Why skills are more important than passion in getting the work you will love

There is a long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. But it actually might be just a flawed cliche. It can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic hopping from one job to another.

Background and problem

Preexisting career passions are rare. Most passions (like reading) cannot be translated into a career. They have little to do with how most people end up loving their work.

Steve Jobs who was well-known for “follow your passions”, didn’t start off loving computers, instead, he only saw it as an opportunity to earn quick cash. There was no doubt his love for Apple computers in the later stages of his life, but he surely didn’t start off because he had a passion for the computer.

But how do people end up loving what they do?


The passion mindset The craftsman mindset
Makes you hyper-aware of what you don’t like about your job, and creates confusion on constantly questioning whether this is the right job: “Is this who I really am?” or “Do I love this?”. And you might irrationally jump into a field where you don’t have any skills to leverage, but you think that you have passion in (e. g., yoga). Becoming better and improving the quality of what you produce. It focuses on becoming so good they can’t ignore you, regardless of what you do for a living. You approach your work as a true performer on a daily basis. You simply do whatever you are doing really well.

The solution

Adopt the craftsman mindset first, and then the passion follows. If you want a great job, you need to build up rare and valuation skills (aka career capital) to offer in return. When you have developed skills that are too valuable to be ignored, then you get to choose a great job, the one that is rich with creativity, impact, and control.

So, your goal is to acquire as much career capital as possible, then more opportunities would come.

This summary is inspired after reading and based on the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

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