Follow Your Passion is bad advice. It assumes that you already have a passion and are aware of it. When people say you should focus on something, the return question should be “What?” Many of us spend our lives trying to find our purpose, passion, calling, etc.
But what I’ve learnt is that people are passionate about what they’re good at. How do you get good at something? Practice. Many years of practice. The more you do it, the better you become at it, the more reward you get from it.
You start playing golf at age two, you become world champion. You start playing tennis at age three, you may become grand slam winner. You start singing at age five, you become King of Pop. Of course, this rule is not absolute because there are other factors that need to be in play such as culture, parenting, environment, paradigm shifts. And, of course, with each practice you should actually improve. But the theory of 10,000 hours is largely true.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the 10,000 hour rule in Outliers. Cal Newport wrote about skills, experience, and practice in So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Seth Godin wrote about quitting in The Dip. Illustrations to prove their theories surround us, perhaps even in you.
Anyway, Follow Your Passion is not a fair advice. It’s like people telling you to focus and never quit. Focus on what? That’s like saying you should focus on where you found yourself. At least, everyone needs the chance to make mistakes on the way to discovering what they’re physiologically and mentally built to do.
What people should do is first identify what they’re good at, what they can continue to improve at, and can become the best at. Then they should build their life around that thing. Not build a life first, and then start looking for what to do with that life.
If you build your life around your your skills and passion, the vocation will bring harmony because you won’t be trying to maintain a surgeon’s lifestyle, for instance, on a bricklayer’s income. Think about that for a minute.
Unfortunately, schools rarely teach this harmony principle and many parents don’t even know it. Because they-the parents- themselves are still trying to figure stuff out.
Don’t follow your passion. Develop your passion. Be happy.
Choose life. I’m cheering for you.