May 20, 2012

Follow Your Passion ( to something useful which has value and demand and ...)

An often cited formula is :

Passion = Success

The idea is a simplistic concept that if you follow your passion that you'll end up with success.   I'm sure the people pushing this idea really don't intend it to be misinterpreted such that 18 year old kids assume they can go get a bachelors degree in 13th century Norwegian literature at some obscure private school and then somehow become gainfully employed and pay off their $80,000 in student loan debt.   But without some ground rules and basic common sense application of the 'follow your passion' mantra, individuals may misapply the idea and assume that they need nothing other than passion for the success to follow.

Lets at least make sure someone else cares about your passion.  I used to joke that I didn't think that my passion for playing video games on my couch would make me rich.    Clearly your passion has to be associated to something someone else would want to pay for.   This is where the usefulness requirement comes in. 

Chris Guillebeau recently wrote on Get Rich Slowly that :

Passion + Usefulness = Value

Better.  Thats an important step in the right direction.    It should make it clear that I will not get rich any time soon by following my passion for video gaming on my couch.     Its definitely very important that people realize that simple passion doesn't equate to monetary success.   Your passion has to be combined with something of use.   Again, this should really just be common sense.   But unfortunately I don't think the point is emphasized enough when some people preach the 'follow your passion' mantra.   Readers may mistakenly assume that passion alone is good enough.  

Just because something is valuable doesn't mean it will lead to a good job or success.   Is passion and usefulness sufficient to create success?   No.   There are numerous factors in success.   You won't find success if you're creating something of no value, but just creating something of value won't always lead to success.

There is so much more to success than simply providing value.   Maybe the formula should look more like this? :

(Passion + Value + Novelty + Demand + Risk + Capital + Time + Luck + Timing ) / ( Competition + Costs) = Success


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