Follow your passion is the most common career advice you will hear these days.
It’s a nice idea, but how easy it to actually do? And how much does it actually help?
An article on HBR explained that passions are made not found, passions are more about your values than what you enjoy, and passion can only take you so far.
Don’t Wait to “Find” Your Passion
People aren’t born with a passion.
Think about your favourite hobby. Did you start doing it in the womb? Or did you start it and gradually get better with practice and start to love it. You may have started so young you can’t remember, but you did start.
Passions are developed.
So if you don’t like something the first time you try it, that doesn’t mean you will never like it. If you care about the results your work produces, keep practising. You can get better bit by bit and you will find yourself starting to enjoy it more and more.
Focus on Meaning, not Fun
Your preferences change all the time, think about your hobbies now, the TV shows you watch, the books you read.
How many are the same from your childhood? or even 5 years ago?
Pleasure is short-lived. You are not going to love doing the same things your whole life, because you as a person change so much throughout your life.
Meaning however, deepens with time.
If you love making someone’s day or knowing that something you taught someone could make their life just a little easier, this feeling will last much longer than the pleasure of a massage.
Passion Can Work Against You
There are two big situations where passion can work against you:
- You are passionate about something that someone else is passionately against
- You are willing to sacrifice other things in life for your passion
For and Against
Imagine you are trying to convince your friend of all the benefits of Android. You can talk all day about the features, the lower cost and wider choice of phones. But if the person you are talking to is a strong Apple supporter, you are more likely to make them support their side more strongly.
Passion in something we disagree with actually makes us push back and think of all the reason that person is wrong. So beware how passionately you speak when trying to persuade someone before you know which side they’re on.
Sacrifices of Passion
If you love your job so much that you would secretly do it for free, you may think you’ve found yourself the best deal in the world.
The problem is when immoral managers start to notice just how much you love your job.
They may start asking you to do unpaid overtime, because they know you love it enough to keep going.
They may ask you to work a few weekends, just to get this project done.
They may ask you just to help them for 10 minutes, which turns into 2 hours, so you miss your lunch-break.
A few months or years later, you will find you have no time and no energy to do anything but work. You will forget why you loved this job so much as now it is just an endless mountain of work and waterfall of stress.
So remember, passion is better developed than “found”, passion lasts longer when it appeals to your deeply held values and passion can be used against you.