SELF – Why Following Your Passion Does Not Make Sense

Has anyone ever told you to find and follow your passion in life? Are you convinced that by following your passion you’ll land your dream job and life, and eventually be wildly happy? If anything, running after a passion is certainly disruptive, but not in a good way. In fact, it gets you panicking, “What is my passion?, What is that one big thing I am meant to accomplish in this world?” - you end up questioning yourself over and over again, yet find yourself stuck, running after “the thing” that you wish to claim as your life passion. If you are nodding your head already, let me tell you about some uncalculated truths behind following a passion before you glorify it.


As late teens or young adults, we got so excited about being able to study a course that interested us. As adults, we get excited about another field that had nothing to do with what we studied. Truth is, as human beings, we are in constant evolution and progression – in a nutshell, we change, like our tastes do. When I finished high school and was looking at colleges, I was hesitating between becoming an English teacher or a journalist – now, I’m a freelance writer and working in digital in the fashion industry. What a difference 5 years can make! Life is uncertain yet full of opportunities and we call this the beauty of living. Only things that move, change and evolve can have the power to make you happy. Imagine dating someone. Would you like to stay in the status of ‘flirting’ for 15 years? Pretty much everything is the same in life - you experience things, then learn and you eventually get equipped, which naturally change your interests and strengths. Given that, it is impossible to narrow down your whole existence purpose into one thing, aka passion, to last forever based on the initial decision-making state you were in.


Society is constantly telling us that we have to know where we’re going and what our next move is. However, the things that you enjoyed yesterday may not be the same things that make you excited tomorrow. In the total opposite case, you may as well enjoy many things at the same time. In that case, passion actually becomes limiting. When you can’t identify the most important thing of your life, you remain unfulfilled, always in constant search of something that you don’t even know what exactly. Despite society’s norms, you should have the ability to stick to your changing interests and strengths; meaning following your true potential rather than a passion. More dramatically, just because you love gardening over the weekend does not necessarily mean you should dedicate your whole life to be a professional gardener while you are good at math and analytics. The key point here is to distinguish what you are really good at from what you just enjoy doing.


You may know that old saying claiming if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life - which is beyond delusional.There is no job in the world that can offer 100% guaranteed happiness every day with no issues at all. But it is 100% guaranteed that following your passion will have you facing challenges, just like in any other job. The foolish expectation here would be by moving your hobby to a money making venture, you hope to have the same feelings for your passion. Truth is, no matter how much others show you or not, we all have days that are good, bad and terrible at work. This changes our motivation day by day, no matter how much passionate you are. Nothing suddenly falls into place because there is no magical formula for success regardless of passion level. So there is no use of glorifying ‘passionate calling’ as a one way ticket to happiness forever. Because it is not.


If you’re not feeling what you are doing right now – stop. Life is too short to be hesitant or to follow some gurus’ advice because they claim you should have one single gem in you. It’s ok to have a two-page résumé with many odd jobs, at least you’re trying to experience different aspects of professional life, instead of being bored where you are. Because your true gem is being yourself. There are many people who do jobs that don’t necessarily excite them but they are so brilliant at, just through their own personal drive and motivation, that we envy them. They simply do what they are good at. What makes you happy may not be what makes you passionate, and that’s ok too, if you excel at something, it’s rewarding. That doesn’t mean you should not follow a passion, you can. But keep in mind it will not taste as sweet as you may have hoped just because it is in the privileged category in your life. You will have to work as hard as any job.


Next time somebody advises you to find and follow a passion, choose to follow what you are good at and master it to enjoy the feeling of achieving something, hence the fulfilling life coming along. It’s this idyllic perception of how careers should be that traps you in a never-ending search and makes you miss opportunities. Through trial and error, you find something that you’re good at and/or passionate about. It may not be forever, because the job market always fluctuates – people change, businesses change, and no role is eternal. So stop beating yourself up about finding a passion, instead get discovering what you are good at doing which can turn to as a passion!


By Emma Philo - Editor at She Is Rebel & Melis Sawerschel - Founder at She Is Rebel


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