As Woody Allen said, showing up is 80% of life. The bookshelves, digital or otherwise, are full of ‘How-To-Succeed-In’ stuff. Some of that advice can be classified as ‘The Mechanics from A to B’. It goes like this: have a vision, know where you are going (here is where usually people inject the famous ‘otherwise any road will get you there’) have a plan, execute the plan. Done.
Then there is the other lot of advice that focuses on Passion: ‘have passion, do something your are passionate about, without passion, forget it’.
The first type, the ‘vision + passion + do’, is ridiculously obvious. But there is a caveat. The obvious comes from the mechanics. It’s the equivalent of ‘How to succeed in having breakfast’. It will read like this: make sure you have an alarm on, wake up, put your sleepers on, walk downstairs, open the fridge…’ etc.
So where is the caveat? Well, you actually have to do those things. Thinking of doing, planning for doing, writing the Strategic Plan for Doing, sometimes consumes 90% of the airtime. When you only get to the 10% for doing, you are already exhausted.
The second type of advise (‘have passion, be passionate, people who succeed do so because they have been passionate’) is very attractive, very politically correct, and very, errr, passionate. Trouble is for every passionate people who succeeded there are tons of people who were equally passionate but didn’t. We don’t talk about the ones who didn’t, we write books about the ones who did succeed.
Be passionate, but actually, do something, work hard, don’t stop, be resilient and pray for luck. The question is whether passion is the engine, or a bonus. (PS: 99.99 % of my clients who are very successful, work extremely hard)
This is where the God’s joke comes in. Somebody goes to heaven looking very annoyed. Greeted by God, the man says: ‘All my life praying to you that I win the lottery, every day prayers, and here I am, done, I did not win anything!’. God, looking equally annoyed, says: ‘but you never bought a ticket!’
So, formula for success is, ‘Be passionate + Buy the ticket’. If you lack a bit of passion, buy the ticket anyway. Chances are, if you succeed, you’ll become passionate about what you do.