So good they can’t ignore you

So good they can’t ignore you

When I was going through my own quarter-life crisis, I read three books that shaped my perspective about careers: The Dip by Seth Godin, How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen, and So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.

What stood out to me about Cal Newport’s book is that it directly challenges the dominant advice of “finding your passion” in one’s career. I’ve heard of some horror stories based on following this well-intentioned advice in the form of the following types of events: (1) serial quitting and stagnating and (2) losing passion for something that a person seemed to love before. The advice of Cal Newport is to focus on one’s skill that one can hone and one can even potentially learn to love.

For some people, that skillset overlaps with passion; but for some people, that skillset may not necessarily be what one is passionate about. For example, some may be bored by research but they have the capacity to understand technical concepts. No passion, but with skillset.

Maybe the insight is that embracing one’s talent, dare I say “light”, is not always a honeymoon experience. But there’s something powerful about the analogy of the light and a person’s skillset – we cannot help but notice light in the same way that we cannot help but notice exceptional performance.

Light can be warm, but it can also burn. To flourish is to discover our inner light and manage it such that our light makes us remarkable rather than our light burning us out.

Matthew 4:12-23. …the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light…


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