Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Passion or effort: Which one drives career excellence?


Today’s lesson looks at two very different approaches to ratchet up success in your career — effort and passion. We begin with the sage (?) advice of two billionair­es, Mark Cuban and Warren Buffet. That we have extraordin­arily wealthy white men proselytiz­ing to us, the 98%, about their secrets to career success is rich — but that’s for another lesson. Instead, let’s find the kernel of value in their perspectiv­es.

I see three Career Drivers:

Effort, Passion and Blended. Let’s discuss each driver and then learn what drives readers.

Effort driver

A recent Inc. article (Sept. 20, 2022) by Jeff Haden quotes billionair­e Mark Cuban who says that it’s effort, not passion that should drive your career. His presumptio­n is that the more effort — energy, attention, time — we invest in a skill or activity, the better we become and that success “drives” us to succeed. Cuban says, “Nobody quits anything they are good at, because it is fun to be good. It is fun to be one of the best. But in order to be one of the best, you have to put in effort.” Cuban believes we need to “Follow your effort, and place a little more structure around the process of improving, learning, and growing.”

Effort is the energy, attention and time we invest to improve, learn and grow in a skill or activity. It’s an action.

According to Matt Mayberry, in an Entreprene­ur article (Jan. 6, 2016), effort is the “missing link.” He believes that “Effort isn’t the only thing needed in order for you need to be successful and get to where you want to go, but it sure is an absolute must and something that lacks in a whole lot of people who desire massive amounts of success.”

Passion driver

Another Inc. article (Jan. 29, 2023) by Marcel Schwantes, says another billionair­e Warren Buffett once said that the key to your happiness is to “do something you enjoy all your life.” I read this as passion. He added, “I urge you to work in jobs that you love. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your résumé.” His presumptio­n is that doing what you are passionate about gives “unmatched purpose,” uses your talents, keeps you hopeful and optimistic.

The excitement, energy and enjoyment that comes from generally loving what you do is how I see passion. It’s a feeling.

Passion has the ability to spark creativity, get you recognitio­n, improve focus and attention, make work more motivating, enjoyable and satisfying, among other things, according to Indeed.com’s “A Guide to the Importance of Passion for Work.”

A third perspectiv­e: Blended driver

Where we focus and what we love can be melded together to form a third perspectiv­e. A quote that has resonated with me since entering the world of work describes it well:

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinctio­n between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”

Put another way — those who observe us will not be able to tell if we are working or playing. Side note. It’s funny — most of my life I was under the impression that it was a Buddhist quote. While the root of this sentiment — losing the distinctio­n between work and play — can be traced to Mayahana Buddhist teaching, the actual quote is from a 1932 book, “Education through Recreation” by Lawrence Pearsall Jacks.

What this means to me is that loving what we do (passion) and constantly improving how we do it (effort) can be the beacon for a way of working and living. In over-simplified words, excellence in life, not just career, embraces full enjoyment of everything we do, and consistent­ly doing it better.

What drives readers?

As you some of you know, I like to engage readers in each lesson’s topic through what I’ve called the ProfPoll — a brief, easy to complete, survey. Typically, I push the survey out to readers through my social media and present the feedback in the same article.

This month, we’re going to try something different. I’m going to provide a link where you can go and share your thoughts on today’s topic. Then, at the beginning of next month’s column, I will review the feedback and share my observatio­ns before we get to the new lesson topic. My hope is to encourage participat­ion from more readers throughout the region, beyond my social media connection­s.

In today’s lesson I presented the three Career Drivers: Effort, Passion and Blended. The ProfPoll asks you to say which of the three you work by — which one resonates the most with you. Then, you are asked to give an example of that driver from your world of work!

ProfPoll Link: https://santod2013.survey.fm/ effort-or-passion-whatdrives-you

Poll Closes: 9 p.m., Sunday, March 19, 2023

Whether its effort, passion or a blend of both, focus on the driver that speaks to YOU. Success in life, not only career, is just ahead!

Next Column: Let’s talk about race at work, before we can’t

Dr. Santo D. Marabella, The Practical Prof, is a professor emeritus of management at Moravian University and hosts the podcast “Office Hours with The Practical Prof … and Friends.” His latest book, “The Lessons of Caring” is written to inspire and support caregivers (available in paperback and eBook). Website: ThePractic­alProf.com; Twitter: @ PracticalP­rof; Facebook: ThePractic­alProf.

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