Passion vs. Opportunity

I play electric guitar in my church, and the last time I played, a guy greeted me after the service and said, “It’s great to see old guys up there playing!”  Which I can only assume he meant as a compliment.

However, I’ve had a passion for guitar from the time I was 15. I remember riding my bike to pick up a crappy guitar I bought from a newspaper ad before I could drive a car.

I’m forever noodling on one, so much so that before getting married to my very organized wife-to-be, I cut a deal that stipulated that I could always have a guitar sitting on our couch in the living room, ready to be played.  And I’m looking at my classic Martin OM 21 Special sitting opposite me on a chair as I write this!

But if I followed the dim-witted advice of well-meaning people everywhere to ‘just follow your passion and never give up,’ I would be living alone in a van down by the river playing old Johnny Cash 8-tracks (ask your parents) dreaming of what might be.  I could never make a living playing guitar.  I’m ok at it, but I’m not great, just passionate.

So let your passion be your passion, not your living.  Instead, I suggest you look for opportunity.  You’ll find opportunity at the intersection of the answers to these two questions:

  1. Which jobs does no one else want?
  2. Which of those could you learn to be good at?

Once you commit yourself to something and decide that you’re going to master it, you’ll find that your passion for that thing grows. I meet passionate people in regular jobs all the time.

But, do you think anybody starts out as a kid with a dream of one day being an electrician, or working retail, or being a manufacturer’s rep, or driving a truck, or being in marketing?   No!  They wanted to be in the NHL, or be a movie star.  And yet they’re very passionate about what they do.

Life Secret:  Passion grows when you get good at doing something that you have talent for.

It’s very likely that your passion is lying right under your nose at the company you’re currently working for.

So forget your passion and pursue your opportunities to find success.

“Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.  Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it opportunity.”

-Bill Gates

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