Is Following Your Passion Beneficial for Your Work?
Many of us keep talking about finding a dream job, but does such thing really exist? We often hear people around us complaining about work they do “it’s not mine”, but how to understand “what’s yours”? Mark Manson, author, thinker and a life enthusiast, argues that a search for an ideal is a useless task. Most likely you have already found it. You simply ignore it and lower its priority because it doesn’t bring profit, it is not prestigious etc.
So, what defines your professional success and the quality of your work? Is it following your passion or the amount of time you dedicate to it? It is highly unlikely that you’ll waste time doing things you absolutely hate. I always remember a phrase “do what you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life”. Of course it’s true. If one finds a most satisfying and fulfilling occupation in life that brings income and gives a chance to live according to one’s ideals and dreams- it’s perfect. But it doesn’t happen a lot. Most of us have dreams and passions, but they are far from our daily lives. It’s like you’ve always wanted to become an actor or a ballet dancer or an interior designer…however life is not giving you a chance to do any of these…even if it does it may be not what you’ve expected. Very few of us get to the top in such jobs.
Besides, humans tend to evolve and change worldview as they grow older. How many of us wanted to be cosmonauts or batmen when they were young? One never knows what tomorrow may bring. Why limit yourself to one passion? It may easily turn into an obsession and make you very unhappy over time, or it may prevent you from adapting to new things and discovering other things you adore. Life coaches warn that obsessive pursuit of a narrow interest may eventually prevent the fulfilment and stop us from enjoying it.
Passions are dangerous.
They influence you so much you can forget about who you are. Passions are like pleasures — they are temporary. They have little to do with happiness. They come and go. The most passionate feelings may vanish after a short period of time. Do you really want such uncertain thing define your life-time occupation? What if you train for a job which is your passion and then it passes and you don’t know what to do with your life anymore?
From what I know the happiest people are those who managed to balance their passion and pragmatism.
A friend of mine is passionate about laughter and fun — she tried many things and now she is a PA of a clown. She laughs and has fun and travels the world, but also she gets a good salary.
It’s much safer to be passionate about small things. It gives you more flexibility to adjust your life to your passion and still get paid. If it doesn’t work out you can always try and turn your passion into a hobby. I‘ve met a successful bridge engineer who was passionate about ballroom dancing. It was good for him and the rest of this world that he chose to be an engineer. He wasn’t passionate about building bridges, but he did it very well.
You can be passionate about abstract things. For example, light — like French impressionists — and paint, become a photographer or an interior designer, or an electrician — tons of things to choose from!
Some people think that work is their passion — it brings good results in most cases. They work all the time and never stop. Even when they make a gazillion of money, it is not what they care about. Great for careers — disastrous for personal life. Remember Steve Jobs who slept at work?
Money is a passion for many, however examples show us when you become passionate about money you can’t really enjoy it — you either save and have a lot (but never spend) or you waste it as soon as you get it, and desire more… Passion for money is disastrous for most unless you work as an accountant or a banker or literary make money at the mint.
How about a passion for time?
You can become a philosopher, or a horologist and make fantastic clock pieces, or you can work in IT and write time-tracking software and really care about timesheets, all kinds of time reports, overtime issues and really help people make the most of their time.
Most importantly, you should be passionate about life. This is something that will allow you to follow your passion in the long run. Susanna Halonen (life coach and author) believes, that living your whole life with passion leads to a whole newfound sense of freedom, energy and fulfilment because you allow yourself to create positive, meaningful connections to everything you do.
If work inevitably takes a significant portion of our lives, why not try and make a meaningful and positive connection to it? In this case following your passion will make you great at work.
To sum up, l’d like to quote Mark Manson’s clear-cut statement:
“If you have to look for what you’re passionate about, then you’re probably not passionate about it at all”. Stop looking, do the work you know and good at. Passion will follow.