So Good They Can’t Ignore You – by Cal Newport
Do projects where you’ll be forced to show your work to others.
Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people.
The things that make a great job great, I discovered, are rare and valuable. If you want them in your working life, you need something rare and valuable to offer in return. In other words, you need to be good at something before you can expect a good job.
who after his dispiriting realization at the monastery was able to return to his first principles, move his focus away from finding the right work and toward working right, and eventually build, for the first time in his life,
A job, in Wrzesniewski’s formulation, is a way to pay the bills, a career is a path toward increasingly better work, and a calling is work that’s an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity.
The more experience an assistant had, the more likely she was to love her work.
Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day, and that your actions are important Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people
First, when you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyperaware of what you don’t like about it, leading to chronic unhappiness. This is especially true for entry-level positions, which, by definition, are not going to be filled with challenging projects and autonomy—these come later.
the passion mindset – “Who am I?” and “What do truly love?”-are essentially impossible to confirm. “Is this who I really am?” and “Do I love this?” rarely reduce to a clear yes-or-no response. In other words, the passion mindset is almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused
If “follow your passion” is bad advice, what should I do instead?
The first is the craftsman mindset, which focuses on what you can offer the world. The second is the passion mindset, which instead focuses on what the world can offer you.
The craftsman mindset is crucial for building a career you love.
the craftsman mindset: It asks you to leave behind self-centered concerns about whether your job is “just right,” and instead put your head down and plug away at getting really damn good. No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it – and the process won’t be easy.
Put aside the question of whether your job is your true passion, and instead turn your focus toward becoming so good they can’t ignore you.
Regardless of what you do for a living, approach your work like a true performer.
Regardless of how you feel about your job right now, adopting the craftsman mindset will be the foundation on which you’ll build a compelling career.
Adopt the craftsman mindset first and then the passion follows.
If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).
if you want something that’s both rare and valuable, you need something rare and valuable to offer in return—this is Supply and Demand 101.
When you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyperaware of what you don’t like about it.
Move your focus away from finding the right work, toward working right, and eventually build a love for what you do.
The strongest predictor of someone seeing their work as a calling is the number of years spent on the job. The more experience they have, the more likely they are to love their work.
The happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do.
Motivation requires that you fulfill three basic psychological needs:
– Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day, and that your actions are important
– Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do
– Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people
The passion hypothesis convinces people that somewhere there’s a magic “right” job waiting for them, and that if they find it, they’ll immediately recognize that this is the work they were meant to do. The problem, of course, is when they fail to find this certainty, bad things follow, such as chronic job-hopping and crippling self-doubt.
Traits That Define Great Work:
These traits are rare. Most jobs don’t offer their employees great creativity, impact, or control over what they do and how they do it.
If you want something that’s both rare and valuable, you need something rare and valuable to offer in return.
The more experience you have, the more likely you are to love your work.
The traits that define great work are rare and valuable.
Supply and demand says you need rare and valuable skills to offer in return.
These rare and valuable skills are your career capital.
The craftsman mindset leads to acquiring career capital.
You need to get good in order to get good things in your working life, and the craftsman mindset is focused on achieving exactly this goal.
“The key thing is to force yourself through the work, force the skills to come; that’s the hardest phase,”
The more experience you have, the more likely you are to love your work.
The traits that define great work are bought with career capital.
Because of this, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve found your calling – most any work can become the foundation for a compelling career. But certain jobs are better suited for applying career-capital theory than others.
Three Disqualifiers for Applying the Craftsman Mindset
1. The job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable.
2. The job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world.
3. The job forces you to work with people you really dislike.
The traits that Anders Ericsson defined as crucial for deliberate practice.:
He stretched his abilities by taking on projects that were beyond his current comfort zone – up to three or four writing commissions concurrently, all the while holding down a day job!
He then obsessively sought feedback, on everything-even if, looking back now, he’s humiliated at the quality of scripts he was sending out.
This is textbook deliberate practice: And it worked.
THE FIVE HABITS OF A CRAFTSMAN
1: DECIDE WHAT CAPITAL MARKET YOU’RE IN
Winner-take-all or auction. (Diverse collection of skills, or one killer skill.)
Blogging in the advice space is winner-take-all. The only capital that matters is whether or not your posts compel the reader.
Auction: There are many different types of career capital, and each person might generate their own unique collection.
2: IDENTIFY YOUR CAPITAL TYPE
identify the specific type of capital to pursue.
in a winner-take-all market, this is trivial: By definition, there’s only one type of capital
For an auction market, however, seek open gates: opportunities to build capital that are already open to you. Open gates get you farther faster.
Think about skill acquisition like a freight train: Getting it started requires a huge application of effort, but changing its track once it’s moving is easy. In other words, it’s hard to start from scratch in a new field.
3: DEFINE “GOOD”
4: STRETCH AND DESTROY
Deliberate practice: the uncomfortable sensation in my head is best approximated as a physical strain, as if my neurons are physically re-forming into new configurations.
5: BE PATIENT
Look years into the future for the payoff.
It’s less about paying attention to your main pursuit, and more about your willingness to ignore other pursuits that pop up along the way to distract you.
Reject shiny new pursuits.
You have to get good before you can expect good work.
It’s dangerous to pursue more control in your working life before you have career capital to offer in exchange.
Control that’s acquired without career capital is not sustainable.
Do what people are willing to pay for.
If you want a mission, you need to first acquire career capital. If you skip this step, you might end up with lots of enthusiasm but very little to show for it.
To maximize your chances of success, you should deploy small, concrete experiments that return concrete feedback. Explore the specific avenues surrounding your general mission, looking for those with the highest likelihood of leading to outstanding results.
Working right trumps finding the right work.