I’ve always liked Dennis Prager. Back in LA, driving from audition to audition, his was the only voice of reason I could find on the AM dial. So I was flattered when he invited me to give this years commencement address for Prager University. It’s a five minute speech around the dangers of following your passion. It’s a theme that many of you have heard me repeat over the years, but now it sounds more credible because it’s got Dennis’s name attached, along with some cool animation. Check it out, and if you agree, send it to a graduate in your life…
Like most of Rowe’s commentary, it’s an important topic not being discussed. He wrote about it last year, “The people I’ve met on my journeys, by and large, didn’t set out to realize their dream. They looked around for an opportunity. They identified the opportunity. They exploited the opportunity. They worked at the opportunity. Then they got good at the opportunity. Then they figured out how to love it.”
Work ethic. What a concept!
Is there anything wrong with following your passion? Depends on what your passion is. It’s like people who say “Be yourself, love who you are.” What if who you are is a serial axe-murderer? Or you’re Lena Dunham? Worse, what if you’re Lena Dunham with a silly, SJW axe to grind?
What I like to say is “Be the kind of person you want to be around for the rest of your life.” Because guess what? You’re stuck with you forever. If there’s something about you you don’t like, you have the power to make improvements. To yourself. So if your passion is, as Mike Rowe explained in the video, singing, but you sound like a bag of cats hitting a wall, maybe don’t be a singer. Belt out Celine Dion’s All By Myself in your shower, but quarantine the misery there. If, however, your life goals are to be happy and/or successful, best take Mike Rowe’s advice. Find something you’re good at, or find something that needs to be done. And do it well.