The Problem With “Passion”.
- Passion alienates. Psst, here’s a secret. Most people don’t have a passion. You may have a talent, specialist knowledge, a few hobbies but a passion? Something that truly drives you? Gets you up early and keeps you working late, day-after-day, year-after-year? Few people have that. Yet everywhere you look you’re told by gurus that unless you are passionate, you won’t succeed – so you don’t even try.
- Passion is a myth. Can you think of a single activity you would want to do every hour of the day for the rest of your life? Even sex would become boring. Even the most pleasurable, interesting, fun, absorbing (the list goes on) activities all have their downside, their drudgery and boredom. Nothing is non-stop exciting. We’ve met celebrities, billionaires and models – and we can tell you every life has its share of mundanity.
- Passions change over time. Think back to an activity you use to love to do but now have no interest in. You can spend years doing something that you are passionate about, that feels like your calling, only to wake one day and never do it again. Passion evolves and it’s dangerous to pin your entire identity, happiness or wellbeing on something that can – and probably will – change.
- Your passion turns into a job. We know of people who loved to cook but when they pursued it more seriously, e.g. built a career or a business around it, it became an obligation, a job and sometimes a source of heartache and resentment. Turning your passion into a job is a double-edged sword: you may end up never working another day of your life or the thing you love has become a source of frustration, anxiety and misery.
- You don’t need passion. Guess what? You don’t need passion. You simply have to do something you’re interested in. That’s enough. As you pursue it, as you make progress, as you develop, then passion might make an appearance but whether it does or it doesn’t is irrelevant. Just do something you like – don’t make it this profound, all-consuming and intense high-stakes pursuit.
In fact, many of the gurus who advocate following your passion did not follow their own advice. They simply found something that piqued their curiosity, maybe made them think, “There’s something here, I’m not sure what, but it’s interesting…”
If you just lived your life letting your interests and likes guide your decisions, you won’t go far wrong.
We’re not the only ones who believe passion is overrated. Here’s Scott Adams of Dilbert fame with his take on the P-word.