I still remember a speech that Steve Jobs gave at a university regarding passions. He said, “You’ve got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.”
It sounds simple. After all, it’s been passed around so often that it has become a common phrase that we need to find our passion before we find our dream job. And it makes sense. But it’s not entirely true.
For example, Steve Jobs original goal was not to change the world of technology. He and his Pal just wanted to make money by selling circuit boards, and one thing led to another. Before he knew it, Apple was created.
In the end, it’s not really what your passions are, but what you dedicate your skills too. There’s a 40 year study known as the “self-determination theory,” which means if you’re very good at something, chances are you’ll feel passionate about it too. If you invest your time into a skill you want to learn and become really good at it, you gain a sense of control over it and yourself.
Although we have a variety of things we enjoy doing, it’s the skills that lets us be in control of the situation that makes us feel special. It’s feeling that we have the capabilities to control something and we’re good at it. For anyone a Breaking Bad fan, part of the main reason Walter White gets so deep in the drug business is because he was good at it and it made him feel alive. But we’re not trying to persuade people into that field, so we’ll drop it.
A problem many people face is trying to determine what their passions are in the first place. They spend years trying to figure out what their special talent is. But like a house, you have to hone and build those skills yourself. This is the beginning process of taking control of your passion and making it yours.
Back when I was a child, I needed some extra money so I could buy this video game I wanted at the time. Of course I didn’t really the money so I created a small candy business. I wasn’t into business at the time, but I stuck with it to see where it’ll take me. And by the end of the week, not only did I made the money to buy the game I wanted, I had some more leftover to buy more candy for next week.
But I remember it wasn’t the game I was most excited about. It was the feeling of accomplishment that gave me a great feeling. It was knowing I could start something small and build it up to reach my goals. I would have continued selling candy, but the school eventually caught me and I had to stop.
Now I will admit that there are people who found a career in a passion they originally had since childhood. After all, there’s people like Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan as living examples. And let’s not forget our writers, professional athletes, and YouTube pranksters. But those are people who make the exception to the rule. And you might be someone like that too. But for the vast majority of people, following their passion for playing Call of Duty or shopping isn’t going to help.
And I know. This isn’t really the answer you wanted to hear. Nobody wants to hear that they can’t make a living off of eating food or taking selfies because it’s like being that one party pooper nobody likes. But let’s look at this in another way.
1. You can imagine how great it’ll be to work 3 days a week playing Call of Duty and drinking Mountain Dew. You can imagine how rich you’ll be and how everyone who loves you for playing Call of Duty like a BOSS. You can even think about what the world can offer you because of your passion.
Or you can think of it as…
2. What you can offer the world through your passion. If you enjoy playing video games, how can you make other people lives easier to deal with? Maybe you can make video commentaries that are funny and make people laugh. Maybe you can give tips on how to defeat every camper on site, making their lives a lot easier. Maybe you can explain the best weapons to use for each map.
If you spend your time thinking about what you can get from other people, you spend less time improving your own craft. You think if someone criticizes your work, it’s must be them and not you. It’s never your fault. You’re perfect. You think less about how you can better everyone’s experience but your own. And as a result, you lose people respect because you’re acting selfish and self-centered.
If you want a lifestyle of doing what you want to do, you have in keep in mind what you can offer other people. Keep in mind that no one owes you a great career. You have to earn it by finding ways to improve whatever you’re working on every day.
Even if you think it’s perfect, think of ways you can better your audience experiences.
And this is when there’s a time requirement on how many hours you spend on something. Originally, the time principle to become good at anything is to spend 10,000 hours on it.
But a TED Talk given by Josh Kaufman explained that it takes just 20 hours to learn the basics to anything. You can decide which one you feel comfortable with. If you want to test out a possible passion, spend at least 20 hours on it before you call it quits.
But once you do lock down something you like, you want to invest a crap on of time into it so you can become a craftsman over it. And the 10,000 hour rule is meant to make you stand out from the other people who invested 20 hours into it.
When Bill Gates started his company, there were people with master degrees in computer science working for him. But he still outdid them because he already spent 10,000 hours working with computers.
Which is why you need to develop a habit of making yourself uncomfortable in a skill that you’re learning. Don’t always make it easy on yourself because that’s what the lazy man does.
The reason Bobby Fischer was able to become the best chess player in the world was because he spent countless hours studying every great chess move in history. He learned basic Russian so he could read Russian chess magazines and understand how they played.
Develop a habit of being patient with yourself. Every day, people quit something because they’re not seeing the results they like. Although my channel doesn’t have that many views and my subscriber count is low, I’m enjoying the process of building something I know can be big.
Be patient day by day and learn something new. Every day I’m learning new ways to engage with my audience and how I can make their experience even better than before.
Perhaps the greatest idea from this book is the fact you don’t have to be a genius or someone with a high IQ to be successful. So long as you put in the hours and dedication to make other people lives easier with your craft, you will see the light. Every great musician, athlete, and actor knows that it takes deliberate practice than knowledge to get ahead.
Most smart people avoid uncomfortable situations like the plague because it puts their intelligence at risk. They hate the thought of failure because it undermines who they are. And that’s how the underdog usually rise to the top and have the smart people work for him.
Underdogs aren’t afraid of failure or getting their hands dirty. They keep moving until they get results. If your goal is to love what you do, you need to determine what you’ll be willing to invest a lot of time into.
Your passion isn’t something you necessarily have to enjoy doing at the beginning. It’s the process of seeing yourself improve at something every day, and gaining more control over it. Having control is more important than we give ourselves credit for.
The more time you spend learning coding, the more it becomes clear and you get more control over it. If you spend time playing a certain sport, you develop a strange love for the game because of your daily improvements.
But how do you turn your given passion into a career?
A good rule of thumb to go by is to have enough control over your passion to where people will want to buy what you offer them. When Bill Gates started off programming, no one cared about the small little programs he created. It was until he reached the age of 15 when he and his friend, Paul Allen sold a computer program to make people lives easier for $20,000.
But you don’t have to be in that category. If you’re amazing at Call of Duty player, offer Call of Duty private sessions to improve noob skills. Create T-shirts so you can build a following. Create an exclusive private tournament to see who can beat you. The goal is to think of any special products that you know other people would enjoy.
But let’s not forget about The Mission
Even if you do find a passion you like and it’s building you a great revenue, you’ll eventually get tired of the money. Yes. It’s possible to grow bored of making money. Humans are driven creatures who like having a purpose. And working for green pieces of paper that can get us things won’t fill that hole.
For example, people who spend long hours trying to think of the million dollar idea aren’t going to feel the same joy as someone who spend long hours trying to find a cure for a disease. Which is why you need to think of how you’re helping the world with your passion. In what ways are you making the world a better place?
But don’t worry. Having a mission is normally a process that’s required once you reach a high revenue. When you start off on any passion, you don’t have to think about how you can make the world a better place. It’ll be too much and you’ll possibly overwhelm yourself.
Just focus on starting small and building your way up. Think on how you can make just 1 person life easier than it was the day before. As you build up your skill and followers, you can then think of bigger ideas to share.