Why Steve Jobs and Marc Andreessen Feel ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is A Dangerous Advice

follow your passion

“Follow your passion!”

Just how many times have you heard this statement before from just about anyone doling out advice on becoming successful at anything you do. Be it starting a company or building a mobile app.

They say, you’ve got to be passionate about whatever you take up in life if you want to excel at it.

Just because everyone says it, doesn’t necessarily make it true. It doesn’t necessarily make it worth your while to follow your passion, to be successful. Don’t just take my word for it. Steve Jobs and Marc Andreessen feel it’s the most dangerous and destructive advice you’ll ever hear – that follow your passion is bad advice.

In an article, Cal Newport mentions that Walter Isaacson spoke to Steve Jobs when he was very ill and asked him that question.

He then recalled Jobs’ response as:

Yeah, we’re always talking about following your passion, but we’re all part of the flow of history … you’ve got to put something back into the flow of history that’s going to help your community, help other people … so that 20, 30, 40 years from now … people will say, this person didn’t just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.”

Isaacson’s summary of this perspective was harsher:

“The important point is to not just follow your passion but something larger than yourself. It ain’t just about you and your damn passion.

Cal Newport then says, “Apple took off not because Jobs suddenly realized that personal computers were his true passion, but instead because he realized that personal computers could change the world — and he wanted to be a part of that transformation.

To put it more succinctly: Don’t follow your passion; instead work passionately toward the hard but worthy goal of making an impact.

More recently, Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z), gave his views on why he feels that ‘Follow your passion’ is a dangerous and destructive career advice – that ‘follow your passion’ is really a myth.

Here’s Marc Andreessen expressing his views through his popular ‘tweet storms’:


What do you feel about this advice? Did this alter your perception in anyway? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Rahul Varshneya

Rahul is the co-founder of Arkenea, a custom software development consulting firm for fast-growing businesses, providing on-demand engineering talent and MVP development services.