Mark Cuban: “Don’t Follow Your Passion”


By Ryan Velez

When you hear advice from people about pursuing your career, one of the most common pieces of advice you hear is following your passion. In theory, doing this will not only make your goals more personally fulfilling, but you will also have the means to soldier on through the toughest obstacles. In theory. Mark Cuban, a man with no shortage of business successes, was reported by Celebrity Net Worth to go against the grain, calling this old adage "easily the worst advice you could ever give or get."

The topic comes from an old blog post on Cuban’s personal blog from 2012, when he said that passion doesn’t always go hand in hand with commercial success. His view is a pragmatic one, saying that in and of itself, passions, no matter what form they take, “aren't worth a nickel.” The alternative? Focusing on one’s effort.

"Think about all those passions that you considered making a career out of or building a company around. How many were/are there? … Why were you not able to make a career or business out of any of those passions?

"Or, if you have been able to have some success, what was the key to the success? Was it the passion or the effort you put into your job or company?" he asks.

It’s not that Cuban is disconnected from the computer technology that he built his early fortune on, though he has mentioned that passion was the furthest thing from a connection in those early days. However, he would grow to love tech, and says that it was hard work that led to the passion, rather than the other way around.

"When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen."

This is an interesting spin on a classically held belief, but it is a lot easier to enjoy something that brings you success, rather than worrying about failure tainting something you already enjoy. However, one lesson that anyone can apply is that no matter who you are, passions are not enough to carry you through life. Perhaps a better guidance is Cuban’s statement that you should look at "where you apply your time… You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don't use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you."