“Know your purpose. Follow your passion.” Everyone seems to be screaming out the same thing from their rooftops. But honestly, all this is a sham and I will tell you why!
Four years ago, a friend of mine, Ana, graduated from the University with absolutely no idea of what she wanted to do. She was anxious and sometimes, even depressed because all this made her feel inadequate. Did she not have any passion in life? Something she could call ‘hers’? Her doubts were valid because that is the kind of world we live in now.
The premeditated notion that we are supposed to know what we want to, for the rest of our lives is dangerously limiting. We have come to believe that success is equal to having a single purpose or passion and we are supposed to find it to the exclusion of everything else. If we do this, things will fall in just the right places and if we don’t, we are failures.
I mean, come on, 16-year-olds aren’t allowed to drink, have sex, or do anything that adults do, but making them pick something that’ll stay with them for life isn’t a big deal?
The result: Most of the engineers today aren’t even pursuing engineering. They have changed their major once, if not twice or thrice like I have. This compelling cultural imperative to choose your passion is stressful, if not anything else.
Most people don’t know what they are passionate about and they don’t know what they are supposed to do.
My friend Ana, was told to do three things to be able to find that focus back in her life.
- Identify her greatest interest
- Find careers that matched her interest
- Pursue those careers
I beg to differ.
Passion is not a three-step guide; it’s a feeling and feelings change.
Our passions change throughout our lives. Weren’t you passionate about being a cricketer or a fashion designer or an astronaut as a kid? Well, I was and then it changed. We have all been passionate about people, jobs, movies, bands and a large part of that has changed, hasn’t it?
We know this and yet we keep using passion as a yardstick to judge everything by, instead of seeing passion for what it really is. Passion is the spark you get when you rub two stones against each other. Sometimes we turn away perfectly good jobs because we are scared that we might pick the wrong one. We are scared of sailing on the wrong ship. We are scared of a wrong future. We are scared of being stuck. But what we fail to realise is that we are stuck right now.
One shouldn’t wait for life to happen, one should get up and live it.
I am a strong believer of following one’s passion but to sit and wait for it to happen to you, that never works. If your job simply means that you have a reason to get up in the morning, get dressed, go to a place where people depend on you to get work done and you get a pay cheque at the end of every month, that helps you sustain yourself and have fun with family and friends — this is as good a reason to take a job as any.
The idea that whatever you do must fall into a passion vertical is unrealistic.
We should simply believe that everything we are doing is taking us somewhere. Success fuels passion more than passion fuels success.
Passion is the full force of your attention that you give to anything that is in front of you. Whether it is cooking a meal for your family, doing the paperwork that has to be done, cleaning the glass window at home, or sitting and reading this article. (Congrats! You’re almost done.) The question you have to ask yourself is —
Am I giving the job at hand my 100% at this present moment?
If you’re doing this, you are sorted, man!
Not knowing what you want to do is okay.
The most fulfilling jobs are the ones that look different everyday. Those are the ones that hold the power to surprise you. So stop waiting for passion to come by and instead spend your time doing the things you love and solving your favourite problems. Passion resides in understanding what is that you have to give to the society. Instead of looking for a job you are passionate about, cultivate passion in the job, you already have, for your sanity and happiness.
Don’t follow your passion! Let your passion follow you and your choices.