How can I spend a life fulfilled with joy, Jubilance and satisafaction? If you ask this question to anyone, maximum chances are their people will say ‘ find your passion, do what you love ‘. It becomes more popular after the speech of Steve Jobs at stanford university where he said ‘ You have got to find what you love….The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle.’ Well, I am also one of the fan of that speech by Steve Jobs and believed strongly in passion hypothesis until recently I came across a book by Cal Newport ( I am now a fan of this man) where he suggested ‘Do what Steve Jobs did, not what he said‘. Steve Jobs had no passion regarding electronics or business in his earlier age, he studied western history and dance and dabbed in Eastern mysticism. And not only Jobs but if you look at the life any succesful person, majority of them had no predefined passion. They eventually found it with time.
Infact giving someone the advice ‘follow your passion’ can be dangerous sometimes. One might think their predefined passion (or right carrer) will appear to them like a flash of light, they just have to wait for that passion until they find it hopeless and stuck. Professor and author Cal Newport calls this ‘passion trap‘. He argues the reason so many people are miserable at their work is because they have ascribed to a misguided expectation: that once you find your passion everything will fall into place, it will be a smooth ride from there on. Whereas the reality is not that smooth.
So the major question is what should we do if not to just follow passion?
The author suggests three rules to find your a carrer that you love
1. Importance of skill- Passion is not the starting point, it’s the side effect of mastery. If you need some fulfilled and great carrer you need to offer some rare and valueable skills. Whereas a passion mindset thinks like ‘what the world can offer me’, we should embrace a craftsman mindset, who focus on ‘what I can offer to the world’. And to gain those rare and valueable skills you need deliberate practice. Athletes, Musicians, Chess players do the same.
2. The power of Control – Even with a craftsman mindset you may not feel great about your carrer if you don’t have control on what you do. It’s being a proven fact now that giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement and sense of fulfillment. However, there are control traps, it is dangerous to persue more control in your working life before you have enough skills to offer in exchange. The second control trap which warns, once you have enough skills to acquire more control in your working life you have become valueable enough to gain more autonomy. When you have enough skills (which are valueable, one easy way to find it is wheather people are willing to pay in return to the skills you offer) people will still try to keep you on a more traditional path, whereas gaining more control on of your carrer might be good for you. So think carefully before choosing or changing your working life.
3. The Importance of mission- It’s very difficult to lead to satisfied life for a long time if we don’t have any unifying mision in our life (which should not be just about yourself). But again to have a mission or purpose we must first have rare and valueable skills to offer ( which we can develop). Only when we develop required skills in our fields, we can take steps to fulfill a mission.
So what I have learned from this great book named ‘So good they can’t ignore you‘ is that the term Passion is very overrated. It’s very unlikely to have a preexisting passion in our lives. Passion can be developed. We must first focus to earn skills which are valueable. Even having skills and getting good is not enough, you have to use your ability wisely by seeking more control on your work. It requires little courage but return great rewards. And finally to lead a satisfied life we must use our skills to fulfil a purpose or mission which gives meaning to our work. Moreover not necessarily people can have a singlecentric passion. One can be good at several things. sometimes passion changes with time. So next time if someone ask you to find your passion, just say ‘the process is underway’. Have a great career. with♥