The advice “follow your passion” is given to so many, if not all of us, as we grow up and, for the most part, this is sound advice. But it also seems to have little accuracy in determining whether or not you will be successful in your chosen field.
Sure, passion is needed. No one wants to work with someone that is a passionless mope.
However, in my crumb of experience, I’ve seen that it isn’t the passion that drives results; it is a conviction. All too often, young professionals mistake passion for enjoyment and quickly become lazy when the work gets dry or boring.
We were bought up in the Jackpot generation, where ribbons and trophies were given out to all participants. More than ever, we are given the freedom and opportunity to pursue a career in whatever we are most passionate about; to be so bold, we have it easy…and when it is easy, we often become soft.
Then, this “passion” causes us to stop when it gets hard, when we lose, when our opinion doesn’t get heard, or when someone is rude to us. Opting out, I have heard dozens of young college graduates, including me, say, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” Well, to be honest, I’ve even heard forty-year-olds say it. Welcome to life.
Conviction – a firmly held belief or opinion
Conviction is the thing that seems to make the worst of us stand out; the image of a stubborn donkey comes to mind when I see this word. It is, however, the thing that I’ve found makes all difference—both conviction in oneself and conviction in achieving a successful outcome. It is this that I believe we should vet, promote, and train for.
Conviction is the side-kick to commitment; it is the unwavering pain in our arse that seems to get their way and get shit done. It is the conviction that brings the spark; you can see in their eyes, that little bit of insanity that ensures a vision will be actualized. Forcing you to mutter, “Damn, they actually might pull this off.”
The ones with conviction can be wrong, at times. But they are the ones that push through, the ones that find a way, or make one when there isn’t one.
Now, hiring a person with some conviction brings ideas and opinions that they will most likely be convinced are correct. This, I argue, is better than the alternative: a careless, indecisive, opinion-less, but passionate pushover. They may be someone who accepts and agrees with everything.
It is the convicted that will change the game; it is the convicted that will ensure a positive result.
Why? Because the people with conviction are convinced of an outcome, a vision, that makes all the little things that stop 99% of everyone else pale in comparison, it is these you should hire.
Yes, at times they will be painful, as it may be hard to change their opinions with their stubborn, steadfast views. But, I promise you If cultivated correctly, a young person with conviction can be dangerous. Like a donkey, they won’t stop kicking until they get what they want. Just make sure they’re kicking the direction you want them to.