Wednesday, 27 June 2018

From the seeds of enjoyment, passions grow

Earlier this year, a colleague posted an MSN Money article link to the CDANZ LinkedIn group about an interview with Mark Cuban, about how passion led people astray in seeking career fulfilment. This thread sparked a lot of very interesting discussion, which led me to write this article.

When I read the interview (Clifford, 21 February 2018), I thought that Mr Cuban could only be talking about passion, he just didn't recognise that that was what he was talking about. The entire interview resonated with passion. For example, "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" can only be about passion. However, to get good at something, we need to be passionate about it: we don't do what we don't like.
I think Mr Cuban undermined his own argument.

Another quote was "When you are good at something, you enjoy it, says Cuban. The effort and skill snowball" (Clifford, 21 February 2018). To get to that 'expert' place, we have to have kept at things daily, weekly, monthly, yearly for a long time. The original research by K. Anders Ericsson in 1993 stated between 10,000 and 20,000 hours (2012) are needed to obtain that expertise. His paper was taken by Malcolm Gladwell and rather simplified for 'Outliers'. Again, it is not human nature to persevere at what doesn't reward us in some way, or what we don't enjoy.

When considering rewards, let me tell you a short story. I have a high school friend who has scraped by since Uni - Fine Arts - as an artist. She is happy as a clam. When a relative died and left her a little money, she invested it in her art: she went back to Uni to do her Masters. She is experimenting with the idea of a PhD. In Art. Income or economics have not influenced her choice of career. She has, where necessity has required it, had a job... to fund her career.

Of course, enjoyment is much cooler than passion, but we get to passion through enjoyment and skill-building. Enjoyment works as a base to develop passions from. And if we have no clear 'passion'? Explore enjoyment, skills inventories, and values inventories with a career practitioner!

Another colleague of mine, Mike Dooley, made the following interesting point in the thread: 
"if someone does not at least try to follow their passion, then they may instead be lead by another's passion; they risk becoming the means to someone else's ends. That is not something that we should encourage in the careers field". 

A very valid point, and one we should, as practitioners, be alert to: exploring with our client who has influenced them, and what drives that influence. 

However, passion is - in my opinion - a requirement for those who want a career over a job. Fostered from the seed of enjoyment, our passions grow.



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