Mark Cuban: "Follow Your Passion" is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.

27 replies
Oliver Segovia at HBR posed a similar stance to Cuban, arguing that to find happiness in your career, it's time you forget about your passion. Segovi writes:

"Today's twenty-somethings were raised to find our dreams and follow them. But it's a different world. And as the jobless generation grows up, we realize the grand betrayal of the false idols of passion. This philosophy no longer works for us, or at most, feels incomplete. So what do we do? I propose a different frame of reference: Forget about finding your passion. Instead, focus on finding big problems.
- Bold is mine.

Mark Cuban Says This Is The Worst Advice You Could Ever Give (Or Get) - Business Insider

Article on Mark Cuban's blog,
Dont Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort « blog maverick

A comment on Cuban's blog post
"Following my passion" is often code for "I don't like to work".
Joe Mobley
#”follow #advice #cuban #easily #follow #give #mark #passion #passion” #worst
  • Profile picture of the author mickyl
    If everybody stop following their passion then we'll lose the best visual artists, scientist, musicians, film makers, actors, and even doctors.
    Dreams are often what keep people motivated and hopeful...

    The problem, I believe, is that people follow their passion blindly, without a long term plan or a proven strategy.

    As a glass artist I can tell you that life as an artist is not easy at all. And that is the reason that I started working on the IM world the second I graduated from the art academy. But the IM business is meant to allow me to make art and not worry about the money all the time, it doesn't mean I gave up on making art and selling it, it just means I don't do it full time.

    Actually, when I started working for an seo company my family thought I'm making a mistake and my boss would never pay (since I'm working from home), and they were proven wrong! Again - I followed a passion - the passion to work for someone I like on my own time and my own phase - and it worked!

    So following a passion isn't necessarily that bad. but you have to have a plan, and be prepared to be flexible from time to time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    people seperate passion from work... but a lot of the hardest working..wealthiest people .. can put 16 hours a day into what they do and not feel like they are over worked ..the singer who puts a lot of time into writing their own song practicing it..and then record it 60 times untill they get it right ..

    the more passionate about what you do the more you do it.. the more you are into getting better at it ..and the more willing you are to get what you are worth ..

    the problem with the passsion mantra.. is then there are the acceptable things to be passionate about ..the stuff everyone tries to do .. that doesn't seem like work ..but then to get the worm farmers or the people who get dirty when they work..are happy to get dirty ..because the harder and dirtier it looks ..the fewer people line up to do it ..

    find a craft and an occupation that excites many of your passions ..
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    i came up with my essence theory a while back ..

    when you set a goal or try to attract something with the law of of attraction.. what is the essence behind the goal or the thing.. what feeling do you hope to get by achieving that or getting that.. and how can you get that same feeling on a regular basis leading up to getting that ..

    the same with what you are passionate about .. i used to like video games and other online activities that i could do 16 hours a day ...now it is possible to make money playiing video games today.. but not much..

    but i have identifies what made me passionate about playing video game what i got from it ..i have also gone into what i like about the two long term really bad jobs i had and what i liked about them and what i didn't ..

    the thing you do isn't as important as why you do it ..and the odd thing about what yo are passionate about.. is many times your passions change every few years as you grow .not a real good thing to build your career on ..

    to many people love to cook.. and make the mistake of trying to open a diner .. and eating establisments have the highest failure rates in business ..

    or little jenney is good with animals so she should be a vet .. and half way through vet school she relizes she hates the idea of being a vet ..
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    I would listen to Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos over Mark Cuban any day.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I used to work as a full time actor because I followed my passion. That is tough work and I have done a lot of jobs since. But I would never have done it if I didn't follow my passion and it was one of the best experiences ever. Now I follow my skills and also a kind of passion with writing and proofreading.
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    Hmmmm. A little backstory...

    My parents met during an art class when they were in college - pre WWII. Then after the war they had me! Does that mean I've been had? Nah.

    They both played music for fun - Dad, guitar and banjo, Mom, piano. And they had a photo darkroom at home.

    When I was 5, Mom gave me a camera. By age 6 Dad taught me how to develop film and make prints in the darkroom. And at about that same age they began to teach me to play music.

    While I was a child they also taught me how to draw, but I wasn't patient enough to keep up with drawing. So, during most of my childhood my two passions were photography and playing music.

    Those have been the fields I worked in over the years. At one point I and some friends owned a recording studio, and later I built a large photography studio. And I made my living as a musician for 15 years.

    From this came more than 40 years working in careers based around my passions. It's been wonderful never having a boss.

    I can't imagine spend your time doing something just because it is what you need to do to generate income, when you can generate income doing your passion.

    :-Don
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Yeah, better to get a job and help build someone else's dreams... :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author Jesse L
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      Yeah, better to get a job and help build someone else's dreams... :rolleyes:
      Been there done that....ugh
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      • Profile picture of the author gedeon13
        Well, effort is good, but without passion it's useless.
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      • Profile picture of the author rmolina88
        Originally Posted by Jesse L View Post

        Been there done that....ugh
        Same here.

        But not anymore!
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      Yeah, better to get a job and help build someone else's dreams... :rolleyes:

      It is great getting a job for somone if they are actually getting rich and living their dreams..but when the people you work for are not living their dreams ..or getting rich.

      it is no fun ..
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  • Profile picture of the author buckeyes09
    Does the "I'll live my life for a few years like most people won't, so I can live with rest of my life like most people can't" quote apply? Call me young and idealistic, but I'd rather live my life trying than not and wondering what may have been. Although I find "What if" books interesting, I don't want to live my life wondering.
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    Christian

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  • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
    Instead of mere passion, Cuban says to focus on what you spend the most of your time and effort doing.
    Isn't this the very definition of a passion? Something you spend the majority of your time and effort doing?
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinDahlberg
    I went to school for my passion and I ended up dropping out a semester before finishing a masters in trumpet performance. Does that mean going after your passion is bad? No. It just means I was misguided.

    I hadn't figured out the concept of input vs output.

    My input was practicing my horn, while my output was preparing for recitals and concerts. Pretty hard to make a living with either of those in the middle of North Dakota. If I had been able to find an output that would make me money, then I'd still be playing my horn.

    If your "output" doesn't have a way to make you money, then you need to find a way to make money so that you can indulge in your passion.
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  • Profile picture of the author eugenedm
    "Follow Your Passion" is a favorite motto. If I am not doing something that I'm passionate about then my life is not really worth living at all...I would be a zombie and not human.
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  • Profile picture of the author ProScribe
    I think OP (and Mark Cuban) are right in that you do need to think about what other peoples needs rather than concentrating solely on your own and the quote big opportunities are found in big problems is definitely correct.

    That said IMHO it is also important to do something that you are actually naturally inclined towards (your passion). Its a lot easier becoming really good at something that you already have an inclination towards and excelling at that.

    Engineers for example can make a lot of money but it doesn't necessarily follow that I would make a good engineer or be successful at it because that's not where my natural talents are.

    Finding that intersection of market demand with something that you can do well is I think what you need to look for.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotunited
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    The only reason to make money is to do what you want.
    Great Words...............That's Right!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author maxaurelius
      Originally Posted by hotunited View Post

      Great Words...............That's Right!!!

      Nicely said.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sharon Hayes
    I think one of the big issues for a lot of people is that they misinterpret what following your passion really means.

    There's 3 sources of passion:
    • What your work is
    • How you run your business/do your work
    • Non-professional interests

    Most people believe that the "follow your passion" idea is about only on the first item... when it's not. I love what I do and the end result of it but it's more about the second two items.

    I wrote a post that goes into more detail on the subject : The Truth about Passion and Entrepreneurship | SharonHayes.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr Bill
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    The only reason to make money is to do what you want.
    100% the way I think.

    I think trying to make money from your passion is nice if it happens as a consequence of your passion (e.g an Artist or musician who makes enough money to live from their passion) but to try to make money from your passion as a primary goal risks you losing or at least diluting your passion. Trying to make money from your passion as a primary aim also risks you mixing a good business decision with a decision based on your passion. If there was such a term it might be called "passion blindness" and could be illustrated by "not doing something that would make good money because of the principles that conflict with your passion" or "selling out" as it's sometimes called.

    Example, most young boys (and of course some young girls) love cars when they are growing up. I myself am passionate about old hot rods but if I was to follow my passion I would have become a mechanic and killed my passion for cars. Most mechanics don't get to work on cool hot rods for a living and even if they did I'm sure they would prefer to choose their projects rather than be forced to work on someone else's project - perhaps in a style they dislike...etc

    I prefer to make money using the best money making techniques I can find or discover so I can then get away from money making (asap!) and focus on my hobbies and passions. I need my hobbies and passions to be away from what I do for money. I don't love money but I'd like enough to live a free life filled with hobbies and passions. I don't want my hobbies, passions and work (or what I do for money) to blend into one big mess.
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    • Profile picture of the author piper97
      Originally Posted by Mr Bill View Post

      100% the way I think.

      I think trying to make money from your passion is nice if it happens as a consequence of your passion (e.g an Artist or musician who makes enough money to live from their passion) but to try to make money from your passion as a primary goal risks you losing or at least diluting your passion. Trying to make money from your passion as a primary aim also risks you mixing a good business decision with a decision based on your passion. If there was such a term it might be called "passion blindness" and could be illustrated by "not doing something that would make good money because of the principles that conflict with your passion" or "selling out" as it's sometimes called.

      Example, most young boys (and of course some young girls) love cars when they are growing up. I myself am passionate about old hot rods but if I was to follow my passion I would have become a mechanic and killed my passion for cars. Most mechanics don't get to work on cool hot rods for a living and even if they did I'm sure they would prefer to choose their projects rather than be forced to work on someone else's project - perhaps in a style they dislike...etc

      I prefer to make money using the best money making techniques I can find or discover so I can then get away from money making (asap!) and focus on my hobbies and passions. I need my hobbies and passions to be away from what I do for money. I don't love money but I'd like enough to live a free life filled with hobbies and passions. I don't want my hobbies, passions and work (or what I do for money) to blend into one big mess.
      You are dead on Mr. Bill. I think a very tiny percentage actually make a living following their passion. And it's a very natural process when they do. They don't go out of their way to align their passion and their work.

      I'm in the category of having one major passion and a couple of smaller ones, but it would just suck the life out of me if I tried to make a living following one of them. Now, I am also enthusiastic (pseudo passionate) about a lot of things, so I have lots of opportunity for working at something that I enjoy and which can potentially make me a ton of money.

      When it comes to making a living in IM, I think the better advice is "find something that you are enthusiastic about" rather than "find something that you are passionate about".
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Schwarz
    My passion is my life.
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    Frank "at" SchwarzMediaGroup.com

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    • Profile picture of the author Mr Bill
      Originally Posted by Frank Schwarz View Post

      My passion is my life.
      Interesting, care to narrow it down a bit Frank?
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  • Profile picture of the author pqnaae
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author Mr Bill
      Originally Posted by pqnaae View Post

      I think one of the big issues for a lot of people is that they misinterpret what following your passion really means.
      Tell us. What's your interpretation?
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  • Profile picture of the author tjaysen70
    Ha yea that is true, and what Cuban means is that so many of our passions aren't worth a nickel. So instead if you find big problems, then you can position yourself to make money. This is the same thing in marketing online. If you find a solution to someone's problems, you will make money. Instead of mere passion, Cuban says to focus on what you spend the most of your time and effort doing.
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  • Interesting,

    When I think of passion, I am not thinking about money, so perhaps what Cubin is saying is he made his money because money was his passion? Sad if that is the case, for no one should make money their passion as I see it.

    Sure, if you have a passion for a hobbie, then you may be able to make money by following it, but maybe it is just me, I have not identified a passion beyond helping my family and friends and volunteering for non profit fundraisers. With these passions, it is not easy finding a money making opportunity when working with fundraisers.

    Still researching the concept of making money while following my passion of people helping people, but there is always hope, and hope is what keeps me following my passion. My passion is to get paid to help others, but very few typical business opportunties can achieve this goal. I guess I will have to create one that does pay to help others, as in reward the volunteers who make fundraising possible for thousands of charities.

    Success to all,
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