So good they can't ignore you

Cal Newport.

my rating: 5/5

This one instantly became one of my favourite books. I'll be re-reading this one soon. It completely shifted my perspective on the concept of "passion" and why following passion might be terrible advice.

This is a book I wish I would've read back when I was 17, when I was faced with the enormous decision of choosing a path, something to study for the next 5 years. Back then, I went full in with a "passion mindset". I made a choice based on what value my job would offer me.

“Follow your passion is dangerous advice.”

From now on, I follow these rules:

Rule 1: Don’t follow your passion. 
Rule 2: Be so good they can’t ignore you. The importance of skill.

key takeaways

Passion can be misleading:

Contrary to popular belief, following your passion is not always the best approach to career success. Passion can be fleeting, and focusing too much on it can blind you to the opportunities and skills that can truly set you apart in your industry. The passion mindset is almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused.

Focus on developing valuable skills: Instead of pursuing a passion, focus on developing rare and valuable skills that are in demand in your industry. This can lead to better job opportunities, higher salaries, and ultimately, more job satisfaction.

The importance of deliberate practice:

Simply putting in the hours isn't enough to develop valuable skills. Deliberate practice, which involves pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and seeking feedback, is essential to becoming truly exceptional in your field.

The value of autonomy: Autonomy, or the ability to control your work and schedule, is a key factor in job satisfaction. By developing valuable skills and becoming an expert in your field, you increase your chances of achieving greater autonomy in your career.

Passion follows mastery:

Rather than pursuing a passion in the hopes that it will lead to career fulfillment, focus on becoming so good at what you do that you can't be ignored. Passion often follows mastery, as the satisfaction and sense of purpose that comes from being exceptional at something can be incredibly fulfilling.

my favourite quotes and excerpts

“Two different approaches to thinking about work: the craftsman mindset, a focus on what value you’re producing in your job, and the passion mindset, a focus on what value your job offers you. ”

*Back in 2009, when I was 17 years old I chose my career based on what value in would bring ME. I thought back then I was young and wanted to be amongst creative people. I wanted to build skills that improved MY creativity. Skills that allowed me to show off MY potential, thinking and creativity. My other option was going to law school. Which in retrospect I can see as the option where I would be producing more value for others through my job. I could’ve put my valuable skills (logical thinking, analysis, critical thinking, language) — things I was already good at — in service of others. 

*Things I’m goad at: Logical thinking, analysis, critical thinking, language, understanding, observing, research, creativity, making unexpected connections, writing

“Whereas the craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset focuses instead on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most people approach their working lives.”

“the passion mindset is almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused”

“if you want a great job, you need to build up rare and valuable skills—which I call career capital—to offer in return.”

Creativity + Impact + Control

“Control that’s acquired without career capital is not sustainable.”

“Do what people are willing to pay for.”

“using money as a “neutral indicator of value”—a way of determining whether or not you have enough career capital to succeed with a pursuit.”

“the new chemicals are in the space of the adjacent possible defined by the current structures.”

“If you want a mission, you need to first acquire capital. If you skip this step, you might end up like Sarah and Jane: with lots of enthusiasm but very little to show for it.”

Think small, act big

“The art of mission, we can conclude, asks us to suppress the most grandiose of our work instincts and instead adopt the patience—the style of patience observed with Pardis Sabeti—required to get this ordering correct.”

Purple cows

The law of remarkability 

“master rare skills that would yield big rewards. ”

“Both paths, I was sure, would yield numerous opportunities that could be leveraged into a remarkable life.”

“you should only pursue a project if people are willing to pay you for it. If they aren’t, you probably don’t have sufficient capital to exchange for the control you desire.”

important questions the book raised

*What am I good at?

Logical thinking, analysis, critical thinking, language, understanding, observing, research, creativity, making unexpected connections, writing

The law of remarkability 

*What are the most remarkable things I’ve done?

*How would I want to be remarkable? What kind of remarkable things would I like to do?

*What is my mission? What does it look like right now?

Increase connection, Help others solve complex problems, Challenge traditional thinking, To enable discovery, exploration and joy in learning.

As well as to assist and empower you in your journey of self cultivation and education. Life across borders.

Get to the cutting edge.