5 Lies About “Following Your Passion”

Nearly everything people think is true about living their best life is wrong. Here’s how to follow your passion without burning out.

Brad Stulberg
Mar 28 · 3 min read

A few years ago, when I began to focus more on my writing career, my mom, a former writer herself, gave me a book titled Passion: Every Day. It was filled with inspiring quotes like “I dare you, while there is still time, to have a magnificent obsession” and “follow your desire as long as you live.” The book is part of a larger canon that argues that the key to a good life is just magically finding your passion — a word often vaguely used to describe a general enthusiasm, drive, or intensity for something — and then following it wherever it leads. You might recognize this type of language from hokey Instagram posts.

There’s only one problem: in researching, reporting, and writing my new book, The Passion Paradox, I learned that nearly everything people think about passion is wrong. So, let’s bust some myths.

What People Say: “Find Your Passion”

  • Autonomy: having control over what you do.
  • Mastery: the ability to make clear and tangible progress.
  • Belonging: a sense of community.

What People Say: “Quit Your Day Job”

What People Say: “Go Big or Go Home”

What People Say: “Follow Your Passion”

What People Say: “Be Balanced”

My hope is that The Passion Paradox gives you practices to implement in day-to-day life to develop passion and then channel it in a productive manner. That’s why I wrote the book. Passion can be a gift or a curse. What direction it takes depends on you.

Brad Stulberg writes about mastery, performance, and wellbeing. Follow him on Twitter @Bstulberg and consider supporting his work by checking out his new book, The Passion Paradox.

Brad Stulberg

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Write and coach on health and human performance. Author of the new book THE PASSION PARADOX (https://t.co/mjijQQ3kvx) and bestselling PEAK PERFORMANCE