This week’s reading was a little different to what we’re used to. It wasn’t overloaded with theoretical concepts and convoluted with big words that needed defining every 5 seconds. Instead, it explained a simple idea, with an effective discussion. It was actually enjoyable, using the anecdote Jordan Tice – the dedicated musician who plays countless hours a day trying to better his abilities. What I liked most about it was that his concepts are relatable, to not only myself and my industry, but applicable to anyone in any job.
Newport’s philosophy is quite simple really – “put your head down and plug away at getting really damn good”. However, if you don’t, you’re basically screwed – “If you’re not focusing on becoming so good they can’t ignore you, you’re going to be left behind”. He presents two mindsets, the Craftsman (AKA the key to success) and the Passion (AKA you think you’re good, but you’re not). The former refers to a focus on the value you’re producing in your job, and the latter, a focus on what value your job offers you.
While i disagree with some of his statements, I do somewhat agree with this one: “when you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyperaware of what you don’t like about it”. The first thing that comes to mind here, is my current part-time position at a non-profit. I’m not only thinking about wages like most would if they were forced to scrub toilets (the extreme of the job-hating spectrum), but i’m thinking of the contribution i’m making to positive community change. However when I’m working on editing a video, for example, where I always strive for the best possible outcome, in that sense i’m also hyperaware of what I don’t like about it. This is still of a motivational tool for improvement, is it not?
Where do i sit? Am i too self-involved? Am i of the passion mindset? I certainly think so. I’ve got a media Facebook page that I regularly update with my content. What would Newport say to this – I think he’d say that self-promotion is pointless unless the quality of work is unbeatable. Nope, i disagree. You have to get your name out there and make a start somewhere. Even if there are gaps in quality, maybe someone will see potential in abilities and provide the next stepping stone. Just my thoughts. I don’t think that the craftsman mindset is the only key to success and finding meaning a meaningful career, but adopting it certainly helps, especially when combined with goals and passions.