Don’t Follow Your Passion and Other Good Advice

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Career advice 101… follow your passion. Blah, blah, blah. My passion changes and what’s more.. there’s not much money in my passion for eating chocolate. So I am pleased to introduce you to Cal Newport’s new book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Cal is very smart young man who at the start of his career had some terrific choices.. MIT doctoral program or a job at Microsoft. He’s not really like the rest of us, so why should we listen to him?

Because he has some very good advice...

— #1 Don’t follow your passion

— #2 Be so good they can’t ignore you

— #3 Turn down that promotion

Counter-intuitive? yup? Against conventional wisdom? yes again. So what are we mere mortals to do? While I don’t agree with everything Cal writes, I especially like his… “be so good they can’t ignore you” advice. He focuses on having special skills but I would like to expand this idea. Be really good at what you do. I mean really good. Be a leader in your chosen field. Write blog posts, become a speaker, share information on LinkedIn.

But on top of that, be a person who is trusted and who cares about others. This is the secret sauce to a happy life. Passions change and skills need to be constantly updated, but a person who can gain quickly earn the trust of those around them is invaluable. Be genuine, be kind and find way to be of service.

Photo credit: WalterColley.com Banners from Rochester, NY East End Business District (Philipson Group)

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3 Comments

  • By Carl Hoffman, March 8, 2013 @ 7:43 am

    Thank you for keeping this blog alive, because it enriches my life. What you said here is excellent advice. You wrote: “I would like to expand this idea. Be really good at what you do. I mean really good. Be a leader in your chosen field. Write blog posts, become a speaker, share information on LinkedIn.
    But on top of that, be a person who is trusted and who cares about others. This is the secret sauce to a happy life. Passions change and skills need to be constantly updated, but a person who can gain quickly earn the trust of those around them is invaluable. Be genuine, be kind and find way to be of service.”

    You are right passions change. I have a garage full of former and present passions. All of them have deeply blessed my life. The good news two of our cars still comfortable fit there. Personally, I think my passion is what keeps me interesting as a human being. Recently, I have jumped in the deep end of the pool in painting. I have painted about 60 paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pastel mediums. I have taken 45 lessons and have attended many demonstrations and two workshops. In the last month I have come across the book “Painting as a Pastime” by Winston S. Churchill. He hit the nail on the head when he said, “Change is the master key, a man can wear out a particular part of his mind by continually using and tiring it, just the same way he can wear out the elbows of his coat.” I am using a different part of my brain with this passion and frankly my vocation is more enjoyable.

  • By Deborah, March 8, 2013 @ 7:55 am

    Hi Carl, Wow.. you are an inspiration. I love the Winston Churchill quote; that image is going to stay with me — those worn out elbows. I am busy with teaching, consulting and have a relatively new west coast client (who is also a relative), whose business I am helping to launch so I abandoned my blog for a few weeks but I hope I’m back! thank you for your support.

  • By handmade ethnic gifts, November 18, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time making a decision
    between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems
    different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.

    P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

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