In a Ted Talk interview with Adam Grant, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban revealed that the phrase “follow your passion” is the worst piece of advice that he has received in his career.
Instead, he stated that it is better for someone to follow their effort as “no one quits anything they’re good at.”
This is an echo of an article in the billionaire’s blog published before the interview. In there, he wrote that the things he found himself to be “really good at” were those he had exerted much effort into.
“…when you look at where you put in your time, where you put in your effort, that tends to be the things that you are good at. And if you put in enough time, you tend to get really good at it,” he reiterated.
Cuban’s belief can be explained simply like this:
Do something poorly? You probably dread doing it.
Do something well? It shows that you enjoy doing it — and the better you get, the more you wil like doing it.
Surprisingly, science agrees with Cuban. According to a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, the more effort workers — especially business leaders — put into their startups, the more enthusiastic they get about their business.
Author Cal Newport also wrote in his book that telling someone to follow their passion can be “disastrous.” He explained that passion indicates interest, not effort.
How much effort does one put into their passion? How do people take time to improve their talent, knowledge, and skills on something they are passionate about? Most would say not a lot.
So, what Cuban, Newport, and science is trying to highlight is that effort trumps passion. Put in more energy in what you are trying to do. Place a little more structure around the process of improving, learning, and growing.
The more effort you put in, the more enthusiastic you will get. The more passionate you will become, the more likely you will develop the talent and experience required to turn a passion into a new business or career.
And when you find that you are producing excellent results just from putting a great amount of effort into something, you will slowly fall in love with what you are doing.