Recently, my colleague and I were discussing the validity of the idea that if you have a positive attitude, follow your passion, and do what you love then success and money will follow. My position generally was that the idea was valid; hers was that it was not.

The discussion arose during a seminar in which the main speaker ridiculed the idea and gave several examples to make her point. It got both of us thinking about it because following your passion and doing more of what you love and what you do best is part of the VRFT philosophy. As the discussion progressed it became apparent that the message meant one thing to me, another to Lynda-Ross, and yet another to the seminar speaker. So, I concluded that if three pretty smart people were confused then there was a good chance that others were confused as well.

The idea has been expressed in many different ways and there are many popularized versions of the message. Off the top of my head I come up with: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar, The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson, and the popular film What The Bleep Do We Know. All are variations on the same theme.

The internet is full of discussion and debate both pro and con about whether or not doing what you love and following your passion will lead to money and success. I cannot speak for my colleague, the seminar speaker, or authors, both cited and un-cited, who have written books on the subject. But as the idea of Living Your Talents as a way to success is pretty important to what I do, I will express my ideas on the subject!

I think that the critique of this concept comes from three fallacies implied or stated:

• thought or attitude is the only necessary criteria for success,
• following your passion will make you successful, and
• doing what you love to do by itself will make you successful

Lets take them one at a time and examine what is left out.

Thought or attitude is the only necessary criteria for success.

This one is pretty obvious. Action is always required, as Jim Rohn says “After you have leapt about, there are some things that you must do.” Visioning success and having a positive attitude are important, but in order for things to happen we must also act. To paraphrase Goethe, too much reflection without experience drives us mad.

Following your passion will make you successful.

It all depends on what you mean by passion and how you follow it. Too many people confuse a passion for an external object or thing with an internal enthusiasm for a subject or activity that is skill and talent based. Following a passion for Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp is unlikely to result in success (unless you define charges of stalking as success!) while developing an innate skill for organization into a talent could lead to both success and money.

Doing what you love to do by itself will make you successful.

Beyond doing what you love to do you must evaluate failures and adjust, learn and develop new skills, and most importantly learn what is missing from your natural repertoire of skills and talents and find others who have those skills and can compliment yours.

Success and wealth are never guaranteed in any undertaking in life. There is no guarantee that using Your Talent Advantage will lead to success. But I do believe that pursuing activities that take advantage of skills and talents at which you are naturally gifted increases the odds of you doing the things described above which leads to success.

Author's Bio: 

Gary Jordan, Ph.D., has over 27 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley. He’s the co-founder of Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd., a consulting firm that specializes in helping people discover their true skills and talents.