Cover of "So Good They Cant Ignore You" by Cal Newport

I love the career work I do. I design user interfaces and engineer the front-end every day. I'm passionate about doing a great job and making the best possible experience for the user. I always assumed this was because I have an inherent draw to technological development. So naturally, I was drawn to the interactive side of things during my design training in school. Obviously, my passion for the web is what drew me in then and still motivates me to keep going today...right?

Wrong. In So Good They Can't Ignore You, Cal Newport deeply explores what makes people great and what drives their passion. This book contains some excellent chapters that drive home the point of what makes a person great, what makes a person passionate and how to keep leveling up in your work. Whether you're a designer, developer or in an unrelated field it's applicable to your situation.

As I survey the interests and hobbies in my life, my passion has only been ignited after I obtain a certain level of skill. Whether it's woodworking, handy-man'ing, guitar playing or teaching, my passion is stirred as my skills increase.

The Takeaway

The biggest take away for me is the need to develop your skills first. As your skills continue to increase, and you prove to be good at what you do, passion will follow. Passion does not come first. Perhaps you experience some excitement at the prospect of the work, but you cannot be passionate about your work if you are bad at it. In the end, I've come to realize that passion isn't what drives great work. It's refinement. It's practice. It's skill development. Your passion will increase and follow the development of your skills.

Favorite Quotes

"Regardless of how you feel about your job right now, adopting the craftsman mindset is will be the foundation on which you'll build a compelling career."
"This generates an exciting implication...If you can figure out how to integrate deliberate practice into your own life, you have the possibility of blowing past your peers in your value...Deliberate practice might provide the key to becoming so good they can't ignore you."

Want to talk?

Need help, advice or a speaker for your event? I’d love to connect and help you build novel solutions with design.

Connect with me