Why Passion Matters More Than Skills

Above skills, experience, connections, money, grades, diplomas, the one thing that will truly get you to succeed is passion. You can learn skills, but you can’t learn passion. Passion is what gets you through the tough parts, is what distinguish you from a crowd of graduates, is what motivates you to perform above average. Not money, not people.

Let me tell you a story of how a friend of mine scored his dream job by being truly passionate about a career he wasn’t even sure existed.


Once upon a time…

… a guy was looking for a job. He actually already had a cool job in the beer industry, but he hated it. I must say, the job itself wasn’t so bad, but it was just so far away from his ideal career which was to work in the music industry.

For months he looked religiously at job boards, hoping for a new opportunity that would get him closer to his dream.

“I am not sure if there are even jobs out there for this, I just want to contribute the music industry”, he said.

At first, he was applying to jobs with enthusiasm and confidence, happy to discover that he was genuinely motivated by many of the job titles he was seeing. Like, yeah, those jobs he was dreaming about actually seemed to exist!

But as the weeks went by without any positive feedback, and then the months, he started to apply for less thrilling jobs, and then, basically, any jobs. As you can guess, this didn’t lead to any interesting outcomes.


“How am I going to get a job in an industry in which I have no experience or contacts?”

Yes, it was a tough one. And without a true passion, he could have easily given up. But he just kept looking anyway and kept writing to the companies he was interested in.

Until one day, he applied for a job. One of those dreamy, too-good-to-be-true, are-there-really-people-who-do-that-for-a-living kind of job. And they called. And he got an interview. And he got the job. He didn’t have any experience in the music industry, just a passion.

Told like that, the story looks like a fairytale, but it sure didn’t feel like one just a few days before. Nor during the countless sleepless nights spent staring at the ceiling, wondering if he would ever find anything remotely meaningful to do it his life. Or the times he felt like a loser for not performing so well at school because he played guitar the night before instead of studying. But all those evenings, skipping homework to play music, the money spent on CDs and shows, the hours “wasted” on the Internet reading industry news, are what made the difference between my friend and a more qualified person in the interview.

Next time someone (dad?) tells you to stop wasting your time on hobbies, and focus on the serious stuff, think of my friend and tell them your passion is the serious stuff. If you say it enough, it will be.


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