Don’t follow your passion!
You watched motivational videos on YouTube. You read uplifting articles on Medium. You were listening to hundreds of podcasts with successful people.
How many times did you hear this👇 over-hyped phrase?
Are you anything like me — a person who is bumping now and then into this phrase and starting to cringe involuntarily?
Let me be honest with you. Personally, I had a very hard time removing this pile-of-bullshit mindset from my head.
Pardon me for my French but :
And let me tell you why.
The “word” passion implies that you have this strong and uncontrolled emotion, a feeling to do something.
Well here is what I know — emotions fail us and feelings let us down.
Passions are like hang-loose strumpets come and go. We might feel “passionate” about something one day and then suddenly we don’t the other.
As a result, we don’t reach our goals, we feel resentment, we feel a bitter taste of disappointment.
Passion is like an infatuation. You get possessed fast, it burns bright, it fades away unnoticeably.
Passion won’t help you to get through the path of mastery that teems with challenges and frustrations. Passion is a bitch that cuts and runs when you find out that you need to chew glass to get to the next level.
Nothing worth having is easy neither it is supposed to be.
So if passion doesn’t work, then what does?
Making cool-headed experiments in order to understand yourself better, being mindful and analytical about the results and fostering the qualities of self-discipline, willpower, and grit — this is what works. This will get you to great results even if you don’t know where you are going.
Being analytical doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t love what you do. On the contrary, it means exactly the opposite.
Some people compare a love for a woman with the sea. A sea can surge during the storm transforming the waves into an overwhelming tsunami. This is one type of love. It is strong and breathtaking but never long-lasting.
And then there is another type of love — a sea after the storm. Calm and calming, it instills serenity.
The same analogy is applicable to the love for your work, your Mission, your life-long project. Calm deep blue sea — this is the love you would want to seek for. When you are not disturbed by big waves-emotions you are capable of making intelligent decisions.
As you get rid of the passion, you can step back and become more observing. It will help you to understand things like whether you work better alone or with people. Are you a better fit for monotonous repetitive work or you need to frequently change activities in order to stay engaged? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Answering these questions is crucial when it comes to a choice of the career.
Here is the question that I hear a lot:
“I am __ (👈insert your age) years old. My life is a mess. I don’t know what I want to do with my life and where I want to go.”
This is what I would like to tell you:
If you are 12–19, seek for mentors. Have the following mindset: Education starts after school. There is an inner God in every person — a mini-clone of Creator. Look around yourself and absorb, learn what kinds of different manifestations of human’s creating power exist out there. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try things. Be bold. Learn from your mistakes. Focus on fundamentals — hard science and hard skills.
- Read this 👉 essay to learn how to study at the age we live in.
- Read this 👉 essay to make a wiser major and career choice.
- Read this 👉essay to learn about the biggest mistake I made in life that you can avoid.
Every free moment of your life — Read, READ, READ! Learn as much as you can about your weaknesses and strengths.
When I was younger I was looking at older guys, especially those who were 30+, and I thought: “Yeah. These men got their shit together.” How naive I was. I will turn 30 this summer and I realize that very few people understand what is all this mess that is going on around us, surely, I am not one of them.
If you are 20, you should self-reflect. By this age, you already know at least something about yourself. As a rule of thumb, move towards improving on your strengths and working on your weaknesses in the meantime. From now on you have 10 years. This is what it takes in order to become an expert in one domain. First of all become an expert life-long learner. Be a master of your craft and a solid generalist. Learn how to distribute your time between the skills and activities that you want to study.
If you are 30, damn bro, who knew we will survive right? 😄 There is one thing I know — it’s only a start. No matter where you are and what you are doing keep pushing. We are strong and we are young, and most importantly we are not so stupid anymore to jump into the traps of this world. You should definitely take time and read these 👉 answers on Quora. Very insightful.
If you are 30+ and reading this, sorry, I didn’t make it to this stage of the game yet.
I am still trying to figure it out myself and I am not sure if panacea to our sickness exists at all but there is one thing in life that I learned and that I am completely certain about:
The process is the goal.
There were many times in my life when I didn’t have any particular goal in mind yet I was possessed by the process. It is in the process where I underwent the transformation and grew up to the person who is capable of doing, seeing and understanding more. I was learning. It is like putting books under your feet to stand taller until the moment you suddenly start to see behind the wall. In the process, I learned that the things that seem impossible become possible if you stay in the game long enough.
It doesn’t really matter how old you are. The principles are always the same.
- Work your ass off.
- Study the trends of today and understand that they are the harbingers of the world that will come tomorrow.
- Help people in their mission and they will help you
That’s it. Pure practicality with no need for “passions”.
I guess this is one of those letters I wish I could send to my past self. I can’t. So I send it to you. Take it easy on yourself. As J.R.R. Tolkien said: “Not all those who wander are lost”.
Keep wandering but make it profound, make it intense, make it challenging.
If there is an intent there will be an insight. Don’t follow your passion. Grind your way up.