Should You Follow Your Passion?
Should you follow your passion and make it your profession?
Discover why following your passion could (sometimes) be bad advice.
Passions are what they are: passions. Something to do freely, without pressure, without obligations. Something that responds to an internal need, a calling. You do it because you want to and you can do it whenever and however you want. So perhaps the advice given by Steve Jobs in 2005, “follow your passion”, is sometimes not the best idea, especially when it comes to converting what we enjoy most into how we make a living. And if it is such good advice, why not ask an artist friend if it’s better to draw for oneself or for others? Or compose for you or for everybody else? A recent study by Stanford University shed a little light on this dilemma. Here are some clues that suggest it may be better to ignore “follow your passion” and start looking for an alternative to this mantra in your professional life.
Following your passion and making it your profession can lead to frustration rather than success
Going back to one of the more important points of the Stanford study, “following your passion” in the professional world can lead us to give it our all and then give up when things get tough. What’s more, passions change and it might well be that our passion at 20 is nothing like our passion at 45. Following on from the example of art, and considering that art is quite subjective, can you imagine receiving constant NOs about your work? And if, at 18, you love surfing, but at 25 you prefer skateboarding, what then? Perhaps you dedicate yourself to professional skateboarding but due to the pressure of competition you end up not enjoying this passion? These are just a couple of illustrative examples of why “following your passion” may not be such a good idea. So, what’s the alternative?
Rather than following your passion, focus on your interests and you’ll find and develop a passion
Yes, we get that ignoring such an ever-present guideline in the professional path of new generations is difficult. The answer to this situation goes beyond the dilemma “so, do I work solely for money?” Nope, that’s not the most recommendable way either. As we said in this article, sometimes the best option to find a job you enjoy is to focus on your skills, and interests. To achieve this, it’s essential that you start working on your curiosity and be willing to investigate and check out different areas. Explore your different interests, and you’ll discover what you like to do, then you can say: I don’t follow my passion professionally, I’ve found something to do that interests me a lot and this, this, has become my passion. Isn’t it a better alternative, much less demanding and more fulfilling than the simple phrase “follow your passion”? 🙂