Is ‘Following Your Passion’ Overrated?

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In this day and age, one of the most popular ideas when it comes to building a career is that you should follow your passion. People who endorse this idea say cliches such as that when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. However, American author Cal Newport begs to differ. In his popular book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Newport argues that following your passion is a misleading concept that’s actually overrated.

Build Rare and Valuable Skills Instead

Newport argues in his book that while some people do have pre-existing passions, not everyone does. Furthermore, he states that it’s not enough to be “passionate” about something, because that in fact doesn’t guarantee happiness in one’s work, and it also doesn’t guarantee success.

Rather, Newport believes in the importance of building rare and valuable skills overtime, regardless if a person is passionate about it. He states that the more rare and valuable skills a person builds, the more they’ll be able to invest those skills into something called “career capital”, which can then enable a person to have more control and freedom in their career.

To paraphrase even further, Newport continues that one can actually grow to become passionate about a career as a result of building those rare and valuable skills—rather than the opposite approach of figuring out a pre-existing passion and following it blindly.