Which Side of the Passion Debate Are You On?

I-could-just-scream

Maybe you haven’t heard, but there are two schools of thought about what part passion plays in business success.

One side claims that passion is everything, and that without it you can’t build a successful business. The other side sees work as simply a means to pursue your real passions outside of the office.


Understanding where you fall in this debate is critical to your success. It’s not just about whether passion is important in business in general, but whether passion is important for you personally to succeed.

The Vaynerchuk School of Hustle

Gary Vaynerchuk is passionate about passion. The first chapter of his upcoming book is titled “Passion is Everything” (I was recently sent a sneak preview, more on that later).

If you’ve ever watched one of Gary’s video blog posts or Wine Library TV shows, you know he’s the real deal. His enthusiasm comes through in every word. He’s all hustle and work ethic.

Gary says that finding your passion is critical to both your success in business and fulfillment in life. He sees no point in wasting your time working on anything other than what you love most.

By living your passion, Gary says you will automatically out-hustle your competition because you will love what you do so much. His is a life philosophy that really doesn’t separate life from work.

The Ferriss School of Renaissance Men

Tim Ferriss thinks you should follow your passions, just not at the office. Tim advocates a work-smarter-not-harder approach. He loathes “job descriptions as self descriptions.” His book, The 4-Hour Workweek is really about separating income from time to create your ideal lifestyle.

In some ways, Tim practices exactly what he preaches. He’s definitely not defined by his career. Take some recent topics on his blog for example, and you’ll find he’s interested in philosophy, dance, weight loss, gadgets and language learning.

Tim’s latest success is ironically due to a lot of hustle and I suspect healthy dose of passion. The big difference between his approach and Gary’s lies more in the duration of that hustle, and in how it defines you.

Who Should You Listen To?

Vaynerchuk says you should live your passion, and Ferriss assumes that the perfect job for you is the one that takes the least time. Who should you listen to?

The right answer depends a lot on who you are (big surprise). I’ve talked before about how turning something that you love to do into something you have to do (a job) can take the joy out of it. If you have a short attention span, what you love to do might change faster than you can cash in on it.

On the other hand, passion can be a powerful thing. It could be that pursuing your passion as a career will propel you to success you wouldn’t achieve otherwise. Once you achieve that success, you can worry about freeing up your time to pursue other things. In the mean time, just don’t forget about all the great things in life that exist outside of work.

In the end, both Gary and Tim are really advocating for the same thing. You should follow your passions in life.

Whether you do that inside or outside of the office is the real question. I’m betting on a little of both. What about you?

photo by db*photography

I'm Corbett Barr, co-founder of Fizzle and entrepreneur for a decade. Get my weekly curated email of useful things for independent entrepreneurs »

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