Mark Cuban says “follow your passion” is the worst career advice
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Mark Cuban says “follow your passion” is the worst career advice

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It is often said that you should follow your passion when it comes to your career. Unfortunately, while this slogan is repeated in self-help books, graduation speeches, and career coaches, it’s not the best strategy. It might just be the worst advice you can get.

When asked by Adam Grant for the “worst career advice you’ve ever received,” Mark Cuban replied, “Follow your passions. No. Follow your efforts. Nobody gives up something they are good at. If I followed my passion, I would still try to play professional basketball.”

Cuban is not alone in this attitude. Three Stanford researchers found that pursuing your passion can lead to narrow-mindedness hindering your success.

To further illustrate this point, let’s dig deeper into why “follow your passion” is bad career advice.

See also: 7 life lessons from my entrepreneurial journey

A passion for something only indicates interest in it.

It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest with a passion, especially one that pays dividends in a career or business. Unfortunately, it’s rare that someone already has that kind of passion.

In So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in Searching for Work You Love, Cal Newport writes, “Telling someone to follow your passion is dangerous.” As many as have successful companies, this advice probably led to more failed companies than all recessions combined.”

That’s because most passions aren’t based on effort, they’re based on interest. Sport is a passion for many people. Maybe you are one of them, like Cuban.

“I used to be a passionate baseball player. Then I realized I had a 70-mph fastball,” says Cuban. FYI, it’s not uncommon for competitive major league pitchers to throw fastballs at speeds in excess of 90 mph.

“I used to be passionate about being a professional basketball player. Then I realized I had a 7-inch vertical,” says Cuban. In 2017, for example, all of the top NBA draft contenders had a vertical jump of over 40 inches.

“There are many things I am passionate about. Many,” says Cuban.

Ultimately, is that passion worth the effort we put into it? In terms of talent, knowledge and skills, how much effort do we put into improving them? Not much for many.

In short, passion just shows that you care.

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We assume that we will only be passionate about one thing in life.

It’s not uncommon for people to have more than one interest in life. Unfortunately, when you choose one passion, you leave no room for other passions that still need to be explored.

Also, passions change over time. Throughout our lives we evolve. It’s possible to look back on what we once loved with fond memories (or perhaps not so fond memories). As we change, our passions change too.

It is assumed that we already know what our passions are.

Most people cannot describe a passion and how it relates to a career. There are many people like you out there who are going through this. People rarely find a passion until they’ve spent time, educated themselves, and done various jobs.

The unknown of your passion can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. It can make those who haven’t found it feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. By the way, that’s not true.

It implies that passion should come easily or that your “dream job” is waiting for you.

You should know your strengths and know what you take for granted when looking for a job. If you think you can use these skills professionally, you should consider the types of professional positions you can hold.

Even if you don’t yet know your strengths, it’s okay to experiment and see what works best for you. It is better to develop passions yourself than to chase them.

Related: How to Leave Room for Error and Create a Successful Work Environment

Maybe you don’t have the right attitude.

dr Paul A. O’Keefe, assistant professor of psychology at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, was part of a team that conducted a 2018 study examining how different people perceive “implicit theories of interest” and how people discover new passions.

There are two interesting theories:

  • The Fixed Theory: argues that our interests are relatively stable and unchanging.
  • The growth theory: argues that our interests evolve over time.

It found that people who subscribe to a fixed theory were less likely to realize that pursuing a new interest would be challenging, and they lost interest more quickly than those who subscribe to a growth theory. It is generally believed that given enough time, effort and investment by those with a growth mindset, interests and passions can develop.

“It depends on the expectations people have when pursuing a passion,” said Dr. O’Keefe. “Someone with a firm attitude towards interest can begin their pursuit with great enthusiasm, but it can flag when things get too challenging or boring.”

Also see: Launching Your Business: The Tools, Resources, and Mindset You Need to Succeed

There’s no guarantee that you’re good at something just because you’re passionate about it.

There is no better example of this than American talent shows. If you don’t excel in your chosen passion, you will have a hard time succeeding. Just think how many passionate singers you’ve seen from shows like American Idol. And it could hurt you in the long run.

TutorBright founder Sunny Verma said that when “desire drives your actions, which in turn align with your beliefs, then great things start to happen.”

“When we’re not inherently good at something, it becomes really easy to label ourselves, ‘I’m just not good at what I’m trying to do.’ Then we carry that mindset of learned helplessness with us into adulthood, and if we don’t succeed on the first or second try, we think it’s better to quit,” he added.

Hence, we internalize this fear of failing and being terrible at something that makes it difficult to enjoy the struggles and difficulties necessary to grow. According to Mr. Verma, positive psychology techniques such as affirmations and encouragement need to be emphasized.

Once you turn your life’s passion into a job, it becomes just that: a chore.

It’s possible for a passion you once held dear to lose its luster if you do it out of habit and for financial reasons. It is possible to have a passion that is not a job but more of a hobby.

I’ll give you an example. A childhood friend of mine was always passionate about cooking. He’s loved it since he was a kid – much to the chagrin of my mother – who often woke up with a sink full of dirty dishes when he slept.

Anyway, he finally opened his restaurant. And he doesn’t have that love for cooking anymore. In fact, he eventually refused to cook at home because it reminded him of work.

Another interesting thing happened. He also had to devote time to chores outside of the kitchen. When he first opened the restaurant, he was responsible for tasks such as payroll, scheduling, taxes and inventory. As a chef, he didn’t commit to this when he opened his restaurant. But these extra “duties” are essential to running a business.

Related: Why a growth mentality is essential for success and how to change the way you think

The money doesn’t always follow.

“For years I believed, ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’ I would lose money on projects and say, “Don’t worry, the money will follow.” I had to unlearn that lesson the hard way,” Steve Griggs, founder and CEO of Steve Griggs Design, previously told Entrepreneur.

It is important to understand the financial aspects of any business. Remember, it’s okay to make a profit. After all, profit is the lifeblood of any business. “Instead of just ‘doing what you love,’ I say, ‘be fair, honest and benefit from it,'” adds Griggs.

See also: How to realistically make money from your passion

Not everyone has the privilege of finding their passion.

For some people, money is not a necessity. Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to receive a large inheritance, or perhaps you are content with your means. For the vast majority of the working class, money determines what career you choose until you are sufficiently established to choose other options.

So think about what you value in the present, such as B. Remote work, unlimited paid time off, or flexible working hours. By receiving these benefits, you may have a little more time to pursue your passions. As an example, let’s say you can work from home a few days a week. Since you don’t have to commute on these days, you can use this time to develop your passions.

Instead of passion, focus on effort.

Rarely does passion arise without significant effort, because effort leads to improvement and mastery of something.

Your hobbies and interests are clear evidence of what’s close to your heart. You don’t experience things or events in your life passively – you deal with them actively in your free time. Cuban would say you’ve already made an effort.

“The things I ended up being really good at were the things I struggled at. A lot of people talk about passion, but you really don’t need to focus on that. You really have to evaluate and say, ‘Okay, where am I putting my time?’” Cuban explains.

“Because if you look at where you invest your time, where you make an effort, then those tend to be the things you’re good at. And if you put in enough time, you tend to get really good at it,” he adds.

It’s easier to enjoy something you’re good at, says Cuban. A snowball effect occurs when effort and skill are combined.

“If you put in enough time and get really good, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Nobody gives up something they’re good at because it’s fun to be good. It’s fun to be one of the best,” assures Cuban.

“But to be among the best, you have to make an effort. So don’t follow your passions, follow your effort,” says Cuban.

“I’ll let you in on another secret: the only thing in life you can control is your effort,” he adds.

Take small steps to improve, learn, and grow, and give it some structure. The harder you try, the more enthusiastic you become. The more passionate you become. And in the end, developing talent and experience will help you turn a passion into a new job or business.