We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Follow Your Passion?

24th February 2013

Scott Adams throws in a little practical good sense.

You often hear advice from successful people that you should “Follow your passion.”  That sounds about right. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right?

Here’s the counterargument:  When I was a commercial loan officer for a large bank in San Francisco, my boss taught us that you should never make a loan to someone who is following his passion. For example, you don’t want to give money to a sports enthusiast who is starting a sports store to pursue his passion for all things sporty. That guy is a bad bet, passion and all. He’s in business for the wrong reason.

That sounds right on the money. People who are passionate about something are not in control of their situation; they are being moved by their emotions rather than being in control of them. (That’s what ‘passion’ means. You can look it up.)

My boss at the time, who had been a commercial lender for over thirty years, said the best loan customer is one who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet. Maybe the loan customer wants to start a dry cleaning store, or invest in a fast food franchise – boring stuff. That’s the person you bet on. You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.

What shall we call these people? How about ‘actionate’ rather than passionate?

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