Be so good, they can't ignore you.
This is not just advice, it's the name of a book by Cal Newport.
As the title suggests, the book made me curious to learn how can I become so good in my work that the world would begin to recognize it's worth.
But the book isn't just about being good. It's main premise is that passion mindset is overrated or in Cal Newport's words, it's BAD career advice.
The entire book is about examples or case studies that illustrate his point. He says that instead of looking for pleasure or value that a job can give you, you must begin by what you can bring to the job. It doesn't matter what your job is, you must only worry about becoming better at it instead of looking for passion because very few people are born with passions and talents.
This got me thinking about my personal experience and my preference to chose passion first. There was once a time, in my early twenties when I was ignoring my passions and living my life based on other people's idea of success. I had jobs, I had money but I had no direction.
Since 2012 things changed when I held the first copy of my first paperback in my hands.
Working under the creativity and innovation umbrella, often the idea mindset is questioned. There are people with too many ideas and sometimes too many passions, who never work hard enough to turn their ideas into reality.
I agree with the idea of being so good at your work that you dominate your niche. But I also believe that we are all born with certain likes, qualities and biases which can also be termed as inherent talents and strengths.
For example, me as a waitress = your worst nightmare.
OK, may be not as bad as Tammy but I'm slow, I'm an introvert while serving food to strangers and I'm bad with calculations and need a device to assist me.
Contrary to that, give me a mic and a non-drunk, curious audience and I will steal your heart.
If for some reason, I had to work as a waitress for my entire life, I'd obviously have to put up with it, as I'd have to pay the bills and no matter how hard I tried, I might only improve from a 2 to 3. I can never reach from 2 to 9.
Cal Newport calls it the 'craftsman mindset' in his book. Just like a craftsman doesn't give up until the piece of craft has reached perfection in the exact way he wants, one needs to develop that mindset of honing and polishing their work so much that the world can't ignore them anymore.
This is the reason why creativity and innovation are not one and the same thing although used interchangeably by many. Creativity is the idea part where a new idea pops up or you combine two existing ideas to make one brand new idea. However, innovation is about creating something that can be sold and can sustain the business. Moreover, raw creativity, within itself is of very less value.
It requires extreme hard work and perseverence to turn those ideas into reality, test them and convince someone to invest in them. The craftsman mindset is the basic ingredient of innovation, without doubt.
The point I'm making is that the hours of hardwork that go into a project, can only be survived when you're working on something that you feel connected with, something that you are passionate about.
Unless you have a personal interest in that work, it's only going to be a chore and you'll just wait for the clock to strike 5 so you can clock out. Why else do you think Garfield exists?
The bare minimum will always be done, but nothing else. No new inventions, no new ideas will ever come up because no one would want the hard work that comes along with it.
To develop a new rule, you've to MASTER the existing ones.
But when you're just doing enough to pass by, you never master anything. Why do you think there are so many tech billionaires and internet wealthy in this generation? Because from the very young age, they recognized what motivated them and what talents they had & without wasting much time, they went for it. Did you know Elon Musk self taught himself computer programming at the age of 12?
This is not to suggest that there is anything as an 'overnight success' because even the child who plays flawless piano at 12, actually started at 3. It takes years of practice to reach that level of flawlesness but it begins from the core- the personal passions.
This is also not to suggest that one person can be a master of only one thing. I believe in that word Emilie Wapnick advocates; MULTI-POTENTIALITE. Just like Da Vinci was. There can be few different areas in which a person can excel. Multiple passions are great.
Can Jennifer Lopez be as good a car race driver as she is a singer and an actoress?
Can LeBron James do bailet as well as he plays basketball?
Can Miriyam Mirzakhani be a renaissance painter as good as she is a mathematician?
You put a gun to someone's head and of course they will do whatever it takes to get away by doing the least minimum, but the world has enough people who do the bare minimum.
The world needs people with such passion who would work even without pay because they love their work so much. And when people do work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home.
What do you think? Do you have a job that combines passion and hustle or is it all hustle and no passion?
Please share your thoughts.
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