Skill Before Passion? Or

What comes first?

Must you be passionate to become highly skilled, or must you become skilled before becoming passionate? My belief, and one that others are willing to argue about, is skill comes first. I will concede that interest will usually precede skill and that may be the precursor of passion.

True passion comes later

Why does it matter?

It might not. There are many people who are skilled at something who are not simultaneously passionate. Those people are the vast majority. They are the ones we rely upon to deliver the goods and services we need. We need emotionally insensitive people to be involved in manufacturing, retail service, back of restaurant, and in the professions.

If we seek a passionate and skilled dentist, we will inevitably have an abscess.

Can we be exceptional without passion?

Quite likely yes in most fields. I spent years in the accounting profession and there are some very skilled people, but passionate? Not so many. Likely true in law and medicine too, but perhaps not to the same extent. There are a few passionate lawyers for sure, and some doctors and nurses that approach that level. They are the exceptions though.

In music, art, poetry, and missionary religion, passion seems to be more common. It is quite possible that passion precedes skill in these areas.

What it means

There is a false belief that one must follow their passions to be successful. It is false because so few have the kind of passion it takes to become Picasso, or Mother Theresa. Better to encourage people to have the patience and discipline to become excellent at their chosen career. A career that interests them, but it is not all consuming.

Hobbies can become the passion outlet. Woodworking is creative. Writing is helpful. Gardening, community service, songwriting and poetry, are possible. Family involvement and teaching and leadership are all useful.

To be well-rounded, People must explore their passions. Some, like Scott Adams and Tom Clancy, let their avocation become their mission when they developed enough skill to make a living with it.

Moral of the story. Don’t seek passionate work as the only choice. Keep your day job, at least for a while. For young people, develop the skill to have a day job.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. 705-927-4770

One Comment on “Skill Before Passion? Or

  1. Interesting topic. I would suggest that you add one more element: “Infatuation.” This is not the sole realm of shallow or unstable people. Only after infatuation has made a fool of us,do we generally conceed that we could be susceptible.
    in making a career choice, both passion and infatuation should be avoided. There are lots of fun jobs, but most don’t pay much. Seeing that a career is primarily a means to exchange your time for money, that should be considered. The secret is to find an avocation that is moral, but disagreeable to most people, but which you can tolerate. That will be something you can learn to love. And oh yes,, “love is a decision.” But that’s a topic for another day…

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