The Obsession With Passion

Passion, how important is it really? Finding your passion, what does that really mean?

Don’t get me wrong. Passion is important, but what happens when the passion dissipates?

We are all told growing up that finding our passion is the number one most important aspect when looking for a career and while that might be true… how important is it really and how does it impact our lives? The expectation for most of us is that if we work hard enough we’ll find our dream job and just like the movies, we’ll love every single second of it. However, this is reality and reality isn’t all that nice. Only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs today as opposed to the 61% recorded back in 1987. Roughly 64% of workers under 25 say they are unhappy in their current jobs because they’re stuck on the issue of “not doing their dream job”.  [1]

Let’s say you do end up getting your dream job. In every job you’re going to be faced with multiple problems, problems that you’re supposed to know how to solve. This isn’t high school anymore; you can’t just skip the question and maybe come back to it later. It’s your job to solve it and if you can’t, you’re in big trouble. These unsolvable moments are where most people tend to lose their passion. Once they lose the beginning spark that they once had, they start to question what they’re doing.

 

So what should we do when this occurs? Well, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan have created a model called Self-Determination Theory [2]where three qualities are needed in order to be satisfied with one’s work. They are:

 

  • Autonomy: having the freedom and control over how you fill your time.
  • Competence: mastering useful things.
  • Relatedness: the feeling of connection with others.

Instead of trying to get the perfect match, choose something you’re interested in and strive to excel at it. Your love for the subject will grow with your sense of autonomy and competence. This could apply to choosing college majors or accepting a job offer.[2]

 

It seems that we are taught that finding your passion is one of the most important aspects of life. However, we forget that perseverance and the willingness to undergo challenges is just as important. Passion is a starting point, it pushes people to want to explore. However, when your legs are sore and your arms are tired, it’s perseverance and drive that really push you to the finish line.

When looking for that so called “dream” try to find a mixture of passion and perseverance, it’ll take you the extra mile. When the passion dissipates try to remember what started the fire in the first place and where you want to go. Passion comes and goes but getting the mindset of pushing oneself to strive and do the very best is something we can never lose.

 

[1] http://calnewport.com/blog/2010/10/16/the-passion-trap-how-the-search-for-your-lifes-work-is-making-your-working-life-miserable/

[2] http://calnewport.com/blog/2010/01/23/beyond-passion-the-science-of-loving-what-you-do/

 

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