• “Follow your passion” is bad advice for career development
  • With few exceptions, most passions aren’t sustainable as career options
  • Instead, become great at what you’re good at and passion will follow
It’s yet another shitty day at work.

The usual pattern of being slammed with work with short periods of lull is the norm. It’s like the eye of the storm where everything quiets down briefly before the chaos begins again.

And it’s during these calm moments that you zone out and daydream about ditching your bullshit job and “following your passion.”

It’s a daydream that often plays on repeat in your head.

You’ve got several real passions in life.

You love dining out.

And relatedly, you love cooking.

Traveling is another big one, especially to far off destinations.

Maybe, you’re a big fan of sports and would love to work in that industry.

Or, perhaps acting and/or entertainment is your thing.

It’s not that you hate your job. It’s just not something you look forward to. Things are so-so at work.

It’s not the worst thing in the world nor is it sunshine and rainbows either. There are periods of ups-n-downs at work. Good days and bad “SHTF” days. But, most of the time, it’s just meh.

It’s this uninspiring aspect of it all that constantly pokes your mind into thinking about pressing the ejection button and bailing on all of this.

This is normal and everyone goes through this all the time.

You’re not alone.

Why “Following Your Passion” Is The Worst Strategy

You’ve heard these career advice cliches countless times:

Follow your passion.

Pursue your dreams.

Do what you love.

The message behind these mantras is that the key to having a great career is to follow your passion to build one.

They’re all so motivational and inspiring, especially when you hate your fucking job or boss. It's a very effective infomercial-like hook: just do what you really enjoy, and you'll have a fulfilling life of work.

They all have good intentions behind them but it’s the worst kind of advice.

Here’s why.

1. Most Passions Are Hobbies 

When you ask anyone about what they’re passionate about, chances are really good that it’s a hobby or personal fandom on something.

The big hits are things related to food, travel, sports, entertainment, arts, music and recreation. They’re all reliable sources of happiness and joy.

Who wouldn’t love a job in any one of those categories, especially if it’s “your thing”?

You never hear anyone saying that their passion is unclogging toilets.

2. Not Everyone Has A Passion

For many people, they don’t have one particular passion that drives them. And this becomes a huge issue when the formula for success uses only one variable.

So, does this mean that if you don’t have a passion, you’re fucked? Shit outta luck? That you’ll be stuck at work doing the same thing for years?

Some people aren’t crazy enthusiasts on any particular thing. They may be more along the lines of having “interests” instead of “passions”. So, now what?

3. Passion Doesn’t Pay The Bills 

Starving artist.

Starving musician.

Starving actor.

Starving [fill-in-the-blank].

See the pattern here?

There’s a reason why this term is often tied to the arts and entertainment. There are millions of people that share these same passions and the barrier to entry is low - meaning, there’s a lot of competition for a slim market of opportunities.

What this means is that the few opportunities that are out there don’t pay shit.

Yes, there are exceptions to this and the top 1% do rake in the big bucks. It’s the Hollywood A-listers, pro-level athletes, etc. However, for the remaining 99%, it doesn’t pay the bills.

So, don’t ignore recruiters if they reach out to you. Real world opportunities pay the bills, not fantasy jobs.

4. Misleads You Into Thinking It’s Automatic

Many people think that passion is all you need to realize your dreams. With enough passion, things will eventually work out in your favor.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Watch this 2-minute video clip of famed NYU professor, speaker and author, Scott Galloway. He doesn’t sugar-coat this. He tells it to you straight up - no bullshit.

VIDEO: Galloway on follow your passion
YOUTUBE: Wave Your Arms
LENGTH: 2:10
Summary points:
  • Following your passion is bullshit
  • Find out what you’re good at and then commit to being great at it
  • Once you’re great at it, you’ll become passionate about it
There are other essential ingredients to making a successful career. You need big heaping amounts of grit, perseverance and discipline. In other words, you gotta get in the zone every day and work your fuckin’ ass off - pure and simple.

Success isn’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter.

5. Blinds You To Other Opportunities

Probably one of the worst aspects of following the advice of pursuing your passion is that it puts blinders on you. It stops you from considering other non-passion opportunities that come across your path that you’re actually good at.

When you’ve got the blinders on, you're not considering and trying out different options. Or, even more simply, you’re not investing in improving your skills and taking them to the next level.

You’re staying on a one-way bumpy road and ignoring the alternate side routes.

These other opportunities are usually unglamourous. However, it’s these kinds of opportunities that will help you strengthen what you’re good at for what the job market needs.

And, when you become great at it, the employment market rewards you even more to keep doing it.

When you keep the passion blinders on, you miss out on this.

The Better Way: Match What You’re Good At & What The Market Needs

Does the employment market need someone who is a passionate expert on medieval role playing?


Does the market need people that know how to write code, drive a semi, wire electrical lines?

Yes to all three - but not all together. That’d be a crazy combo!

The message - your passion probably isn’t something the market needs. What the market needs are specific skill sets.

Comedian Chris Rock gives his hilarious take on this in the 2-minute video clip below.

VIDEO: Chris Rock 2018
YOUTUBE: Canzo Awesome TV
LENGTH: 2:23
Summary points:
  • Students are lied to every year with “be anything you want to be”
  • It’s time to start telling kids the truth about careers
  • You can be anything you’re good at as long as they’re hiring
The key to a successful career is to find out what you’re good at that the job market needs more of. It could be one or a combination of several things.

In fact, if you can create a unique combination of skills that the market needs that very few people have, then you’ve essentially turned the tables of opportunity in your favor.

It’s like the nursing assistant that not only can help patients with their physical healthcare needs but also provides pet therapy.

Or, a logistics shipping administrator that knows how to program predictive modeling to optimize operations.

The point here is to know what you’re good at and match that up with where there are opportunities in the market where that skill is needed.

Become Great At What You Do & Passion Will Follow

Most people don’t have a singular passion that provides guidance in their career and telling them to “follow your passion” is just stupid advice. It only adds to their anguish and makes it harder to manage work stress.

And even if they did, chances are that it’s not something that they can generate a consistent income from, much less a long career.

Passion starts coming into play when you’re kicking ass and making progress at becoming great at what you do. It rarely shows up if you don’t put in the effort. It’s definitely not gonna show up while you’re binge-watching Netflix.

Instead of following your passion or waiting for it to show up, find something you’re good at that the job market needs and keep working at it. Become so amazing at it to the point that people have to notice it and say, “damn, you’re really good at that.”

This creates a positivity cycle at work. When you get rewarded for what you’re great at, you do it more and it feeds the cycle again. It makes your job more fulfilling and awesomer.

Do this long enough and we guarantee that your particular passion will grow from your efforts.

Feel Better,

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