This is one of those rare times where I’ve titled my post before writing it. Usually I don’t come up with the title until after having written the post.
The reason for the change this time is because this title is a phrase that’s been blaring in my head for so long.
It’s something I’ve wanted to shout from the roof tops above the popular (and often misled) notion of today’s culture that tells people to “just follow your heart.”
Telling someone to follow their heart is bad advice.
Really bad advice.
The Truth About The Heart
The heart is emotional and therefore fickle.
If everyone went with every whim that came to their hearts, the world would be a lot more chaotic than it already is.
There’s definitely something to be said for self-control. And this is not just common sense, it’s also biblical.
Jeremiah 17:9–10 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
What this means is, as humans our hearts are inclined toward selfishness and sin, and therefore some decisions made with the heart are made with the wrong motives.
Passion Comes From Your Gut
Passion is different from heart.
Passion is something that burns deep inside your gut, propelling you forward despite whatever you’re feeling in the moment.
It’s what keeps you going and working hard even when things get tough, even when your heart doesn’t feel like complying.
Passion is oftentimes more committed than the heart.
I think this quote says it best:
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.” Mark Z. Danielewski
Think about this quote in terms of those who are passionate about running marathons.
To be successful, it can’t be just because their heart loves running or likes the euphoria that comes with running.
If that was the case, runners would quickly give up during training when they experienced the pulled muscles, the bleeding blisters, the extreme exhaustion, the harsh elements of outdoor running, and so on.
I’ve been guilty in my past of making decisions with the wrong motives and chose to follow my heart instead of my gut. I know from personal experience that each time I’ve ignored my gut I’ve regretted it. And each time I’ve listened to it, I’m glad I did.
Follow Your Passion
So what’s the difference between following your heart and following your passion?
Following your heart is an attempt to gain immediate gratification.
It doesn’t weigh the consequences.
Its desires are temporary.
And it doesn’t want to tolerate the suffering required for results.
Following your passion is committing to something you know you must do.
Even when it scares you.
Even when it’s difficult.
Even when you’re tired.
Even when there’s some suffering involved.
It’s taking the time to do your research, make a plan and count the costs.
It’s being responsible to your gut, instead of a slave to your heart.
When it comes to the big decisions in your life, which would you rather base those pivotal decisions on: pop psychology fluff, or truth?
Will you follow your heart, or will you follow your PASSION? Something to think about!
Lori Bumgarner is the owner of paNASH, a passion and career coaching service that helps people get unstuck and pursue their passions and find work they love.