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Cal Newport on why you should *not* follow your passion

Growth happens outside of your control area

When people want to get better at something they make a mistake by seeking flow: It’s enjoyable, you feel like you have control. But the actual state in which you’re getting better is one of where you feel uncomfortable.  

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Cal Newport on why you should *not* follow your passion

Cal Newport on why you should *not* follow your passion

https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/04/interview-author-cal-newport-on-how-you-can-become-an-expert-and-why-you-should-not-follow-your-passion/

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Key Ideas

Growth happens outside of your control area

When people want to get better at something they make a mistake by seeking flow: It’s enjoyable, you feel like you have control. But the actual state in which you’re getting better is one of where you feel uncomfortable.  

For lasting success, abandon the passion mindset for the craftsman's mindset

The passion mindset asks “What does this job offer me?".The craftsman's mindset finds joy in developing news skills and then puts them to work, by asking “What am I offering the world?

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Don't follow your passion
The main flaw of  “finding your passion” presupposes that interests and passions are fixed, rather than fluid and evolving as we age and gain wisdom and experience. 
The problem with following your passion
  • It ignores the market. Unless you have a trust fund waiting for you, you’ll have to feed yourself and others. 
  • It will turn a passion into a job. 
Learn from Startups
  1. Identify real needs in the market that are currently not being well met. 
  2. Assess your strengths: Whatever is easy for you that most others have a harder time with, that’s a worthy option.
  3. Match up these two in a constantly iterative process: This process takes many years if not decades.

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“Follow your passion” might be bad advice
  • “Follow your passion” is frustratingly meaningless if, like many people, you don’t have a passion to follow.

  • We don’t have much evidence that matching your job to a p...

What Deep Work Is

A process of performing “professional activities…in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve ...

Shallow work

The non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted, tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.

Recognizing our limited willpower

...is the first element of deep work.

That means you won’t have the mental discipline to stay concentrated on a single task unless you prepare your mind and environment to it.

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Developing our strengths

Although we usually see our weaknesses as more changeable than our strengths, research shows that we should not focus on improving our weak parts, but to develop our strengths.

Identifying strengths

Try to see your strengths in relation to what energizes you. Something is a strength if: 

  • it makes you feel successful
  • you're drawn to it
  • it fully engages you
  • after doing that activity, you feel energized and fulfilled.
Ask the people around you

It's difficult for us to see our own strengths, but people around us (friends, coworkers, family members, mentors) will most likely see them clearly.

The goal is to identify things that you wouldn't have thought of on your own—or to find patterns.

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Digital minimalism
Digital minimalism

It means using technology with more intention and purpose.

It's a “philosophy of technology use” rooted in reclaiming control and intention back from the devices and platforms that hav...

Techno-maximalism

It promtes the basic idea that technological innovations can bring value and convenience into your life.

It just looks at the positives. And it's view is more is better than less, because more things that bring you benefits means more total benefits. 

Putting FOMO into perspective

If you want to maximize the amount of value you feel in your life, you want to put as much of your time and effort as possible into the small number of things to give you huge rewards. 

When you think about it that way, fear of missing out looks like, just mathematically speaking, a really bad strategy.

The Effects Of Burnout
The Effects Of Burnout

One of the worst things burnout does is to take away the pleasure you once had in your work. And even after recovering you might not recapture the same enthusiasm you once had.

...
What Makes a Job Satisfying
  • Engagement
  • Benefitting other people
  • Work you’re good at (and feel valued for)
  • Flexibility and control
  • Chances for meaningful collaboration.
Work As Identity

Work is seen as a source of income and a source of identity. This increases the likelihood of burnout, as it makes a failure in one mean a failure in both.

Blurring the lines between personal and professional life leads us to chase unrealistic deadlines, take on overwhelming workloads, and bring work into all other parts of our lives.

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Cherish your life
Cherish your life

Everybody is aware, in a certain measure, of the different truths life provides us with. One of them, which is also the scariest, is related to the fact that eventually, we all die. 

How...

Work hard, live longer

One of the biggest truths you will ever come to realize is that hard work, ambition and targets give actual meaning to your life. 

Furthermore, once you have given a purpose to your work, you will most certainly see that motivation goes a long way into making someone's life more interesting to live.

There is a limit to happiness

Whoever believes that happiness knows no bound is in for a big surprise: happiness, like everything in this world, knows limits and very often we perceive this fact maybe just a bit too harsh. 

In order to enjoy life and to get to feel happy, as much as it is possible, one should first be able to deal with difficult situations. Therefore, maturity tends to be seen as the key to ensuring a satisfactory life.

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Passion is key to success

Passion seems to be essential for success and happiness.
Psychologists have devised tools that can measure passion to some extent. Questions were chosen that carefully differentiate passion f...

A career without passion

While some people have a clear calling from an early age, many spend their whole careers without having ever discovered their passion.

The most basic foundation of passion is an intense interest in what you're doing.

Mindsets
Some people tend to see their abilities as fixed, that you either have a talent for something or you don't. Others have a growth mindset where they believe that abilities can change over time.

These mindsets determine how we face challenges: We either give up when we are faced with difficulties or we persevere knowing that we will improve over time.

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Shockingly Unproductive
  • Studies show that employees spend more than five hours per day reading and replying to emailsWhile it may seem like urgent work, email is not the best kind of work.
Facilitate Deep Work

A few smart strategies that can be deployed:

  1. Installing pods for deep work while having common areas for collaborative work.
  2. Wearing headphones that are easily seen to signal that you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Turning your office into a library, following the same culture of quietness where everyone is hushed and respectful.
Email is not Real Work

Real work, by definition, should be rare, valuable and cognitively demanding.

Email does not check any of these boxes, and is, therefore, a pseudo work.

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Meaning in Life
  • Many of us struggle with finding meaning, as we are busy with our daily work and distractions.
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Meaningful Work

21–35% of our life is spent at work, making it a crucial part of our lives to spend at something we find meaning in.

Meaningful work should be:

  • Motivating and purposeful.
  • Should be coherent and make some sense.
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Meaningful work is when we feel a genuine connection with what we do for a living and our larger spectrum of life.

It is motivating, creates deep relationships and helps others.

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