Don’t Follow Your Passion

Don’t Follow Your Passion

There are only two things I can tell you today
that come with absolutely no agenda. The first is “Congratulations.” The second is “Good
luck.” Everything else is what I like to call, “The Dirty Truth,” which is just
another way of saying, “It’s my opinion.” And in my opinion, you have all been given
some terrible advice, and that advice, is this: Follow your passion. Every time I watch the Oscars, I cringe when
some famous movie star—trophy in hand—starts to deconstruct the secret of their success.
It’s always the same thing: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have what
it takes, kid!”; and the ever popular, “Never give up on your dreams!” Look, I understand the importance of persistence,
and the value of encouragement, but who tells a stranger to never give up on their dreams,
without even knowing what it is they’re dreaming? I mean, how can Lady Gaga possibly know
where your passion will lead you? Have these people never seen American Idol? Year after year, thousands of aspiring American
Idols show up with great expectations, only to learn that they don’t possess the skills
they thought they did. What’s really amazing though, is not their
lack of talent—the world is full of people who can’t sing. It’s their genuine shock
at being rejected—the incredible realization that their passion and their ability had nothing
to do with each other. Look, if we’re talking about your hobby,
by all means let your passion lead you. But when it comes to making a living, it’s
easy to forget the dirty truth: just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t
mean you won’t suck at it. And just because you’ve earned a degree
in your chosen field, doesn’t mean you’re gonna find your “dream job.” Dream Jobs are usually just that—dreams. But their imaginary existence just might keep
you from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and develop
a genuine passion for the job you already have. Because here’s another Dirty Truth:
your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself. On Dirty Jobs, I remember a very successful
septic tank cleaner, a multi-millionaire, who told me the secret to his success: “I looked around to see where everyone else
was headed,” he said, “And then I went the opposite way. Then I got good at my work.
Then I began to prosper. And then one day, I realized I was passionate about other people’s
crap.” I’ve heard that same basic story from welders,
plumbers, carpenters, electricians, HVAC professionals, hundreds of other skilled tradesmen who followed
opportunity—not passion—and prospered as a result. Consider the reality of the current job market. Right now, millions of people with degrees
and diplomas are out there competing for a relatively narrow set of opportunities that
polite society calls “good careers.” Meanwhile, employers are struggling to fill nearly 5.8
million jobs that nobody’s trained to do. This is the skills gap, it’s real, and its
cause is actually very simple: when people follow their passion, they miss out on all
kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed. When I was 16, I wanted to follow in my grandfather’s
footsteps. He was a skilled tradesman who could build a house without a blueprint. That
was my passion, and I followed it for years. I took all the shop classes at school, I did
all I could to absorb the knowledge and skill that came so easily to my granddad. Unfortunately, the handy gene is recessive.
It skipped right over me, and I struggled mightily to overcome my deficiencies. But
I couldn’t. I was one of those contestants on American Idol, who believed his passion
was enough to ensure his success. One day, I brought home a sconce I had made
in wood-shop that looked like a paramecium. After a heavy sigh, my granddad gave me the
best advice I’ve ever received. He told me, “Mike, you can still be a tradesman, but
only if you get yourself a different kind of toolbox.” At the time, this felt contrary to everything
I believed about the importance of “passion” and persistence and “staying the course.”
But of course, he was right. Because “staying the course” only makes sense if you’re
headed in a sensible direction. And while passion is way too important to
be without, it is way too fickle to follow around. Which brings us to the final Dirty Truth.
“Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.” Congratulations, again – and good luck. I’m Mike Rowe from mikeroweWORKS, for Prager

100 thoughts on “Don’t Follow Your Passion

  1. Following ones passion isnt always practical IF you are incapable. Have a mentor be brutally honest about your ability in a given area. I once spoke to a famous makeup artist who advises not to follow your passion per se, but to follow ones curiosities and nurture your capabilities. For people in artistic careers, its helpful to study business. Dont get too hung up on a destination but have a plan that leads to better opportunities:)

  2. You are following yours then why not others?
    Just the fact you must know what you like and you're good at to follow it.

  3. My passion was to be a soldier. I got kicked out of bootcamp becouse i had a hearth attack and almost died. I ended up being a Security Chief. Not bad.

  4. You will laugh. But I was following my passion and became good international specialist. I'm managing I'm in SMT in 3 companies (one is US based) and I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH YOU. I know that I'm happy that my passion = my field of expertise.
    And by working with lots of lots of people I see that is rare thing.

  5. I strongly disagree with you Mike Rowe. You said this because you don't understand how the world really works, only how it works on a small level. Big and successful people say the same things for a good reason, but if you don't understand it, it's because you don't understand how to get there. I know your target is low-performing people doing general labor, and while that's fine for small dreamers who don't care about doing anything important – and we do need general laborers – it's not how the world really works. Only how it works for small people who will not do anything important with their lives.

  6. So what this told me that stay poor work a job you hate till you die and give up on dreams wow terrible video the only one I dislike so you can't go for happiness wow.

  7. I'll be sure to follow advice from the organization telling people that they need an imaginary wizard in the sky to not slaughter each other and which denies reality because of conflicting interests with the oil lobbies funding them.

  8. Your a wise man…. the youth of today may have a difficult time understanding what your talking about.  Like you, I had great, hard working grandparents and parents to teach me and to follow.  The youth today have listened to social workers and teachers…. their lost!  Common sense is no longer common.

  9. Still joining the marines or military out of family honor, want to my duty ,of experiencem, and out of I want to do it

  10. I followed my passion of music and became a millionaire by 30. Following your passion is the one good advice you can give a person. Of course having an honest passion means you have to realize when you suck and learn to move on.

  11. I think prager u should be stormed and all of these Nazi philosophers killed by PLPA (People’s Leftism Protection Army)

  12. So Joe DiMaggio should have been a fisherman like his shitty dad wanted instead of a baseball player? Elton John and Homer Hickham should have been a banker and a coal miner instead of a singer and a rocket scientist? What a bunch of crap.

  13. This is sad. The only dirty truth is they need you to do these jobs for these elite ruling folks. Never forget they need us the people but we don’t need them. Take your passion back.

  14. My dream has always been to be a cannibal chieftain, and bosh people on the head with my war-club so I can drag them back to my village and cook them in a pot.

    Thinking of settling for pest control officer.

  15. I just shake my head when I see videos like this. I was told my entire life to NOT follow my passion, which was being a violinist. I listened to all the well meaning people who said “Do not be a pro musician, it is a terrible profession”. I even bought into that advice and seriously put all my efforts into doing “standard” jobs. Well, I found out the hard way that I not only sucked and earned little to no money at all of the nonmusical jobs I did, clients and colleagues didn’t accept me usually because I was the wrong look and wrong personality even if I had the right skillset and the right experience. Yet despite me burning out through no less than 10 “respectable” jobs, I continued to teach violin and perform on violin and GET HIRED. It turns out that I should have just stuck with the violin all along because I have THE “IT” which it takes to be a successful full time performer (in my case I’m not a successful violin teacher, students generally hate me because my violin style is too unique to me). It’s not as if I suddenly just popped up out of nowhere – I started winning violin contests annually at the age of 10, won NY All State 1st chair (the HARDEST state in the US to win violin in), attended the Juilliard School, appeared on radio and TV as a kid, and was constantly playing paid performances before I even graduated high school. I spent most of my life trying to be anything other than a pro violinist and ended up as one anyway because it was the only thing I ever did which actually consistently earned me money without extreme hatred from clients and colleagues. In my career, I get hired not because there are existing jobs for me but because I present new opportunities for people to try. My advice for people with passion is to go out and try it for real because if they fail, they’ll be able to walk away easier knowing they left no stone unturned. For me, pro music has been the most stable and lucrative job I ever had and I still get into arguments with people (especially family) that can’t believe I’m in the fanciest resorts performing for top clients instead of standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign. Incidentally, American Idol approached me about being on their show and I TURNED THEM DOWN because I knew I’d be made out to be a laughingstock onstage even if they genuinely tried to promote me.

  16. "Follow you dreams!" – said the 0.000000000000000000000000000000000001% of super-successful people that had nothing besides rich parent's, good marketing, following political trendies and etc…

  17. I disagree I didn't follow my passion and went to trade school I'm in a job I hate it has taken alot out of me mental and physical

  18. Video translation: give up on finding a job you will ever be happy or passionate about. Just be passionate about your crappy job, so that management can have it easier.

  19. It is obvious that in this country we value sports and entertainment far more than "dirty jobs" thus eventually we fall apart and find ourselves dumbfounded as to our demise. Making a life and making a living do not necessarily follow the same path neither is seeking happiness and contentment.

  20. I think this is horrible advice, for multiple reasons:

    • One way to become competent at something is through perseverance, often indirectly by pursuing a related skill. The single greatest reason that anyone will persevere at something is because he genuinely loves doing it.

    • Following a passion is sometimes the ONLY motivation leading to a successful career. Often, one can have no expectation of initial financial success in pursuing a particular line of work, although that type of job can become lucrative in its later phases. If you don't love what you do, then you aren't likely to make it through the entry-level and mid-level phases, and break through to the big bucks.

    • The very act of pursuing a craft for which one has little or no natural aptitude can be, and often is, profoundly inspiring to others. The very first example that comes to mind is the story of Rudy Ruettiger, and I wonder what Mike Rowe would make of it. (Presumably, he would consider it folly, yes?)

    • Sometimes, your passion for your work is the only thing that gets you through it. Lots of people quit something at which they're competent because they just can't stand the job when it becomes tedious (which is much less likely to happen when one is passionate about what one does) or extraordinarily difficult.

    • There's a logical paradox in Rowe's advice, which is: How does someone know that he has no great future doing what he loves, if he doesn't first follow his passion in order to come to that realization? "Just because you're passionate about something, doesn't mean you won't suck at it!" Yeah, real deep there, Mike. In fact, the vast majority of people who excel at what they do "sucked at it" for a significant amount of time. Until they didn't. At what point should they have given up, and opened a sh!t-sucking company, like the cat in your anecdote?

    What's more, I find it laughable that Rowe adduces variety entertainment programs to back up his claims. Some people with stars in their eyes go onstage and make fools of themselves, or even perform fairly well but just not at superstar levels, so the rest of us are supposed to take note and pursue dirty jobs that few, if any, people will do, largely because they represent economic voids that need to be filled? Is this guy serious?

  21. Usually like Prager vids… not this one. How about follow your passion, but always have a backup plan.

  22. theres another unexplored point to this, what happens when you finally get your dream job? life is about the journey, not the destination. if you finally get your dream job you'll be over it in a year or two unless its just a means to an end. and after all that time and effort you'll have a new dream job to fantasize about.
    the grass is always greener on the other side, be content with what you have, but dont let that hold you back from continuing on in your journey through life. for every goal you meet, set yourself a new goal, and never live your life thinking theres only a set number of things you want to achieve, without desire you will have no reason to take further steps and you will fall into stagnation and depression.

  23. + Any job may be automated in the next 30 years
    + The cost of higher education is too high to justify the expense beyond a few select careers
    + Your life is short and no amount of security or money ever bought back a second of time

    So what is the solution?
    1. Be aware of the market and know what your skills are ACTUALLY worth (i.e. left-handed puppetry will not worth anything unless you MAKE it worth something)
    2. Explore your careers and do something you first derive true meaning from. Passion clicks on and off. And being good at something may make you think you are wasting your life away. You need to find MEANING before your work, then stick to it.
    3. Just like that, you lost a second of time. Money and security are very good things, but you don't invest your life into the life raft, you invest it into the boat. If you are truly passionate about something, train yourself in a skilled trade, work what is necessary to support yourself, then put all your other time and energy into your passion. The seconds are rolling by.
    4. And, for Christ sake, save your damn money. The biggest killer of your desired goals is your decision to spend money stupidly. Be humble, work hard, and enjoy the fact that you get to do what you like that day. Don't buy useless shit like Ferraris even if you have a little extra cash. That is now your "all things went to shit in case my desired work didn't work out" fund.

  24. My passion is to make sure my children have a relationship with Jesus Christ and understand god is a perfect father and always provides

  25. the job I'm wanting to get into is cybersecurity, it's well paid, very necessary, and very open. I am proficient in electronics, and so I'll be working to teach myself to program and understand as much as possible about computers.

  26. Now that I am an old woman of 60, I tell young people not to hold out for the job they want. I say, take the job you can get and learn to like what you are doing. A person with a job is in a better position to get a better job. You never know, you may develop a passion for the job you have.

  27. I guess we assume a certain amount of intelligence when we tell people to never give up on their dreams. If they are generally still wet behind their ears then is it is a gift to know what does and doesn't work, so give it a go. Follow your dreams and get turned down by a TV judge, then follow another dream and another and another until you hit gold. It's called life. You either endure a job you hate, or run the assault course of trying dreams until you get there. Bad advice from PragerU today IMO.

  28. For those who doubt this man. He said : "congratulation" and "good luck" these means you probably hit gold pursuing your passion. The words after are just a point of view. I just love triggered over- coddled people when a point of view shocks their believe, especially when it accepted as absolute truth and was planted to their mind at a very young age.

  29. Declaration didn’t say we had a right to our pursuit of passion.

    No guarantees, but is our right to try, fail or succeed – so perhaps I’d amend to say, be passionate about your pursuit of happiness

  30. I've always wanted to be an artist. But I played my cards right and did it as a side thing, while working a good job that paid my bills. While I build up my skill. Now I'm at a point where I can do art as a main source of income 😀 you just have to be smart about it.

  31. I was passionate about being a motorcycle mechanic and became a Harley Davidson mechanic and learned it was a lot of fun fixing,building and taking care of bikes but found out that the only person in the shop that made any money was the owner of the shop so I went back to the maintenance industry and made more money in less hours, I know it's not about the money BUT ya got to have it to survive.

  32. I hated my job my entire adult life But raising a family made the liking my job irrelevant To meeting the needs of my family. I continued to excel at my job while hating it. Then I retired as soon as possible when I became of age. Reflecting back I realized It was the challenges and difficulties of my Job and against all odds solving them With ease to the delight of my employer. Rewarding me With pay raises and benefits unheard of In that industry For excelling at A job I didn't know I loved. Now that I'm retired I can't recall Missing anything I've done in my life more. If I could do it again I would have a different perspective Deriving more joy from my job Now that I'm wise enough to recognize it.

  33. It is a big insult/slap to the face of underemployed people like myself who chose my career because of great interest. I have been in a dead-end job (office staff) for 6 years now (no progression) and my majors in information technology is now good as a pile of junk. The knowledge that I learned during those 4 years is gradually fading (intellectual loss). Because of these, I suffer from psychosomatic issues (anxiety, depression, self-degrading feelings), up to the point of attempts at taking my own life 4 times.

  34. You want to dirty truth you're full of shit I have seen people who have done terrible and came back and became better because they didn't listen to your pathetic advice Here's the truth obviously your parents didn't care enough to teach you that loop life lesson that you're going to fell a 1000 times before you succeed the dirty truth is you're some like you're saying that they should just give up before they even know what it is to With that kind of thinking you're just the type of person that that whilst once and said I'm throwing in the towel but Hey it's all because it's the dirty truth right 1 mistake 1 fall means to your suck and does not mean that you can get better by your failures Only thing delusional is how quick you are to save that someone should just give up if anything what you're really suggesting us that they should just roll over and be snowflakes I'm sorry you never went for something give liked in your miserable because you were a coward but don't try to make other people feel like a coward to You really sound like a snowflake the truth is yes people fail But the people who have succeeded are the people to actually have felled like the people here said jesting not to do it of course they're gonna fail that's how you become successful You just honestly sound like someone who is trying to be a hater and justify your reasons for doing so there's always going to be people like you who say someone cannot do something but what the world doesn't tell you is that they get is arrogant as you and actually convinced themselves that they're right because they have a justified reason for being right all at the same time they're actually just full of shit in are the biggest haters of them all In fact it's even more nice to watch them when they looked shocked because they're the ones who are gonna be the most shocked Of all when they have to seriously eat their words and people like you who actually convinced yourself that you're right because you have a justified reason for being right end up eating the most words So yes as far as I'm concerned you still are one of the haters and I can't take you serious lol just because you're a snowflake who didn't go after something he liked Back in the day and you weren't a man enough to walk through the pain and actually know what it is to struggle to become stronger and succeed doesn't mean you gotta tear other people down because you're a snowflake And yes the road to success is full of pain I guess at something you could never handle because you don't have what it takes to know that you need to go through it

  35. The real reason you probably have this attitude is because he probably sell the one time miserably and a got so sore about it that you just rolled up in a ball and gave up

  36. Well, maybe I messed up!
    I'm that kid, you know the one who was fascinated by machinery, trucks, heavyequipment, ect.
    Started out working in a gas station changing oil, pumping gas, fixing flats, and doing mechanic work.
    Moved on to a truck and heavy equipment shop where I picked up more skills, welding, hydraulics, and truck driving, hauling equipment.
    Now, I'm about to retire, almost 50yrs later 4.6 million miles behind me moving oversized loads.
    Also, owning and maintaining my equipment.
    Yes, by all means follow your passion, BUT, ONLY IF IT TAKES YOU SOMEWHERE USEFUL!!

  37. I knew my passion early on and learned what I was good at before I left High School. Now if I could've lined up those two things in a money making way before I broke my neck, there's a chance I'd be doing quite well now. I loved to build, repair or restore just about anything and had done exactly that in a family member's shop, from age twelve until twenty one. It was suggested to me back then that the Military would be a good option. I know hind sight's 20/20 but at this point that sounds like real good advice.

  38. Every Job will have draining and stressful aspects. So choose the one where at least there is a hint of zest in your stomach when you wake up in the morning.

  39. Passionate people are usually the creative types, “ artists, singers and writers . “ Left brain people ( analytic types ) like Mr. Rowe are unable to vouch for creatives because to guys like him, “ if it’s not tangible , it can’t be done! “. These analytic types lack the ability to dream. The idea is SO dreamy and unimaginable ; their tune becomes , “ Stay! don’t try. ”Be like everyone else. SETTLE for less“. Hey! There’s No point in being persistent. There’s no need for practice. The Dirty truth is, “ UNLESS YOU were born A SAVANT, THERE IS NO TALENT! Mr. Rowe, the people that go on American idol, have not only NOT put in 10,000 hrs of practice BUT probably been given REALLY BAD singing advice.” Passion means Sacrifice,. Talent is Being Persistent. Don’t settle for less! Believe! Be persistent! Practice practice everyday. Put in 10,000 hours. Success means , “ fulfilling Life’s Purpose For You.”

  40. What most people don't understand is nearly everyone has an innate predisposition or ability for some thing or some things they are good at and if practical this is where you should start when looking at for a career. But as my grandfather use to say… "many people over look opportunity because it comes disguised in overalls"

  41. This is sometimes true, very rare. The opportunities you say are your chains. And as you confirm, we live in a system that recompense opportunism, not the benefit you(and only you) create. Don't confuse money with success. You need the money to live. Now that you are alive, start to live. If you want to fail in american idol, go for it, and be a great failure. At the end, this is what you'll have in the day of your death, not your money. Don't be an slave. Don't be afraid of the poverty.

  42. Anyone can learn how to use woodworking tools.
    Your issue as a kid was lack of artistic design. And you could have taken a class on that too.

  43. I feel like the notion of not giving up on your dreams includes this belief that the people/person you're talking to has enough sense to know well enough how to manage their lives. I make this mistake far too often

  44. What if you got an inventive mind and you have OCD for writing down new inventions in notepads you buy at the store? My passion is to either invent them or sell my information to other inventors so they can invent them.

  45. I beg to differ. I can follow my passion, it's just that I need to learn all the knowledge related to it.

    Right now, I definitely have a passion in videography. But what's the point of keep on passioning it if I didn't even know how to use Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro or any related softwares? It would go nowhere.

  46. Keep your dead language poetry passion with you then go learn how to code or some other marketable skill. Make your money, retire early then follow your ridiculous passion / hobby. That's the point here…

  47. This is the truth because my dad didn’t go to college and did a trade as a programmer mechanic for a factory and now goes on business trips and gets paid over $110,200 and works as the company head of mechanical work.

  48. Apparently there are 9.5k idiots with no talents whatsoever who want to follow their passions . Good luck in American Idols !

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