AOA 042 | Cal Newport | Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to be more excited about your work? How should we get there? Is “follow your passion” the best career advice?

Today’s guest on the Art of Adventure gives us a compelling case as to why following your passion is bad advice! He wrote the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, which investigates just that. I have to admit, at first I was a little wary, but I think it’s really important to listen to the dissenting opinion sometimes – to consider that what you know (about work in this case) is not the complete picture.

Cal Newport wrote this book because he was making a big life transition – should he move into professorship after finishing grad school – or choose another career path? With that question in mind he set out to find what makes someone love what they do for a living and feel fulfilled by their work.

This book follows a general trend of Cal’s: when he wants to learn something, he digs in and then writes a book about it. His former works include How to Be a High School Superstar and How to Win at College.

What he discovered by talking with people from a variety of careers, who love what they do, might surprise you.

If you are beginning your career or thinking about the next direction you want to take your working life, this is the episode for you!

Cal Newport Art of Adventure

Quotes from the interview:

“Adventure is when you leave a dent in the universe” – Cal Newport

“Go at making something that didn’t exist before” – Cal Newport

“What am I going to get better at?” – Cal Newport

“Everything interesting is 10 times harder than you thought it would be” – Cal Newport

“A broad array of experiences is a recipe for an interesting life” – Cal Newport

What you will learn in this episode:

-How to gain control over your work

-How to deconstruct the careers of stars in your field to determine the most valuable skills

-How to deliberately practice those valuable skills skills

-Why not having one true passion takes the pressure off your career choice

-The difference between the craftsman mindset and the passion mindset

-How to leverage career capital (transmute success in one area to another)

-How to get the right feedback to rapidly improve

-What are the minimum qualifications Cal suggests using to choosing a career

Mentioned in this episode:

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

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You may also like these episodes:
AOA 026 | Bruce Kasanoff | Ghostwriter
AOA 019 | Damien Wilpitz | Managing To Make Science Easier
AOA 021 | Chris Taylor | Actionable Books and Deliberate Decision Making

Did you enjoy the podcast?
It was a privilege to be one of the rare interviews that Cal Newport does. He doesn’t do social media so that he can focus on his work. His idea about work totally make sense to me and I will definitely be focusing on cultivating my rare and valuable skills. What skills will you be working on to help you gain control and purpose of your work?

AOA 040 | Erica Dhawan | Get Big Things Done With Connectional Intelligence

Erica Dhawan Art of Adventure

What is the future of work? One thing is clear, the 21st century workplace looks vastly different than the past century. What are the skills that will allow you to get access to the work you want to be doing? The high paying, high responsibility … [Continue reading]