I recently came across an article titled The Many Many Problems with ‘Follow Your Passion’. It really highlighted to me that we don’t understand what passion actually is, or how to use it in our lives. The article quotes a survey where 90% of responders said that their passion involved sport, music or art, but only 3% of the job market includes those industries. Therefore, your best option is to forget about following your passion, figure out what you might become good at, and go look for a job involving that.
As career advice, I don’t disagree with that approach. But if we’re talking about creating the authentic life that you’ve always wanted to live, then it is critically important to understand what passion is, how it differs from other things like interests, and how to use it to get where you want to be.
A passion is very different to an interest. When you’re passionate about something, you’re consumed by it. Obsessed with it. You’re thinking about it all the time, you care about it so much that you’ll prioritise it over other things. It’s a bit like being in love, you’re besotted. It’s the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night. Passion is a sustained energy that drives you to act on the thing you’re excited about for a prolonged period of time.
The people who work in the 3% of the job market involving sports, music and art are passionate about it. That’s why they’re in the 3%. The people who are just interested in sports, music and art are busy working somewhere in the other 97%.
But thinking more broadly about the idea of passion, broader than just work and livelihood, passion is the sustained energy that’s absolutely essential to the process of changing your life, to aligning it with who you truly are. And it’s essential because it’s pure – you can’t fake passion. Sure, you might be able to fake enthusiasm or interest or even excitement for a while, but passion – sustained, driving passion – you can’t fake, there would be no reason to. That’s why following your passion is literally walking your true path in life. People who have a genuine passion don’t tend to wonder if they’re doing the right thing, making the right choices in life because they know they are. Passion is their guide.
But not everybody feels passion in that way. Not everyone has one great overwhelming passion that guides their every action. Sometimes, the challenges of day-to-day life are more than enough to keep you fully occupied, and the thought of pursuing something you’re passionate about seems very far away. This low-passion state means that not a lot of change is going to come into your life, and that’s completely okay – in fact it’s necessary in a lot of situations where a bit of a break is needed. But there will likely come a time, further down the track, where you start to feel like you do want to make changes in your life, and that is the time to remember and reconnect with passion. How do you do this? One of the ways I find most effective is to remind yourself on a daily basis, of the following “Passion Principle” –
The more passion you apply in your life, the more the process of change will be accelerated. What you put out is what you get back.
It doesn’t matter what you apply passion to. It could just be everyday things. But when you act on those everyday things with passion, rather than dragging your feet, you will notice quite quickly that things will begin to change. Opportunities will present themselves where there were none before. Things that align with the way you prefer them to be will come to the fore, and the things that are out of alignment will start to fall away, or will come to a head so they can be cleared. You won’t have to expend a huge amount of energy any more just keeping your head above water, all you really need to do is just keep applying passion – become passionate about always being passionate – and you will experience a natural acceleration as a result.
Ironically, this is also what the article is saying. Find something that you might become good at and commit to becoming good at it over a long period of time. That is the same journey as finding and following a passion. What the article doesn’t say, though, is that the more passion you apply, the more accelerated your journey will be.
Don’t park your passion. Be passionate just for the sake of being passionate. If you give yourself completely to your world, your world will give itself completely to you.
With Love from your Coach,
The link to the article I quoted is here – http://99u.com/articles/51623/the-many-many-problems-with-follow-your-passion