Category – Business
Reading time – 5 minutes
Cal Newport wrote a book with title “So good that they cannot ignore you.”
As it is always with any self help book; there was very less new to describe. Afterall all the self-help works on well known and old few principles; which have been around for centuries.
Hence, you cannot create a new concept. So he did what was possible and he refuted a well established advice blurted by every self help guru that “You should follow your passion.”
That’s why he got attention of people who have always assumed that it is always right to follow your passion, even if final destination is not clear.
Newport argues that it can be a bad advice or even dangerous one. Let’s examine his reasons so that we may find something useful in this antitheory.
There are two types of people-
( Actually there are many types but we need to focus on these fellows here) –
1. Passion mindset– People who think that we should chase passion to be happy. World has to give us something. It owes something for our greatness.
2. Craftsman mindset – Be good at something and give something valuable to world and you will feel happiness.
How actually you can follow this path of,” loving what you do”.
It is like an Indian arranged marriage in which your parents choose your partner and you fall in increasing love as your marriage life proceeds.
Few things one can do according to Newport are as under
1. Develop a skill that is rare and valuable – It is your career capital.
2. And then negotiate with world to take control of how much you do and how you do. But keep in mind that skills you posses must be easily cashable and people should be ready to pay for it.
3. Do deliberate practice to improve yourself. Know that it will take time. But be So good they can’t ignore you.
Look for next minor improvements ( adjacent possible) that you can add to your skill set.
4. You need to differentiate between –
Job – pays bills.
Career – Progressive improvement in your skills and earnings
Calling – Things that have impact on World.
5. Don’t go out full throttle at once. Start small. Play small bets to learn what works.
6. You need to market your skills. Make it a purple cow as coined by Seth Godin.
A purple cow is an attention catching peculiar thing amongst heap of similar looking stuff. People identify it easily and remark on it. It is not one of those routine things.
A parantha ( Indian stuffed bread) shop is a Gray cow but a shop that offers biggest parantha in city is a purple cow.
7. Do right work. It is more important than finding the right work.
My observations –
Nothing is new.
Everything has already been said in some other self help book.
It is true about all new self help books.
10 k rule is from Malcolm Gladwell.
Adjacent possible from Steven Johnson book, Where good ideas come from.
You must have good skills and must be patient and improve slowly as life passes, are well known axioms.
What author has done is refuted the notion of following your passion with few new stories about people we don’t know and analysing stories of people we know like Steve Jobs with a new perspective.
But there is no rule that is good for everyone.
If we follow Cal Newport world would be a little less pleasant and perfectionist; where every step will require tight scrutiny about risk benefit.
Humans are not built like that.
They need to express their stupidity, eccentricities, peculiarities, leaps of faith and senseless dreams.
We need both.passion of traditional self help tweakers.
And caution and hardwork of Cal Newport.