41 Priceless Cal Newport Quotes

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University with a Ph.D from MIT. Functioning in the digital age, Newport studies the impact of technology in the working environment. Here is a look at some of the best Cal Newport quotes ever recorded.

“A side effect of memory training, in other words, is an improvement in your general ability to concentrate. This ability can then be fruitfully applied to any task demanding deep work.”

“All it takes is an ideology seductive enough to convince you to discard common sense.”

“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”

“Compelling careers often have complex origins that reject the simple idea that all you have to do is follow your passion.”

“Craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset focuses instead on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most people approach their working lives.”

“Deep work is at a severe disadvantage in a technopoly because it builds on values like quality, craftsmanship, and mastery that are decidedly old-fashioned and nontechnological. Even worse, to support deep work often requires the rejection of much of what is new and high-tech.”

“Do some good in the world for no other reason than wanting to be part of the solution.”

“Doing things we know how to do well is enjoyable, and that’s exactly the opposite of what deliberate practice demands….”

“Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction.”

“Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfillment.”

“Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.”

“I felt like I was stretching to convince the world that my work was interesting, yet no one cared.”

“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.”

“If you just show up and work hard, you’ll soon hit a performance plateau beyond which you fail to get any better.”

“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”)”

“In a business setting, without clear feedback on the impact of various behaviors to the bottom line, we will tend toward behaviors that are easiest in the moment.”

“In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital.”

“It has the three traits that make people love their work: impact, creativity, and control.”

“Less mental clutter means more mental resources available for deep thinking.”

“Most knowledge workers, however, as I argued earlier in this introduction, have lost their ability to perform deep work.”

“Network tools are distracting us from work that requires unbroken concentration, while simultaneously degrading our capacity to remain focused.”

“No one ever changed the world, created a new industry, or amassed a fortune due to their fast email response time.”

“No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it—and the process won’t be easy.”

“Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.”

“Start small and start immediately.”

“The good news about deliberate practice is that it will push you past this plateau and into a realm where you have little competition.”

“The happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do. On reflection, this makes sense.”

“The important thing about little bets is that they’re bite-sized. You try one. It takes a few months at most. It either succeeds or fails, but either way you get important feedback to guide your next steps.”

“The key here isn’t to avoid or even to reduce the total amount of time you spend engaging in distracting behavior, but is instead to give yourself plenty of opportunities throughout your evening to resist switching to these distractions at the slightest hint of boredom.”

“There is a middle ground, and if you’re interested in developing a deep work habit, you must fight to get there.”

“This is what you should experience in your own pursuit of ‘good.’ If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re probably stuck at an ‘acceptable level.’”

“This, ultimately, is the lesson to come away with from our brief foray into the world of experimental psychology: To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction.”

“Three to four hours a day, five days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, it turns out, can produce a lot of valuable output.”

“To join the group of those who can work well with these machines, therefore, requires that you hone your ability to master hard things. And because these technologies change rapidly, this process of mastering hard things never ends: You must be able to do it quickly, again and again.”

“To maximize your chances of success, you should deploy small, concrete experiments that return concrete feedback.”

“To remain valuable in our economy, therefore, you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things. This task requires deep work. If you don’t cultivate this ability, you’re likely to fall behind as technology advances. ”

“To simply wait and be bored has become a novel experience in modern life, but from the perspective of concentration training, it’s incredibly valuable.”

“When it comes to creating work you love, following your passion is not particularly useful advice.”

“Whether you’re a writer, marketer, consultant, or lawyer: Your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, then like the skilled wheelwright you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life.”

“Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward—even.”

“Your will, in other words, is not a manifestation of your character that you can deploy without limit; it’s instead like a muscle that tires.”

Cal Newport offers a fresh perspective as to the drawbacks to living your life by following your passion. Sometimes leading to underdeveloped careers and poor decision making, Newport discusses his ideals during this Google talk.

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