Passion Is BullShit and Bullshit Can’t Make You Successful

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sexybackPeople ask me if I love writing and get surprised when I tell them that I don’t…in fact I hate writing. This article for example has taken me 2 weeks to complete…aargh.

The only thing I am passionate about is sleeping, having passionate sex and scrolling through other people’s social media pages so that I can laugh at them. I am also passionate about making change (my campaign manager said I should add that, in case I plan to run for President in the future).

So then the next logical question is: “so how come you write a lot?”

I mean how can you do something you are not passionate about and yet do it so frequently. I often ponder on that question myself….

You see for years we have been told…find what you are passionate about, pursue it passionately and you will become successful! But that is bullshit.

In fact in my short time of mentoring people on social media marketing, I have found that the most passionate people are the least likely to succeed. You know the ones who tend to succeed? The ones who were willing to do the work, the ones who needed the money, the extra income, not the ones that were passionate about baking cupcakes because they sort of liked cup cakes….no…the ones that wanted to bake cup cakes because they needed the additional income or else their son will not be able to go to school!

The truth is that passion is a bullshit word. Used by successful people cause it sounds sexy. Be passionate and you will succeed…huh. If that was the case I would be in the porn industry sleeping around (remember I like sleeping…not that type of sleeping…ok let’s just move along)…

When I attended the University of Houston in 2000, I needed a job. Any job, because I had to pay my school fees or get kicked out of school. So my friend Kunle Osho (now works in California) and I would sit down with a list of on-campus jobs (about 50 of them) and start cold calling them. We got the wtf response most of the time, people telling us to stop calling because there were no jobs…but did we stop? Nope…we kept calling. Not because we were passionate about the job we were going to do, but because we needed the job…and most importantly we were willing to do the work (cold-calling) that was needed to get the job…

Anyone that knows me, knows that I hate getting up in the morning. Not because I am lazy, but because I do most of my writing at night (3 am to 7 am) and by the time I am done writing I can barely get up in the morning. But when I was senior in University, I would wake up almost every day at 6am and drive to a chemical plant 10 miles from my school campus to do a job that I hated. Everyday 5 days a week…I did it not because I was passionate but because I needed the job and the experience. Looking back now, I don’t know how I was able to pull that off….o now I remember…by shitting in the company toilet for 30 minutes everyday even though I was sleeping 99% of the time.

But back to writing and the bullshit stereotype of success…

I have seen and met people that are passionate about writing. They are also good at it…better than me. But they never write, or rarely write. Why? Is it because they can’t write? I don’t think so…I think it is because they are lazy of the bullshit of passion.

They like many others have been told to do what they are passionate about…what they enjoy doing and they will somehow become magically successful. But what they have not been told is that that passion thing is fucking hard! That even if you love writing, that there are going to be those days when you will fucking hate it, where you will rather be doing something else than writing. But that if you are ever to be successful you will have to do those things you fucking love hate…not because you are passionate about them, but because you want to be successful.

Muhammad-Ali-I-hated-every-minute-of-training-but-I-said-Dont-Quit.-Suffer-now-and-live-the-rest-of-your-life-as-a-champion.Writing is truly difficult…the editing…the drafts…the laborious typing sessions…the long nights when inspiration hits you at the moments when you want to sleep…but still you have to do it. In fact I have done it for years not because of passion or any of that bullshit, but because I want to become as good as (if not better than) Seth Godin (that’s the truth). And because of that I push myself to become disciplined with my writing.

I carry a journal everywhere, I am constantly taking notes, jotting things down on my phone, making sketches on the back of napkins. I even have a dry erase marker in my car which I use to write on the window of my car, in case an idea hits me while driving. I ensure that I write as often as I can, whether it is good or not. And that is how I have achieved my little success.

You see the truth is that successful people are successful not because they were passionate about what they did, but because they wanted to be successful! The end! They wanted it so bad that they were willing to do whatever it would take to make them successful. They did it over and over again, until they got good at it, until they became successful. Little wonder why Muhammed Ali quips “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” His driver was not the passion of boxing like we have been wrongly told, but rather the fact that he wanted to be champion. That’s what got him through the shitty training days, that’s what made him a world champion.

So if you…yes you reading this article…want to be successful, you have to understand that passion is bullshit! That you would have to get up and stop philosophizing about how passionate you are about shit and actually start doing shit…even the shit you don’t like. That’s the truth!

twitterWritten and Drawn By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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101 comments on “Passion Is BullShit and Bullshit Can’t Make You Successful

  1. Well, I may be an exception, but I surely do what I am passionate about, and it pays the bills very well. At school I also studied what I was passionate about, and I got scholarships and fellowships for that. Of course I have other passions that I wish to pursue, but the day only has 24 hours and I can’t be everywhere. So this is not bullshit. Where I agree with you is that whether I have passion for something or I do not, work ethic brings results. But again, that’s not always true. If you are in Lagos, you see everyday people waking up very early, go out and work very hard (selling stuffs in the street, going to school and study hard), but being rewarded with social injustice, corruption abuse, mistreatment of policemen. That’s not becasue they did not work hard.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      In the same way you have people that do what their passionate about and don’t succeed. In fact I would say that a person that is passionate has a lower chance of success in life than a person who is hardworking.

  2. I agree 100%.Passion isn’t just enough.The drive, the desire, and the hunger for success should be the motivating factor.We see a lot of roadside footballers everyday.They are passionate about playing football…but they have not been able to take it to the next level.The message is doing whatever it takes to achieve what one desires-Success.
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  3. Hey Ofili, seems I’m a bit late to this one, won’t stop me from chipping in my two cents still.

    Interesting read as always, however I’m going to have to not agree with you on this one.

    My argument being that passion in my opinion is feeling a strong emotion towards something, and that it is entirely different from being successful, despite both coming hand in hand sometimes.

    Being passionate about something doesn’t mean you want to be successful at it, for me it involves doing that thing, irrespective of the outcome.

    Take myself for instance, I love football..the game, but I’m terrible at playing it. Okay maybe not that terrible, but I’m not C Ronaldo and that’s okay. I get my passion is having a favorite team which I watch (sometimes I pay for this) all the way from Nigeria here.

    Despite their being oblivious to my existence, it doesn’t stop me from being passionate about it. Even on days when they lose, I curse and moan and wallow…only to watch them with renewed passion the next time they play.

    You say you’re not passionate about writing and that you hate it? That’s possible…same way I hate paying to watch football matches, but we both do it either ways. For me, it’s the satisfaction a win brings…for you..I don’t know what it is, but maybe it’s the passing across of a message, or the possibility of provoking change…there certainly has to be a reason for you to be doing this. Maybe it’s the feedback…but there has to be something..and that’s what you’re passionate about!

    Perhaps passion isn’t the appropriate term…that’s just my opinion though…what do I know..

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  5. I speak as someone who has seen many marriages fail. Even if you marry someone who you are “passionately in love” with, marriage is still hard work that requires “doing ” for it to be successful. This, I think applies to startups.

    I don’t know any passionate about paying taxes but your business will be challenged if you don’t. It comes in a package.

  6. I am enthusiastic or maybe you’ll call it passionate about a number of things, however, i do none of them. Meanwhile, the one thing which i hate genuinely seems to be the singular area which i thrive and brings home the cookies.

    I hate to agree with you (considering the fact that my CV carries the word passionate in about three places!) i might have to give you this one. Passion is simply not enough!!!

    …this is my very first time commenting on a blog…am a social observer…can’t believe you made me do this!

  7. You’ve got to be angry every time you write, bro, or you don’t really get your voice out. Just saying. This post is quite touching, but also reflects your distaste for whaddayacallit then? Yes, passion! now I understand what it’s like: Have passion, but be willing to love the grind to succeed at all.

  8. Iganya on said:

    Passion is…at the end a feeling and we know how easily it shifts,especially for a mood swinger like me. I wouldn’t want to put the weight of my sustainance on “a feeling”. Knowing that I can and the need for a better life propels me to do whatever I hate- or love doing. Passion is good, just not good enough.
    Thanks Ofili, its always a lovely read…

  9. I’d rather have passion not lack be my driving force. What I can achieve with passion in 30min may take a person with necessity as their motivation days to achieve. Ditto.
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  10. Pingback: Passion is not enough » Muyo-san's Blog

  11. muyiwasoares on said:

    There is no way we can divorce passion and success..invariably they always meet at a confluence in our respective careers..besides the idea of success for some people cannot be quantified in monetary terms!

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  13. DarrenIvanov on said:

    This article is also bullshit. And a poor attempt to mimic Penelope Trunk. Passion and Hardwork are inseparable. Otherwise, all you’re doing is daydreaming. I dont know why you’re trying to separate them.
    Thank you

  14. Cheenyayray on said:

    Most likely, persistence does the trick. I love writing but would only be a successful one if I persisted but I am donkey lazy@writing.

  15. Thanks, this is just the inspiration I needed to continue writing that blog post I was taking a break from writing. 😉

    On a more serious note, thanks for telling it like it is…though I do believe there is a place for passion. Passion is sometimes what gives you the determination to take one more step when you are sure you’ve got nothing more left in you!
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  16. Grant on said:

    I know how we like to sugar-coat everything in this life…but I’ve realized that if you will ever make a success out of anything (n.b. not trustfund babies o..una papa don do am for una), you have to roll up the sleeves and grind it out, whether u literally like it or not. I read two books that confirmed to me that the human spirit thrives when literally left for dead… One Minute Millionaire and Reallionaire. Passion is good for starting things, but unrelenting determination and doggedness helps you finish…and you have to finish if you will succeed. So, yeah, passion is a pile of BULL

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  18. Its just like the saying, “Talent is never enough”. For instance I love music and I’m passionate about it but I’ve never put my grind to do it. I do other things and often say, ‘I can do better music that dbanj, dr sid if I enter music’ ( maybe not wizkid) but I never did.

    Although ‘passion’ is related to ‘purpose’ and finding it is important. A strong desire for success is needed for one to carry on. Long story just have passion for money making lol

  19. Nnamdi Chukwukelu on said:

    I wish I read this 2 years ago when it came out. I would have not stayed and went into gragga mode. But yeah, I am lucky to have seized an opportunity to be a writer even in an ad-hoc way.
    Thanks Mr Ofili.

    P.S: Nothing. Nothing really.

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