In an online "commencement speech" for "Prager University" (a 501(c)3 conservative digital media outlet) Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," told all recent grads: “Don’t follow your passion.”
Rowe revealed what he called the "dirty truth" in his speech that urges young people to find their success by breaking the mold.
“When people follow their passion, they miss out on all kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed,” Rowe said. Hosting the Discovery Channel show has led Rowe to meet hundreds of skilled tradesmen “who followed opportunity, not passion, and prospered as a result,” he said.
He told the story of a multimillionaire septic tank cleaner who explained his success by saying, “I looked around to see where everyone else was headed, and then I went the opposite way.”
While growing up, Rowe said wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a carpenter. He invested himself in shop classes, but found that his talents lay elsewhere. His grandfather gave him what he considered to be the best advice he ever received: "Mike you can still be a tradesman, but only of you get yourself a different kind of toolbox."
“Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it,” Rowe said. He added that it makes sense to “let your passion lead you” when it comes to choosing hobbies. But passion is “way too fickle to follow around” when settling into a career, he said, adding that a so-called “dream job” could actually hinder you from performing meaningful work.
“Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you,” Rowe concluded.
Click here to download a transcript of Mike Rowe's presentation.