#32 On Why You Shouldn't Follow Your Passion

#32 On Why You Shouldn't Follow Your Passion

Successful people are all passionate about what they do. Did they start out passionate? Or are they only passionate because they are successful?

In this week's episode, we uncover what it means to follow your passion, and if this career strategy will set you up for boom or bust.

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This video features Steve Jobs, Cal Newport, and Ben Horowitz in investigating whether you should follow your passion when choosing a career.

👇 Episode Takeaways

This week, we learnt that following your passion isn't the best idea for a few reasons.

  1. we sometimes don't have clear passions
  2. it's hard to tell if you are more passionate for X or Y
  3. your passions change over time
  4. not a lot of good evidence that matching the content of your work to a pre-existing interest is a major driver of satisfaction
  5. you might not actually be good at your passion (see: talent shows)
  6. most successful people did not follow this advice
  7. very 'me' centred view of the world

What I've learnt through interviewing people on Graduate Theory is that most people do not start their careers following their passion.

People often start with what they are good at, and find ways to develop passion for their work by providing value to society.

When you are good at what you do, you can use your higher market value to secure a better job with benefits that suit you. This, as well as connection and mastery at work are the kinds of things that lead to lasting fulfilment in your role.

When thinking about your career, don't start with your passions. Start with what you are good at and then build your career on the parts of that which bring you joy.

Don't follow your passion, become passionate about what you do.


Here are the videos and content that I used to help create this video.

📝 Content Timestamps

00:00 #32 Don't Follow Your Passion
01:29 Steve Jobs on Following Your Passion
02:08 Thoughts on Steve Jobs
04:18 Cal Newport on Following Your Passion
07:33 James on Cal's Advice
10:08 Ben Horowitz on Following Your Passion
12:44 James on Ben Horowitz
16:31 Scott Galloway on Following Your Passion  
18:13 Final Thoughts