“Every time someone asks you about your passion, what do you feel?”
Dilemma of finding ones passion
So I was having a conversation with an old friend last week. We were discussing how our work lives are going, when we started discussing a very peculiar topic
“Does having no passion at all for anything make me a boring person?”
“I am trying really very hard to find what I am actually meant to do but I am unable to identify my calling and follow my passion.”
And I realised, that was not just me and her, but many of my other friends face the same dilemma.
Funny thing is that this was not an issue for the previous generations.
When Baby Boomers and Generation X were in their youth, 90% of the people were busy in getting their lives in place. It was a different and difficult world. This is another reason, why only the most talented ones had the guts enough to accept their passion.
Jim Morrison, Curt Cubain, Dave Grohl, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley, J. K. Rowlings, Mohammad Rafi, Sonu Nigam, Stan Lee, Steve Irwin and many others – They all lie in the above category.
But as the Millennials ascend, there is a totally different era now. Unlike our immediate ancestors, we did not grow up in a period of international war or cold war. Moreover the luxury of the internet is in itself a game changer. In the early days of .com boom there used to be forums and communities similar to real world communities where people connected and helped each other with issues being faced. I call this a pre-social-media time. These forums and communities and the advancement of internet and digital technology allows to advent of what we call – Social Media.
The role Social Media plays in our lives
Now the social media is a very interesting thing, in fact most Generation X and Baby Boomers might even have been awestruck by this magic. But people did not realize there was a significant psychological catch in the boom of social media.
You see, social media targets on four major types of people. People can be based up things they like. You can see for yourself if they like:
- boasting their achievements
- faking their lives so as to portray a bigger lifestyle
- peeping in to their friend’s and frenemy’s lives
- connecting to masses for popularity and sharing messages
Guess what, we always lie in any one of these 4 types. And that is not even our fault. Our dear scientists proved years ago that humans are social animals and crave a social acceptance. Wasn’t this also one of the many principals in our need of petting wolves into dogs!!
Too off topic? I guess not
Let me come back to the topic now. So where does the passion comes into the picture. Let me explain.
“Passion and Work are two very close frenemies.”
Here is what usually we all face –
- We spend 10 hours a day in our jobs, additional 2 hours a day in travel and then when we reach home.
- We are too tired think about any thing else, so we have dinner and get to bed.
- But in this small time we manage to sneak up on Faceboook to check out what our friend’s spouse has gifted them on their birthday and how they are in their way to Costa Rica for a fun vacation.
- We feel bad for ourselves a little and then sleep thinking about it.
- The weekdays pass, weekend arrives. We are happy to check out early from our respective work space on Friday.
- We go for a movie, have dinner, then we go to bed, cuddle and sleep.
Now we just missed our usual FB check routine. We wake up on Saturday morning, and start checking our dear feed while having breakfast. And guess what we see:
Anita has started following her passion and is now a painter
Jamaal has become a song writer and music composer and already uploading his videos to youtube
Now, we sit back on our chair thinking about our past week, and feeling what have we become.
We wonder – “Was this really what I wanted as my life? I need to get back to life. I need to grab my passion and go conquer the world.”
“But wait what is my passion? Ok, let me check what my passion is [does google]. Yeah, so I will start making blabla….” – and the story continues.[wastes the weekend on the shit, goes back to the office on Monday, and repeats the same cycle again. The passion tend to change on monthly or fortnightly basis]
Sounds similar? Feels familiar?
The demand of finding passion is so high that we even have surveys to make your choice easier:
But do you think this is the right way?
No you were lied to!!
There is no way to find ones passion. In fact scientifically speaking we do not have a single passion drive but multiple.
Scott Barry Kaufman – a cognitive psychologist in one of his articles states – “Sometimes you need help finding your passions. But this is a paradoxical concept. The more we try to force passion, the less likely people are to discover it for themselves. Making you think about passion won’t get you there!”
This is just not it – “The feeling of constantly failing has the danger of increasing an obsessive focus on a particular goal. Constant failure might make you more driven to prove you can do it. Simply, you need to ask yourself if you are no longer enjoying following your passion.”
A recent paper by Stanford Researchers Dweck and Walton, suggests – “popular mantras like ‘follow your passion’ make people think that pursuing a passion will be easy. Believers are then more likely to give up when they face challenges or roadblocks.”
Even, Mark Cuban – owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star on ABC’s hit reality television show, “Shark Tank,” takes this line of thinking one step further.
“One of the great lies of life is ‘follow your passions,” said Cuban as part of the Amazon Insights for Entrepreneurs series. “Everybody tells you, ‘Follow your passion, follow your passion.”
He argues that “people should focus on their strengths rather than their passions, because we are not always good at the things that interest us the most and because perfecting a strength can become a passion.”
Digging the truth before finding your passion
This is a grave reality as “Finding Your Passion” has really become a scam today and many industries are literally monetizing over this simple phenomena.
But they are not the one to be blamed, as it is us who need to find better version of this charade.
We need to see through the people following their passions. Referring to my above scenario:
- Anita was actually good at sketching and painting way back in school and attended part time arts classes while still at work.
- Jamaal played guitar and drums beautifully in his college days, and continued the practice of composition even after the band split.
But we miss out these details in our pursuit of craziness.
Similarly taking look at the examples from Baby Boomers and Generation X – Bruce Lee was trained in Kung Fu since his childhood and was already working on Jeet Kune Do while in college.
Dave Grohl in one of his interviews suggested that he could not imagine his life without his band. He was below average in studies and not good with money. If he had not followed his pursuit of music, he would probably be working at a low-paid job.
“The truth is that we need to accept the fact that doing a regular job does not make us boring.”
We do not need to find our passions. We just need to be good at what we do or what we need to do. Want more? Try out some hobby, and give it some time.
One cannot be forced into passion. Passion itself is subjective term. You can even try replacing passion with Deep Work to make it more sensible. Yeah I love referring Cal Newport whenever I get a chance too!!
“You do not need to be a musician, travel blogger, photographer or artist to work wonders. You already are special enough to be doing your own shit good.”