Modern philosopher Mark Cuban recently blogged about “passion” as it relates to career decisions.

His point was that passion grows out of being good at something.  And being good at something is often about repetition and hard work.

His post triggered me to revisit the topic of causal misattribution.  Humans are often poor at linking cause and effect. And really, that is the story Cuban is telling.

There are very few of us that discover a passion about a particular industry at an early age and have it lead to a career.

Rather, as Cuban’s post infers, we are exposed to a variety of industries, secure a job and then begin to develop skills and experiences that transfer to the next position and – ultimately – become a career.

Yet, after the fact many people describe a “passion” for an industry as the CAUSE of their success.

Rather, in most instances, the passion grows concurrently with experience and success.

The logical conclusion is that passion is typically the RESULT of career success.

However, Cuban’s assertion that following your passion is “the worst career advice” is not necessarily true.

Some subset of the work force IS able to identify a field about which they are passionate, and through continued effort succeed in that field.

In January one such person contacted me about entering the business she had passion for: Sports.

She was working in another industry, but within two months had landed a job with an MLB team.

Will she be successful?  Too soon to tell.  But had she not pursued her passion, she would have never found out.

So perhaps “following your passion” is not the right advice for everyone.  But that does not make it “the worst career advice”.

 

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