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A woman painting and Scott Galloway.

“Follow your passion” is a cliche you will hear in almost every graduation commencement speech. But we all accept it as a golden rule for life because we hear it so often and it feels right.

We tell ourselves that if we are passionate about something, we will be good at it and it will sustain us throughout our lives. However, Scott Galloway, a self-made millionaire and marketing professor at New York University Stern School of Business, thinks that telling people to follow their passions is bad advice.

In 2005, Galloway founded the digital intelligence firm L2 Inc., a venture that would go on to be acquired by Gartner for a staggering $155 million in March 2017.


″[Return on investment] and sex appeal are inversely correlated. What do we mean about that? Simply put: Don’t follow your passion,” Galloway told CNBC Make It. Instead, Galloway proposes a more practical approach. “Find out what you’re good at and then invest 10,000 hours in it — and become great at it,” Galloway says.

The 10,000-hour theory Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book “Outliers,” states that to become exceptionally good at something, you need about 10,000 hours of practice. In his book, he emphasizes that it's not just talent that matters; putting in the time and effort is key to mastering any skill or profession.

In “Outliers,” Gladwell notes that highly successful people, including Bill Gates, The Beatles, and Robert Oppenheimer, all put 10,000 hours into their particular skill sets before reaching incredible heights of success.

“People often come to NYU and say, ‘Follow your passion’ — which is total bulls***, especially because the individual telling you to follow your passion usually became magnificently wealthy selling software as a service for the scheduling of health care maintenance workers. And I refuse to believe that that was his or her passion,” Calloway continues.

Calloway adds that one of the benefits of focusing on our natural gifts is that it will eventually inspire passion. “What they were passionate about was being great at something, and then the accouterments of being great at something — the recognition from colleagues, the money, the status will make you passionate about whatever it is,” Galloway said.

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A 2018 report by Stanford researchers came to a similar conclusion. The researchers believe that following one’s passions isn’t a clear road to success for numerous reasons. The maxim assumes that we have only one passion in life and that it will not change over time. It also gives the impression that when we follow our passions, we’ll always magically fall into our dream jobs and become successful.

Finally, just because one is passionate about something doesn’t necessarily mean they are good at it.

While some may think Calloway’s advice is cynical and heartless, there's something extraordinary about nurturing our natural gifts and using them to achieve success in life. In a world where our talents and passions may not always align, embracing what makes you unique and sharing it with the world in your own special way is a beautiful gift that you can offer.

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The coronavirus pandemic is drastically changing the economy minute by minute. Businesses such as restaurants, bars, and brick-and-mortar retail stores have been hit hard and, in some states, are totally shut down.

However, other businesses such as grocery stores, online retailers, and food delivery services are thriving in the new normal.

The good news is that displaced workers from one part of the economy have opportunities for jobs in another sector. Papa John's and Dominoes are looking to hire thousands of delivery drivers due to the high demand for pizza.

Amazon is announced it'll hire an additional 100,000 employees to help keep up with the surge in online shopping.


Walmart has seen a huge surge in business as people stock up during the pandemic.

"It is quite frankly, unprecedented, the type of sustained pressure that we're seeing," Dan Bartlett, Walmart's executive VP of corporate affairs, told CNBC. "It is like Black Friday day after day after day in some respects."

The surge in business has inspired the notoriously thrifty employer to hand out bonus checks to its hourly employees for their hard work during a dangerous time. On Thursday, it announced it will provide more than $550 million in cash bonuses to its hourly employees.

Full-time hourly associates will receive $300 and part-time will receive $150. The bonuses will be paid out starting April 2.

"It's almost like a mini stimulus package for Walmart associates," Bartlett said.

Walmart is the largest employer in the United States with 1.3 million employees, so the bonuses will have a positive economic effect on the country as a whole.

"Walmart associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving our customers during these unprecedented times," President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said.

Walmart is looking to hire 150,000 new associates to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers through the end of May to meet the demand caused by the pandemic.

The retailer has also announced that it will raise the entry wage at its e-commerce warehouses by $2, which adds up to between $15 to $19 an hour.

The company has fast-tracked its hiring process to "dramatically expedite" hiring for key roles, such as cashiers and stockers, shortening the application process from two weeks to just 24 hours.

Walmart's decision to raise wages and provide bonuses for employees is a great gesture during these uncertain times. However, it should be mentioned that while Walmart is providing a "stimulus" right now, it's also been historically guilty of putting a drag on the economy by paying low wages.

"When Walmart comes to town, it is going to reallocate sales [from existing grocers], and its impact is going to be a function of the difference between what is currently being paid in wages at the existing stores and what Walmart pays," Christopher Fowler, a researcher for Puget Sound Sage, told Business News Daily.

"These impacts stem from the low wages Walmart pays to its hourly associates compared to the wages earned by comparable employees of existing retail grocery stores," the researchers said.

"The difference in wages, which we estimate to be at least $3 per hour, has the capacity to impact not only the workers themselves but also the people from whom they purchase goods and services," the researchers continued.

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CNBC's The Profit

Small businesses keep this country afloat; over 50% of U. S. workers are employed by them.

And this is where Marcus Lemonis, aka "The Profit," comes in. He identifies small businesses that are in trouble and then helps them get their act together by investing in and owning part of the companies and — most importantly — by taking control and turning them into viable, profitable entities.


One such business named The Blue Jean Bar had up to 13 stores around the country at one point, but many of them floundered. So the owner, Lady Fuller, trimmed them down to three.

You'll discover, as she relates to Marcus in the clip below, her mother died at age 43 — when Lady was 9 years old — of suicide.

Lady, now age 40, is concerned she's going to be a failure by that same age, and it's coloring all of her actions as she runs the business.

“My mother passed away when I was 9, and she took her own life. She left me money, and I wanted to do something with her money that paid homage to her. …. She killed herself when she was 43. … I always felt like, that this business would be so successful by the time I reached her age."

Marcus sees her potential and that of the business itself, but he also sees her looking through the rear-view mirror at haunting failures and sadness, and he needs to help her look at the road ahead.

It's the kind of thing he does regularly on "The Profit," and he handles it deftly as he helps pull her out of the tailspin — but only after some growing pains, tears, and pushback from Lady.

The final transformation of their flagship store is remarkable, as is that of Lady herself.

Starting a small business takes guts, determination, and every bit of resilience that human beings have.

And the numbers show how they pay off. Here are some interesting statistics on small businesses to consider (for more, check out this post):

Let's all try to appreciate that and support them in our communities — shall we?