do you have to be passionate about something to be any good at it?

A long time ago we posted something on Twitter about people not being passionate about their job.

'You don't have to be passionate about what you do, or the industry you do it in, to be any good at it. Passion can sometimes cloud objectivity and lead to a failure to see things from a different perspective.' was our tweet.

'That’s a curious thing to say - effective leaders really should be passionate about their industry - they can hardly expect others to be if they aren’t!' was one reply.

I'm not sure how it read to those who didn't agree but my point was - being effective at your job and being passionate about every facet of it (including who you do it for) are not intrinsically linked. Of course, you can be both, but you can also have one without the other.

Other agencies can be more vocally passionate about public transport per se than we are, but that passion alone doesn't make them any better at their job. I'd like to think nobody has more commitment to selling public transport by producing creative work challenging the status quo than we do. 

A friend of mine was a professional footballer who, at his peak, played for Portsmouth in the 1992 FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. As an enthusiastic amateur, I was in awe of the fact he got to play football every day and get paid handsomely for it. He didn't see it that way. Yes, he trained hard and wanted to maximise his talents but for him, professional football was 'just a job' albeit one that many, many people were jealous of.

I'm sure there are designers out there with a massive interest in public transport who get to draw route maps and layout timetables every day - but that passion for the subject matter doesn't automatically make them any better at doing their job. If you have passion but lack the ability you ain't getting very far I'm afraid.

Comments in a tweet, please.