“So good they can’t ignore you” – thoughts on the reading

Cal Newport starts off with differentiating between two different approaches to thinking about work: the craftsman mindset and the passion mindset. Newport defines a craftsman mindset as a focus on what value you’re producing in your job as opposed to a passion mindset which is a focus on what value your job offers you. Newport argues that the craftsman mindset is the foundation for creating work you love.

I think the reading positions the two mindsets to be on opposite ends of the spectrum and not exclusive of one another however I think its possible to combine them both. For me I think focusing on what you can offer through your craft is following what you are good at or what your are interested in which can grow into passion. This is in line with his theory. He writes that you should just focus on creating meaningful work. My interpretation is that if you are in passion mindset you are too focuses on if this is the ‘right’ work you should be doing but if you shift your focus on how can I make this great then you naturally be cultivating a “passion”.

However on the last page he writes that your why is not as important as the how. However doesn’t your why drive how you do your work and your end goal? What drives you when you are facing struggles with your craft or your art? I think the why and the how are interconnected so it isn’t about shifting from why to how but more finding how they inform each other.

Elizabeth Gilbert offers a ‘softer’ approach to creativity and that is to follow your curiosity. It may lead to your ‘passion’ or not but you will be doing something you are interested in.


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