You’ve probably once been told by your teacher, parent, friend or even by a motivational speaker that following your passion is the absolute key to a successful life.
Well, it already sounds like a thought-provoking advice already. It is what I have always believed in my life.
But is what I realized, “follow your passion” is total bullshit, it is one of the most trashy advices you could ever get or give.
Wondering why? Because every individual is passionate about something. Usually, it is not just a single thing, but a couple of them. It is undoubted that there are things we are going to love doing or we dream about doing in life. Those things are not worth a dime, neither your effort in your career.
Just because you have something giving you a tickling feeling and you’re really passionate about, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you are going to hack life with it. Besides, it is not assured that it is the best approach towards establishing your lifetime career.
This got me wondering if Steve Jobs followed his passion, could we be having these most craved-for, Apple products? I guess not, he could have spent the rest of his time probably in some unknown place in China as a Buddhist monk, because that is what he was passionate about.
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Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow my Instagram Instead 😛
I think the “Do what you love, and the money will come” phrase usually sounds like a kickass advice – until the time you need to secure a job. That is when disillusionment kicks in hastily.
It is not wrong to have passion for something, but then, life is not that fancy, and it does not care about what we love or are passionate about.
Take a moment and think about the thing(s) you are passionate about…(if at all they exist).
How many of them have you ever considered to make a living or your career around? Probably many. You might have been unable to settle on one?
Now ask yourself why you could not settle on one, or why you kept on skipping from one to another. Rather, why was it so hard for you to build a career on any of those things?
Maybe you happened to be successful in building your career around one of the things you have been passionate about. (Congratulations). But what lead to your success, it is passion or the effort you put into that venture or job?
Follow Passion or Be Realistic?
It is possible that we, young people can absolutely make a living by following our passion. But it is unfortunate that most of us do not have enough knowledge or information about life and what is viable.
This makes it hard for us to choose something that one passion able to open success doors for us. Also, even if we could, most at times, we could go wrong in our decisions.
Don’t Always Follow Your Passion, But Bring it With You!
Whenever I am watching the Oscars or the BET Awards, one thing that almost everyone says is “Don’t ever give up on your dreams.” I can’t refute that, but how can a singer or movie actor who does not know you, let alone your passion tell you that?
You see most of us young people have passions, but the things we are passionate about got to do usually with sports, dancing, acting and stuff. But the bitter truth is, these interests do not have high market interests.
Let’s look at this, as a blogger, you can solve other people’s needs, and that creates value. As an entrepreneur, say a fashion designer, you can solve needs as well. But think of the impact that you can have on people’s lives with dancing, or playing lawn tennis. Almost insignificant, right?
Opportunity Over Passion
This reminds of my art and design degree back in college. I remember we started with “History of Art and Design” in our first. Some of the artists I learned about during that time include Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci and the likes. Then there is this guy called Van Gogh. Despite his work of art being exceptional and extremely awesome, he managed to sell only one painting during his lifetime. I know you’re wondering he survived and paid his bills now that he painted full-time.
Thanks to his generous brother who helped him out. But if your “passion” that you’re pursuing doesn’t pay, do you have someone who will help you out as well? The truth is, not all of us have someone wiling to giving you some cash or pay your bills just so you can follow your passion.
Hol’up, I am not trying to say that these performing arts or sports aren’t a viable thing to do; we all know a heck-load of people making a living through it. But the dirty truth is, the market interest is quite low.
Besides that, I think as much as almost everyone would love to have a job allowing them to explore their creativity, and have an impact on the world, choose how they spend their time, such jobs are very rare.
The best way to get something that has much value to you and to the rest of the world is by offering something in return. You have to create value to get something valuable, and that requires a lot of time and patience backed up by relentless effort
Okay, that aside, how many times have we been told to stay on course; to point something that we love, put work on it, and BOOM! Money will start flowing in? But have you ever wondered what the chances of being successful are if your passion is not marketable?
Don’t Work Hard, Work Smart
I believe whoever came up with this, knew that there are some things you could be putting all your effort but still end up barking the wrong tree.
You can work 16 hours a day but still be unsuccessful, so the important thing is to know where you are directing your effort.
If you want to know where your destiny is, check the areas you are always spending most of your time. Not where the passion is.
Don’t do something because you love it but rather love something because you have mastered the craft and become extremely good at it. Or rather, you don’t have to find your passion to become useful, instead, be useful first and that is where you will find your passion.
If you missed my previous post on How to start working on your goals even when you feel not ready yet, please go check it.
A Penny of My Thoughts
To wrap, here is what I learnt and I think I should let you know. That:
- When you work hard at something, you become absolutely good at it.
- When you get good at that thing, you start enjoying it even more.
- Once you start enjoying something that you do, chances are that you will become passionate about it.
- When you become good at something, get passionate with it and work extra harder to be the best at it, good things often happen.
So, are you willing to follow an opportunity and effort or follow your passion? Share your thoughts in the comments below.