Passion or skill, what comes first?

How many times have we heard the advice to “seek a job in what really excites us, as if it were easy to achieve, I say find that job, but knowing what really excites us when we are starting our careers. If they had followed that advice literally, perhaps many of the most successful companies or entrepreneurs would not have existed.

Passion, often, it is not a divine inspiration that comes from the sky, like a heavenly call, but takes years, even decades of hard work until their appearance. The important thing is to focus on doing the things we do in the best way possible, improve the process, skills, cultivating our strengths until it reaches the time, the simple fact of doing things well, can result in the passion that all we look for in our careers.

In his book So Good They Can not Ignore You, Cal Newport argues that we should not pursue our passion, but let that passion finds us, stressing that workers are experiencing that feeling which have persisted for so long, improving its profession, doing things as well as they enjoy that level of performance they have achieved.

Obviously, not all jobs or jobs allow us to reach that level of abilities and skills, because in many of them, just so we just rudimentary tasks that do not allow us to advance our performance level. So, to get to that point, where passion could find us, we need to work in jobs that meet certain requirements, to keep us motivated long enough to reach that pinnacle. Such work should give us enough autonomy to feel that somehow control the work we do at work.

In a job where you send your superiors, tell you what you must do 100 percent of the time, does not leave a minimum of space to think freely, to develop our own ideas about what is possible. Without this autonomy, motivation decreases to such an extent that, at the first change, any similar offer will we make the jump to a new job or, which is the same for these workers, a check to make ends meet. Obviously, almost none of these employees spend enough time on these tasks to convertirses masters of nothing.

Which brings us to the second point: competition. Indispensable to enjoy that passion at work requirement is to be responsible in what we do, have acquired a high level in the skills required. And very intelligent and faster than we are, become someone competent in any field of work requires time, time to learn, practice, and eventually form our own ideas and techniques on our business, while we are able to share that competition with co-workers or making life better for our customers.

In the third and final requirement, we find the social aspect, with the need for us all humans to be part of a group. If all this autonomy or freedom to improve, and all that competition results in something we only benefits us, something that we do not share with anyone, it will lack that ingredient that makes us human. The ability to connect with other colleagues or even the ability to positively affect other lives, we will provide the final granite recipe ideal for eligible work, someday, to feel that passion for what we do.


So Good They Can not Ignore You. Cal Newport