Here’s the question nobody knows answer for:
Do you need to follow your passion when choosing a career?
Very well-known, and well-respected people argue both sides of this argument.
And when there’s an argument, I always know that both sides are wrong. Because both sides are right.
Yes, I said that.
Both sides are wrong and right.
It’s like having people argue if Earth is cold or hot.
It’s neither, and it’s both. It’s hot in the desert, cold in Antarctica.
So, when it comes to the passion doing your job, I was like: “Duh, of course you need passion!” I was genuinely surprised when I heard advice not to follow your passion.
The reasoning was this: if you follow your passion, you’re likely to exhaust it, and would end up emotionally drained doing what you once loved but now.
Here’s my attempt to reconcile the two points.
You have to base your initial choice of career on logic. It has to be meaningful and great.
As we talked before, you need to find a job that you don’t mind doing for thousands of hours, sometimes with no great results, and mostly disappointments. If you persevere, passion will drag its lazy ass from wherever it’s hiding and will join you in your quest.
Like now, I’m writing this article. I don’t expect anyone to see it in the foreseeable future. I have no idea is this website will ever become popular, or known. But I’m ready to do it anyway. If this article helps one person, mission accomplished for me. To be honest, at this point (September 2017) I’m not very passionate about writing because I don’t see any great results. I’m doing it because it needs to be done.
When you’re just starting a career you usually can’t rely on your existing passions because most of them would not stand a chance against a mountain of disappointments and hard work you’re going to face on your path.
However. If you understand what passion is… You can design your experience, your career to have them produce passion for you, regardless of the difficulty.
I believe that passion is a very close relative of gambler’s rush.
A gambler can’t wait to get started, doesn’t mind spending hours playing and isn’t discouraged by lack of winning.
Isn’t that the same description you’d put to the word “passion”?
I think, you and I have just discovered something interesting here.
Time and time again, research on job satisfaction points to this conclusion: first, people start doing jobs and later they start liking their jobs.
I know, your job probably sucks.
Sometimes, my jobs suck too!
But sometimes, for example, my job as a teacher gives me those presents that you cherish all your life. It’s like winning a lottery. Every once in a while all my students in a group agree that thanks to my explanation they could figure out something that they hadn’t been able to figure out for years!
Hearing that feels awesome!
Like, just the other week, my students learned how to use Present perfect. I mean… to you, it’s probably as basic as walking or using a fork, but, now in their 30-s and 40-s, they finally figured it out. Thanks to my efforts!
It felt great when they told me that now they got it.
So, naturally, I now feel a little more passionate going to work. I was reminded that I can do something great. Change people’s lives. Fantastic feeling.
But what is the chance of you feeling like that right from the beginning at your job?
Sometimes, if you’re turning your hobby into a career, that is possible.
If you enjoy fixing bikes and have been doing it in your garage for 30 years (assuming now you’re in your 40s), then you’re probably quite good at it. Maybe you can open your own bike maintenance shop, or teach others how to fix/mod their bikes.
But what if you’re like most of us in their 20s and 30s? There’s no years’ worth of experience to build on. Nobody will tell you: “Hey! You’re great at this thing you started doing last month!”
Our lives suck in this respect.
So, we have to use our logic and values first, to find and decide what is needed to be done in this world. Then, doing that, failing and succeeding, we will develop a passion. Because every once in a while you WIN! And that is passion – hunting the WIN!
What is needed to be done in this world?
Let me know in the comments!