Saturday, April 20, 2013

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

Some Takeaways From The Book By Cal Newport;

Compelling careers often have complex origins that reject the simple idea that all you have to do is follow your passion.

Self-determination theory tells us that motivation, in the workplace or elsewhere, requires that you fulfill three basic psychological needs----factors described as the nutriments required to feel intrinsically motivated for your work;

  • Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day, and that your actions are important
  • Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do
  • Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people
There are two reasons why I dislike the passion mindset:
  • First, when you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyper aware of what you don't like about it, leading to chronic unhappiness.
  • Second, and more serious,  the deep questions driving the passion mindset "Who am I" and "What do I truly love" are essentially impossible to confirm.
Three traits that define great work: creativity, impact, and control.

Deliberate practice provides the key to excellence in a diverse array fields, among which are chess, medicine, auditing, computer programming, bridge, physics, sports, typing, and music.

It is a lifetime accumulation of deliberate practice that again and again ends up explaining excellence.

To successfully adopt a craftsman mindset, therefore, we have to approach our jobs in the same way as Jordan approaches his guitar playing or Gary Kasparov off his chess training, with a dedication to deliberate practice.

Mike's goal with his spreadsheet is to become more intentional about how his work day unfolds. "The easiest thing to do is to show up to work in the morning and just respond to email the whole day,"

The five habits of a craftsman:

Step One: Decide What Capital Market You're In
Step Two: Identify Your Capital Type
Step Three: Define Good
Step Four: Stretch And Destroy
Step Five: Be Patient---Acquiring capital can take time. For Alex, it took about two years of serious deliberate practice before his first television script was produced.

Deliberate practice is an approach the work where you deliberately stretch your abilities beyond where you're comfortable and then receive ruthless feedback on your performance.

Musicians, athletes, and chess players know all about deliberate practice. Knowledge workers, however, do not. For example,  Chris Rock will make somewhere between 40 to 50 unannounced visits to a small New Jersey area comedy club to help him figure out what material works and which doesn't.

Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfillment.

Working right trumps finding the right work.

Don't obsess over discovering your true calling. Instead, master rare and valuable skills. Once you build up the career capital that these skills generate, invest it wisely. Use it to acquire control over what you do and how you do it, and to identify and act on a life-changing mission.

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