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How ‘Follow Your Passion’ Went Shockingly Wrong: Lessons You Can Learn

Time for a reality check.

 

You’ve probably heard a few people tell you that to be successful, you just need to “follow your passion”.  That advice, while great for learning how to make a mean lasagna, won’t get you far when it comes to building an online business.

 

To “follow your passion”, as I see it, is only one component among many.  Without passion for what you’re doing, you’ll probably give up before you see any really positive results.

 

There is no question you need to be passionate about what you want to do.  But again,  is being passionate about something really enough?

 

What If You Follow Your Passion… And Still Fail?

 

Meet Duke Fightmaster.  Duke was, like many aspiring digital nomads,  stuck in a dead-end job.  Sure, he was making good money, but unless you’re the sadistic type, selling debt relief programs to people near bankruptcy is not what I’d call a “fun job” either.

 

Duke had the great idea to quit his job and throw himself at something he was really passionate about.  Duke decided he was going to be the next Conan O’Brien and start his own talk show, from his bedroom, as a weekly YouTube web-show.

 

All he had to do, Duke figured, was want it badly enough and throw himself at it.  By sheer will and aided by the strength of his passion, he was going to make it.

 

Only he didn’t.

 

Duke lost his house, his car was repossessed, and he eventually went bankrupt.  The show, to put it mildly, was not the success he hoped it would be.

 

(Hear what happened to Duke in a super-interesting, entertaining interview he and his his wife did on the “This American Life” podcast.  That podcast segment is titled “Last Man Standing“.)

 

What Exactly is Your Passion Driving?

 

Duke’s story is the perfect example why “follow your passion” is flawed advice.  There’s a right way and a wrong way about getting a job as a TV talk-show host.

 

Passion, without a plan, is like flooring your car’s accelerator and expecting it to fly as it plunges off a cliff.  Revving that engine as the car goes head first into the ground won’t do you a lick of good.

 

To make it, you need three things.  You need to:

 

a.  Be passionate about your field or niche.

 

b.  Assess whether you have the skills and strengths to bring something to the table in your niche.

 

c.  Have a plan to develop, market and sell a product/service that capitalizes on your skills and strengths.

 

Your passion will drive your smartly-planned projects forward when less motivated people would’ve given up long ago.

 

Passion!… Huh!… What Is It Good For?

 

A  whole lot, actually.  When it’s guiding a sound and properly thought out plan, it’ll make you darned near unstoppable.

 

follow your passion

 

Plan it out and work with the end result in mind.

 

Test your assumptions.

 

If it’s not working out, stop.  Think why.  Tweak, implement new ideas, test, and move forward.

 

What do you think?

Is “following your passion” good or bad advice?

 

Tell me what you think in the comments below!

About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.

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