Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is The Worse Advice Ever
Let’s be less passionate about our passions
The term “Follow your passion” has increased ninefold in English books since 1990. “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is another college-counseling standby of unknown provenance. Despite of those wise words, you find yourself being 25, 35 or 45 years old and you still haven’t found your passion? You cannot possibly be alone in this.
What are the consequences of this wave of passion-craziness? Well, we got to a point where we really believe that if you do something that feels like work, it means you don’t love it and got it wrong.
Here comes the breaking truth:
Passions are not ‘found’. They are developed.
Your passion isn’t out there, waiting to be discovered. It’s not a mysterious force that will — when found — remove all obstacles from your path.
A wise man told me once: It’s really hard to do what you love, but it’s quite easy to love what you do. As long as you put enough effort, heart and dedication into your work, you will improve in whatever it is that you are doing. When you improve, you automatically start enjoying what you do a little bit more, feeling progress and growth.
On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with admitting that all of us need jobs in order to pay our bills. Your job is not supposed to be your life. It’s okay to get up in the morning and do what you have to do in order to enjoy yourself in the afternoon and on weekends. Life is about people that are close, life is about stuff you love like dancing, reading and cooking. Life is about doing those things without the urge to monetize them. Life is about doing some good to others, sharing and caring, contributing and deciding where to invest your precious time. It’s about having a picnic with wine, cheese and walnuts while watching the sunset without worrying about all the possible future disasters.
I have lately heard another phrase that struck me a lot: I think you are wasting your potential. It was a conversation about my career and professional choices and then I thought: My potential for what? What about my pontential for happiness? My potential for becoming a good human being? My potential for being a balanced and fulfilled person?
It’s all about choices. Adam J. Kurtz, author of Things Are What You Make of Them has rewritten the maxim for modern creatives: “Do what you love and you’ll work super fucking hard all the time with no separation or any boundaries and also take everything extremely personally.” Which, aside from being relatable to anyone who has tried to make money from something they truly care about, speaks to an underrepresented truth: those with passion careers can have just as much career anxiety as those who clock in and out of the mindless daily grind.
Instead of waiting for a shooting star to bring you the idea of what your passion is and where is it hiding, maybe we could accept the fact that it is okay, and perhaps just human, to have a job that feels like actual work and effort from time to time.
I wrote a similar piece on Why We Should Stop Turning Hobbies Into Jobs, if you liked this one, you might enjoy it as well!