By Cal Newport
The below are the main points that resonated with me Cals’ excellent book. If you like the below please do check out his book available from his website
So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary; “Follow Your Passion” is Terrible Advice
Lots of people tell you to follow your passion. Find out what you love to do, and your career will sort itself out.
The author questions whether this is correct.
He discusses a 2002 study where 84 out of 100 Canadian students asked said they had passions.
However, most of the passions had no viable relationship to careers, but were more hobbies i.e. skiing, dancing, reading. Only 4 of the 84 said they had passions that could be linked to realistic careers.
Passion is rare.
Newport talks about the danger of this ‘passion hypothesis’.
Many people now switch jobs more frequently because they think they should do a job they love. He talks about people looking for work ‘you were meant to do’ is likely to turn into constant job hopping and self-doubt.
Also, lots of people who don’t have a passion end up with perfectly fulfilling careers.
Not sure what you want to do for a career? If so, check out my post on 11 Effective Tips to Find the Right Career For You
So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary; Learn to Love What You Do, by Mastering it
If ‘following your passion’ won’t lead you to a career you love, what will?
Newport contends the happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion, but instead are those who have been around long enough to become great at what they do.
The author gives the example of a survey of college administrative assistants that found experience to be the key to job satisfaction.
The people who loved their job the most were the ones with the most experience.
He makes the point that passion comes with time; you are more likely to enjoy your work when you have become good at it and developed strong relationships with co-workers.
When you have mastered something, the chances are you will be passionate about it.
The Theory of Self Determination states that there are three factors that lead to increased job satisfaction;
Having control over what you do and how you do it
Being good at what you do
Feeling connected to other people
The author contends that if you master your job the above three factors will be present.
To gain the necessary expertise you don’t need passion, you just need to work hard.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary; Adopt a Craftsmans’ Mindset
The craftsman mindset is treating your job as a craft: focus on gaining rare and valuable skills until you ‘become so good they can’t ignore you’.
It means thinking that quality breeds success.
Instead of focusing on the things you don’t like, ask yourself ‘What value can I bring to this job?’
Focus on the quality of your work instead of spending lots of time trying to figure out your true calling.
How do you attract success? Read how many famous people use the age old technique of ‘Creative Visualisation’
So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary; People with rare skills are more likely to get great jobs
How do you get these skills? You need to be constantly soliciting feedback from colleagues and professionals. Do projects where you’ll be forced to show your work to others.
Like the old adage ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, the same goes for careers.
Instead of trying to find your passion or mission right away, pursue small and achievable projects that allow you to make progress step by step.
To maximize your chances of success, these projects should be small concrete experiments that return concrete feedback.
Choose those with the highest likelihood of leading to outstanding results.
If you found the above advice helpful and want more, check out the advice of 100 graduates 10 years out of university in my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’.
You can get the free ebook version here.