Me : “ I’m tired of living this mundane routine. Work sucks! Life sucks! ”
Friend who watches every motivational Tedx video : “ Dude, you must FOLLOW YOUR PASSION ”
Been there, Done that?
There is a surplus of communities involved in making you believe how following your passion is the only way to attain a fulfilling life. While it is important to explore other areas of interest, focusing your entire life on a singular passion can at times be detrimental to your growth.
I may be adopting the unconventional approach, but you may not want to give up on reading just yet.
Here are 4 reasons why Following Your Passion is Overrated:
1. DO YOU EVEN KNOW YOUR PASSION ?
You just sat through one of most motivational talks of your lifetime, understanding the importance of following your passion. After the talk, you asked yourself
” What is my passion? Do I have any passion? “
Suddenly hell broke, and you just realized how your entire existence was meaningless because you did not have ANY passion in life!
This isn’t the end of the world, and most often people do not have a definitive singular answer when asked about passion. It is okay to not know, because nobody is born with passion, but passion arises through effort and experience. It is only when you make an effort that you realize how much you love or hate something.
Here’s an excerpt from billionaire Mark Cuban’s interview :
“I was never into technology in college. I took one computer class and cheated at it,” he recalls.
“But when I got one of my first jobs out of school using technology, it was like, ‘Wait, I love this.’ I’ve taught myself the program, I could go seven hours, eight hours without taking a break thinking it was 10 minutes because I was concentrating so hard and so excited and really loved it.
“And that’s when I realized that I can be really, really good at technology.”
To read the full interview, click here
Stop wasting your efforts to find your one true passion, and exhaust yourself in the process leaving you frustrated with life. Every effort you make will grow the passion tree within you!
2. PASSION IS TEMPORARY
I chose a career in finance several years ago, worked extremely hard to find that right job that would justify my passion for finance. I was raving with excitement when I started my job and felt a sense of pride to be on the contributing end towards the risk management goals of major financial institutions.
Soon, the excitement faded away, and so did my passion. Reality strikes in various forms and it is at these times another door opens for your new passion. I developed a keen interest in traveling and at one point even pictured myself quitting my job to travel full time – we all have, haven’t we?
Did I travel ? Yes! I wouldn’t say I have checked every country on my bucket list, but I did take the first step and cherished every moment of it.
Did I quit my day job ? Of course not! As amazing as your imagination may be, the reality is often the opposite.
Realize that with time, your passion too will change, providing new meaning and purpose to your life.
Change is the only constant in Life
3. YOU CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE PASSION
I mentioned my love for travel and the dream to explore this beautiful world some day. But does it mean it is my ONLY passion? While I imagined myself hiking the tallest mountains this world has to offer, I also pictured myself writing a novel. Writing, among many others is also a passion I wish to pursue, and writing this blog has taken me closer to making this dream a reality.
Again, I am still crunching numbers at the office during the day, because that’s what enables me to transition from one passion to another. There is so much to learn and we are bounded by time. Why then, should we restrict ourselves to following a singular goal for the rest of our lives?
If you need a color for life, use the whole palette
4. IS YOUR PASSION REALISTIC ?
At the age of 18, you probably wanted to become the best tennis player on this planet. Your game was fantastic, you even played a few local tournaments, but you never made it large.
Disappointing, I’m sure, but will you still be pursuing this passion 20 years later if you weren’t any good at it?
Sometimes people are so fascinated with the notion of following their passion, they tend to overlook other opportunities that come along. Being realistic and having the courage to accept the harsh reality associated with unattainable goals is the first step towards an enriching life.
There is nothing more rewarding than getting paid for a job you love. But if you find yourself among the majority of people who often wish for an alternate career, there is no reason to give up just yet.
In my post Are You Doing What You Love?, I urged everyone to take a step forward towards a new beginning. This does not demand large sacrifices, and will allow you to understand whether pursuing your ‘passion’ has made you happy. Find the thing or things that you are great at, and it need not be ‘the only one’.
So, the next time somebody asks you,
“ What are you passionate about? ”, respond by saying,
“ I’m on an endless journey of Unrestricted Passion ”