We have talked about how passion can ruin your career, and Dilbert Creator Scott Adams seems to agree. Adams has doled out some solid career advice in the past, and is an advocate of being a Jack of all trades but master of none. In an article in The Wall Street Journal, he says that to succeed in your profession, you need to forget about passion and goals.
Photo by Glen_Wright.
For most people, it's easy to be passionate about things that are working out, and that distorts our impression of the importance of passion... The ones that didn't work out — and that would be most of them — slowly drained my passion as they failed. The few that worked became more exciting as they succeeded... In hindsight, it looks as if the projects that I was most passionate about were also the ones that worked. But objectively, my passion level moved with my success. Success caused passion more than passion caused success.
Instead, Adams advises to be the grinder, not just the passionate guy. If you are successful, the passion will probably follow.
He also says that goals tend to limit your reach. The smarter approach is to have a system where you constantly look for better options, as it makes you look at the familiar in new and unusual ways.
To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realise that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or to set new goals and re-enter the cycle of permanent pre-success failure.
The full article is worth a read, especially where he goes on to talk about how failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight.
Scott Adams' Secret Of Success: Failure [The Wall Street Journal]