by Asim Jalis
These thoughts are based on a talk by Laura Lehan. Laura spoke
about career and personal success at the University of Washington
in Bothell earlier this year.
I found it interesting that Laura never used the word "passion".
She didn't say find your passion, or find the thing you enjoy the
most. Instead she said, find the thing you are best at. There is
a subtle difference.
For example, I am passionate about playing the piano, but I am
also not very good at it. So it wouldn't make sense for me to
change my career and become a pianist. Instead I should focus on
doing what I am good at.
Also, her advice was especially good here: find the thing that
others have acknowledged you for or said you were good at. So
it's not just the thing I think I am good at, but also the thing
people have told me I am good at.
By focusing on what people have told me I am automatically moving
towards something that is creating value for other people, not
just for myself.
The problem with passion and doing things one finds interesting
is that it is usually not obvious how they will create value for
Now, it's possible that the thing I am good at and that is most
valued by other people, is not the thing I enjoy the most. But I
think this is unlikely. If I am good at something, doing that
work will create a deep satisfaction, the feeling of doing my
best, and of doing things that matter to other people.
Laura said that as engineers we tend to focus on things that are
broken rather than things that are working. So people focus more
on things that they are bad at, rather than the things that they