Passion – Why Following it is Bad Advice

Understanding what it means to follow your passion

That seems to be great advice until you think about it. What if I don’t have a passion? What if my passion is basketball and I’m horrible.  No matter how much training, it’ll never happen.

This happens more often than not. I’ve been searching for my passion after failing out of Pharmacy School.  I’m not sure what it is yet but I know what it’s not.

What is passion?

How do we know if we have a passion for something? Is it a sense of excitement when performing an action? Is it a sense for an idea of something? I think the excitement of an action or idea is short lived and empty. The true passion is with persistent and consistent work.

I think true passion comes after the action. It is when we’re dedicated to an action or idea. The hours of work involved in seeing this action or idea realized is the passion.

What does it mean for me?

It’s what keeps us going towards that goal when you feel like giving up. It keeps us motivated and inspired. Yet, I may fail and gain little from following this. If you’re lucky, and your passion is basketball and you’re good at the sport then you might have a shot.

People say to follow your passion, but I think we should follow what we’re good at doing. What happens when you try to follow is as a career? You get a long resume with a lot of different jobs as you’re trying to figure it out. Time goes quickly and we can never get it back.

If you’re one of the lucky ones that know your passion, keep it as a hobby. If you’re like the rest of us, you have that focus and dedication inside you already; use it towards what you’re good at doing.

Instead, cultivate a mindset of purpose. Find what you’re good at doing, find what you like doing, see if there is a need for your skill, and see if you can get paid for it. When you can answer these questions, you’ll find a direction for your vision.

Steve Jobs is a popular example of this. His passion wasn’t computers, it was eastern philosophy and mysticism. Computers were just something to make money. Yet, he was good at finding talent to execute his plans. If he followed his passion, he may have ended up owning and operating yoga studios.

Final thoughts

Here’s the hard truth, for the great majority of us there is no special passion waiting.

It has to be created and maintained, like a garden, if you want true results. The good news is that we have the opportunity to create and maintain a passion starting now.


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