I link, you decide.
Puett tells his students that being calculating and rationally deciding on plans is precisely the wrong way to make any sort of important life decision. The Chinese philosophers they are reading would say that this strategy makes it harder to remain open to other possibilities that don’t fit into that plan. Students who do this “are not paying enough attention to the daily things that actually invigorate and inspire them, out of which could come a really fulfilling, exciting life,” he explains. If what excites a student is not the same as what he has decided is best for him, he becomes trapped on a misguided path, slated to begin an unfulfilling career. Puett aims to open his students’ eyes to a different way to approach everything from relationships to career decisions.
BI: One of the chapters in your book is called “Passion Is Bullshit.” In it, you say career experts are wrong and passion doesn’t lead to success. Why do you think that?
SA: When a successful person is interviewed, and you say, “What was the secret to your success?” what they can’t say, because society won’t let them, is: “I was smarter, I worked harder, I had better connections, and I got really lucky.” Instead, they go with a democratic trait: passion. Anyone can have passion in the right situation, so it makes it sound like you can do what they did.
I’ve tried lots of things. The reality is, I’m excited by everything on Day 1. And if by Day X things aren’t working the way I hoped, I lose my passion. I have not seen the correlation between my passion and my success. The deeper truth is luck and maybe they studied the right stuff in school.