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We always read about successful people and how passionate they have always been.
What is more important – passion or practice? Everyone looks at Tom Cruise and wants to be like him. But what made him so successful; was it his natural talent, or the number of years he has been acting for, or an intense passion for acting? Ultimately, success boils down to the mixture of all three; passion, talent and practice.
But is one higher than the other? And what if we lack passion or talent? These are the questions that torment workers and college students who are trying to make career decisions. Many people feel they have passion for one thing but are stuck at another job. Others feel they have talent in a particular discipline and this makes them better that those who are not intrinsically talented. College students are always trying to pinpoint their passion so they can walk in the right path that leverages their talent. Even society has painted a picture for us, that passion is the only way to be successful and fulfilled.
What is the true path to success?
People believe that where your talent lies, is also where your passion will be. This is not necessarily so. I may be talented at singing but have a passion for gaming. Such a person then feels torn between following their innate talent for singing, or their passion for gaming. Ultimately, one is chosen over the other. The deciding factor then becomes how much practice is devoted to one discipline as compared to the other.
Practice makes you better
People constantly try to figure out their passion, talents and natural skills, and try to look for a career along those paths. This may be easy for those who know their talents, but what of people who don’t, or people who have many skills/talents. This is where practice comes in. Cal Newport wrote a book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, this book says that rather than trying to match a professional end goal to a pre-existing passion, it’s actually the mastery of a discipline that brings about the passion.
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The more time you devote to a task, the better you become at it, irrespective of whether or not you have talent or passion. People who have talents that are never used, never become good enough or even successful.
What is the Success Formula?
Cal Newport was of the opinion that passion comes at the mastery of a discipline. When we learn to do something well, we become passionate for that thing. The mastery of any discipline takes long, hard work. Because the more you practice, the better you become, the more recognised you are, and the more successful you become.
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We hear about ‘the muse’, and how artists like musicians and writers are taken up by a muse that makes them create masterpieces. But these creatives don’t show you the behind-the-scenes documentary. To be a good artist, you must deliberately practice daily. It is practice that fine-tunes the dull aspects of any discipline, so that when the muse comes, you are ready to pour out on the canvas.