Why You Shouldn’t Follow Your Passion

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Yes, you read that right. The phrase ‘follow your passion’ that emerged in the mid-nineties might just turn out to be vague for certain aspects of career orientation. For the people, who are already following their passions, prospering in the same and find themselves in a blissful space in life, keep doing the good work. For the others, who are in a phase of life where they are still experiencing an increasing turmoil about figuring out their passions or interests, associating those respective interests to career options and then choosing the right profession, this article’s for you. This piece summarises a whole different perspective. It will specifically serve a section of people with potential who often struggle with career decisions or lack the right guidance to follow up.

Choosing the right career has become a complex problem in the present day. It’s scary to keep pondering ‘What will I be good at, in the end?’ For instance, you could be interested in gardening but you cannot make a lucrative profession out of that interest.

Similarly, philosophy intrigues a certain mass of people. But in a country like India, there aren’t too many well-paying jobs in philosophy. So, tick that off your list right now. People spend thousands for the right career advice and still continue to stay demotivated & lost.

What’s really the correct career advice I should follow?

Stop searching for the right career with your passion being a major criterion of it. The actual meaning of the word ‘passion’ is often misunderstood. Passion is not a skill, an insight or an asset for you to turn it into your dream profession. It’s a sheer emotion you feel, one of absolute bliss that either comes from something you enjoy executing or something you’re looking forward to. It could range from spilling your coke with joy when your team scores a goal in the FIFA finals to binge watching that TV series you liked because you just couldn’t stop after one episode. When it comes to our career, our passions don’t play a huge role. Other things matter a lot more. Like what your skills are and what your mindset is. These are the pettiest of things that actually make you happy on a daily basis.

We think our passions or interests matter a lot more than they do because we really underestimate how much they change. Just think about your own interests 5-10 years ago and how different they are now?

 

Comic relating to how passion changes with age

Similarly, in 5-10 years from now, you’ll be interested in absolutely different things.

This drastic transition in our interests or passions is just human. It concludes that our present passions are not a solid basis for career decisions.

So, how do I attain a fulfilling career?

When it comes to career, you should rather choose something which is flexible. It should be lucrative and help you feed your passion. Finding and following your passion match doesn’t 100% guarantee you a successful or fulfilling career. However, feeding your passion effectively aids in motivating you towards a fulfilling career. For instance, you’re passionate about travelling. I say do your mundane job and save money. Go for that road trip you’ve been planning with your friends, since forever now.

Yeah, I know what you’re gonna say-“But my job sucks and I’m tired of it”. But you can keep yourself driven by fantasizing about the serene places you’re about to visit with your pals. The sheer process of feeding your own passion gives you something to look forward to in life. For instance, that particular trip, some event, buying a new car. These things make you feel exuberantly euphoric and content. You finally reap the fruits of your hard work by getting to live that moment, while staying incessantly motivated for more accomplishments at the same time.

Comic relating to boring jobs

Why is feeding my passion more relevant than following it?

Let’s talk about a survey conducted at the University of Michigan. It suggests that the quality of work submitted by a group of freelance writers deteriorated when they were functioning under deadlines for a remunerative working spree. But they did tend to produce mesmerising columns when they did so just for the sake of venting out their thoughts occasionally without any deadlines or profits involved. You must be thinking Why would anyone do the latter anyway if they’re not getting paid for it?’  

Well, ask yourself-Why did you take a selfie with your dog today? Why did you watch through those 15 minutes of stupid commercials before the final NBA game started? Why are you dating the one you’re dating when you haven’t even seen the future and you’re unsure if anything is ever going to last?

You’re doing all those aforesaid things because it makes you happy even when you’re not receiving much in return.

Comic relating to happiness

Hence, when you feed any of your passions, it makes you feel gleeful and fulfilled to some extent. However, when you follow your passion just for procuring success out of it, the same passion turns into a constant binding pressure. In that case, the happiness which was previously affiliated to your passion goes out of the window.

How do I get started though? What should my focus be then?

-Start by doing what is valuable and keep getting better at it. Focus on doing something that pays you enough but at the same time helps in the welfare of others because that is the secret of feeling fulfilled. No, you need not be a doctor to cure all kids in Africa.

-Explore (Find a flexible job as per your needs, doesn’t matter if it is a tad bit mundane, for all jobs are mundane after a while.)

-Get a new set of skills that are in demand (Learning computer programming will be in demand for the next decade.)

-Apply these skills to solve the most pressing problems that you can in your own reach. (Go for the problem that’s been the most neglected and where your skills fit in to make the greatest impact.)

-Save up and spend enough on feeding your varied passions to stay buoyant. (Save up for that fancy restaurant you always wanted to visit, buy that leather jacket you thought you’d look super hot in, take that salsa class you thought would help in improving your moves.)

In a nutshell:

If we really want to be fulfilled in our own careers, we have to stop focusing on our own interests. Instead, we need to start focusing on what we can do for others. This makes us feel content but also helps in feeding our own passion. Passion for things that makes us solely happy without pushing us to thrive greatness out of pressure.

Imagine a world where that was the thought on everyone’s mind.

On the other hand, if you already know what your dream job is, here is how you can get it.

What's on your mind?