Cuban, who’s an avid basketball and baseball fan and owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, used to play both sports when younger. Those were his passions. However he soon realised that even at his peak, he never came close to the performances of actual sports professionals.
His advice? Do what you’re good at. Look at the things you pay attention to and are also interested in. Those are the things you will be good at, and consequently successful at. Of course, when you’re successful, that’s when you can indulge in your passions, like buying your own basketball team.
He’s not the only one. Benjamin Todd, the CEO and co-founder of 80,000 Hours, gave a TEDx talk on how insisting on following your passions can make you limit your career options unnecessarily. It can also make people think that they can instantly divine their ‘true calling’. Watch his speech here.
But here’s a caveat: do something you will grow to love and isn’t driven bored by. Dr Cal Newport, founder of the website Study Hacks, speaks about cultivating your passion instead. He explains that approaching your work like a craftsman, honing your skills and leveraging your value is more likely to lead to success and happiness in work.
In a time of instant gratification and immediate success stories, it may seem baffling as to why these guys are advocating the opposite. That’s because success and happiness don’t go hand in hand. Success in your passions can often destroy your love for it. A global job satisfaction poll by professional surveyors Gallup counted a 15% rate of engaged employees. That means 85% of the world’s working population (95% CI) dislike what they do. In Japan, that rises to 94%.
So rather than blindly follow your love in life (for most of is, it’s e-gaming), try focusing on what you’re good at. It might just change your life. Plus, changing jobs every few years has been proven to improve your financial situation far more than staying at one job. You may end up reaping far more benefits than you expect.