3 min read

Two Notes Tuesday: Passion Mindset Vs. Craftsman Mindset

Why you shouldn’t always follow your passion and do what “feels right”?
Two Notes Tuesday: Passion Mindset Vs. Craftsman Mindset

Should you follow your passion?

In the book Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport explains that people tend to use a passion or craftsman mindset when deciding on a career.

Passion mindset — you want to do the work you love and build a life upon your passion. For some people, following their passion leads them to great wealth and success. But they’re the exceptions and not the rule. For most people, “follow your passion” is an act of innocent optimism, which often leads to a frustrating and disappointing career.

This is because when you have a passion mindset, you focus on what value your job offers you. You’re always aware of what you don’t like about your job, and this becomes a source of stress and unhappiness. When you work a job with the passion mindset, you’ll get overwhelmed with annoying tasks and corporate bureaucracy.

Enter the craftsman mindset — you grow to love what you do. As a person with craftsman mindset, your quest in your career is to become so good in what you do that nobody can ignore you. Your focus is on what value you can add to your job. Unlike the passion mindset which sparks ambiguous and unanswerable questions, the craftsman mindset offers you clarity because your goal is the continuous improvement of your competence.

No matter the struggle and excitement, you focus on practicing each detail of your craft until you become a master in your field. When you reach the status of an expert, you don’t look for a job, the jobs look for you.

If you want to be successful, don’t think about what your job can offer you. Instead, think of “how can I be exceptional at what I do?”

Focus on becoming better. No one owes you a great career, you’ve got to earn it.

Read more on the Passion Trap that i wrote and check out Be So Good They Can't Ignore You.

Why you shouldn’t always do what “feels right”?

Fake news is ubiquitous because people are prone to pass on false information that originates from biases. We have an innate craving to pass on any information. Passing on information gives us the perception of confirmation, thus offering our brains the comfort of certainty. Ambiguity triggers anxiety in us. As a result, our desire to be right leads us to have a certainty bias.

Here are some common and costly certainty biases:

  • Believing that you’re stronger or could outsmart an armed mugger because you’ve had ‘martial arts training’.
  • When you go to a foreign place, no amount of Lonely Planet guidebooks will tell you if you are behaving appropriately.
  • You think you’re the smartest one the in the room.

To overcome the certainty bias, remind yourself not to dismiss all the information that doesn’t jive with your beliefs or mental models, just because it threatens your brain. Sometimes “feeling right” is foolish, or it’s your brain’s way of seeking comfort by only accepting information that is consistent with your existing beliefs.

Slow down — when you receive information, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re actually right before (re)acting accordingly.

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