I wanted,” he said. “But this is why I always say don’t listen to these ‘follow your passion people’ who tell you to quit your job and jump off the deep end.”Schwarzenegger | Fortune Magazine
What We Call Passion is Hard Work
Professor and entrepreneur, Scott Galloway, in an interview with CNN thinks that follow your passion is “b***sh**” advice, especially for the young embarking on their careers. His point of view:
“When someone tells you to follow your passion, they’re already rich.”
“Endure the sacrifice, perseverance, injustice that is guaranteed in the workplace and become great at something…something that people who will pay you for.”
“If you become great at something, the accruements of being great, prestige, economic security, reliance, pride, camaraderie will make you passionate about whatever it is.”
He warns that people mistake passion for hobbies. We have to face the fact that work is hard. If you hate something, you’ll never be great.
In society, we tend to romanticize passion. But the reality of developing passion is grounded in consistency, resilience, and plain hard work. I guess instead of asking what you’re passionate about. One should ask, what are you willing to work super hard for?
I wish I knew about this logic when I was younger.
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