Cal Newport raises the question of why certain people find fulfillment in their work where others struggle to do the same. His theory is that skills and experience are the driving factor for happiness, as opposed to launching heart first into a passion project. As an academic, he shares how he become preoccupied with this question of why some people love what they do, which led him down the path of researching and authoring his findings in So Good They Can’t Ignore You.
According to Newport, the advice of “follow your passion” is seriously flawed as it often sets individuals up to fail, struggle or become frustrated with their lack of success.
He challenges the idea that finding something that fulfills you will ultimately lead to a profitable and joy-filled career. While he does admit there are times where this can work—and explains how—he insists that a passion pursuit will work if it’s backed by career capital. He shares narratives and concrete examples along with four rules that will change the way you build a sustainable and fulfilling career.
One of the biggest predictors of professional success and fulfillment comes from the years spent in the occupation and the skill level that is attained by dedicated experience. The competence that grows from these endeavors sets the individual up for more control and a bigger voice in how they choose to approach their profession. Therefore, this gives them the opportunity to create a career that is incredibly fulfilling. But it’s not all about putting your head down and getting to work. He offers a lot of sage and well-researched advice on how to build your capital at any stage in your career. This “craftsman mindset” builds the capital, then based on economic theory can be exchanged for creativity, impact and control to name a few of the qualities of a fulfilling career.
Evangelizing hard-work, focused attention, talent development and deliberate practice, So Good They Can’t Ignore You is a must-read for anyone seeking a happier and more fulfilling professional life.