WARNING: New research finds “Follow Your Passion” is the worst advice you’ve EVER heard (and offers a weird new alternative).
How’s that for a clickbait headline? A bit much, yea? But it’s true.
It’s also confusing, right?? Of course it is.
You’ve always been told that you’re supposed to chase your passion!
Your parents, your mentors, even your friends all tell you the same thing: “Follow Your Passion!”. And on the surface, it makes sense. If you follow your passion, you’ll be happy and successful… right?
In fact, a PhD Computer Scientist from MIT and a psychologist have uncovered what actually leads to the happiness so many chase by following their passions (more on this in a bit).
You see, not too long ago I too was a “follow your passion” believer.
All my self-help books kept telling me the same story: the people who succeed are the ones who follow their passions.
Because when you follow your passion, you’ll have the motivation and willpower to grind your way to the top!
And I was a die-hard believer.
But it wasn’t until my 2nd BIG failure in 6 short months that I started questioning this “Passion Hypothesis”.
Here’s the short story:
It was October 2015 and I was getting my feet wet with real estate investing.
And after a few weeks of “in the trenches” experience dialing for dollars… I was hooked!
I had found my passion: real estate.
But soon, picking up the phone and calling on properties became a daily struggle… and eventually took its toll on me.
So after a few months, I started looking elsewhere for a new challenge to sink my teeth in. And in May 2016, I found it.
I was going to be a payment processing, door-to-door salesman!
My new passion was… money! (It paid VERY well… if you could sell)
But in just two short months of pounding the pavement, facing rejection after rejection, I burned myself out and left the job.
And what I realized is this:
Being passionate (or enthusiastic) about something doesn’t mean you’ll be good at that thing.
And being good at something is where ALL the happiness (and money) is. You see, you need to get GREAT at a skill to find happiness in your work.
But I didn’t realize this until I accidentally stumbled across Cal Newport (the MIT computer scientist…). In Cal’s bestselling book – So Good They Can’t Ignore You – he shattered the “Passion Hypothesis.”
Here’s how he did it:
After months of pouring through psychology and career-related research, and interviewing hundreds of happy and successful people, Cal discovered that you’re MOST HAPPY with your work and your life when you have this ONE THING…
And he found that in order to achieve autonomy – the freedom to work how you please and to command the rates you deserve – you have to get really freakin’ good at ONE thing.
Now, if you’re like most 20-somethings, your “one thing” is constantly changing…
One month you’re an online marketer…
The next month a graphic designer…
Then a real estate investor…
You dabble with this and that… never really becoming great at anything… but instead you become average at lots of little things.
In short: You have NO CLUE what skill you should commit to mastering.
But that’s OK.
Because a very wealthy, healthy, and happy entrepreneur named Doberman Dan knows what you need to get really stinkin’ good at:
To become unapologetically irreplaceable…Highly compensated for your work…And downright IN DEMAND…
You need to be able to convince people to do something you want them to do. In business terms… you need to master the art of turning prospects into customers.
In other words, you need to become a master salesman… But not the regular kind of salesman.
Instead, the kind of salesman who sells with the written word… a copywriter.
Think about it like this: Who’s more valuable? Someone who travels to each individual prospect, speaks with one single person at a time, then moves on to the next lead…? OR…
Someone who writes his pitch on paper one time (or via email… sales page… video sales letter…) and simultaneously sends it to thousands of leads? We all know sales is a numbers game. And the crafty wordsmith wins everytime.
Okay, so let’s recap:
1. We know “Follow Your Passion” is a recipe for disaster because “liking” something doesn’t mean you’ll be GREAT at it…
2. And research has found being really freakin’ good at one thing leads to lots of freedom and autonomy… which is HIGHLY correlated with happiness…
3. And we know the ONE THING we should get really freakin’ good at is copywriting!
But there’s just one problem…
How the hell are you supposed to become a great copywriter/great at your niche skill if you can’t even write a letter to your grandparents?
Lucky for you, a psychologist by the name of Dr. Anders Ericsson has spent more than twenty years uncovering the answer to this question…
Dr. Ericsson’s research finds time-and-time again that the idea of innate talent is BULLSH*T.
And anyone can become a world-class performer with a method called “Deliberate Practice.”
Deliberate Practice is made up of these 4 elements:
– You must be motivated to become GREAT at your skill
– You must practice slightly out of your comfort zone
– You must receive feedback on your performance
– You must repeatedly perform the tasks
One of the reasons that in less than 30 days I’m leaving the U.S. to travel the world as a freelance copywriter (and 3 months ago I didn’t even know what copywriting was) is because ‘deliberate practice’ is so freakin’ effective.
Meaning you ACTUALLY get better with each and every day you practice.
But I’ve gotta warn you…
It takes daily work.
But if you stick with it…
You will see results.
If you’re tired of wandering from job to job, being paid like a lousy intern, and wishing you had more freedom and happiness in your life…I encourage you to do this:
Find your niche skill and practice it. That is what offers fulfillment.
If it’s copywriting – something I truly believe is the most powerful and influential skill one can posses – then go for it. I chose this example because it has immediately and powerfully affected my life.
If it’s public speaking, go for it.
If it’s producing music, go for it.
If it’s graphic design, go for it.
If it’s data analytics, go for it.
If it’s something else, go for it.
Find what it is and then apply Deliberate Practice to kickstart your journey.
PS: If you’re interested in copywriting, check out this amazing course