THE DARKER TRUTH ABOUT PASSION

Remember back when you were a kid? You would just do things. You never thought to yourself, “What are the relative merits of learning baseball versus football?” You built sand castles and played tag and asked silly questions and looked for bugs and dug up grass and pretended you were a sewer monster. Nobody told you to do it, you just did it. You were led merely by your curiosity and excitement. And the beautiful thing was, if you hated baseball, you just stopped playing it. There was no guilt involved. There was no arguing or debate. You either liked it, or you didn’t. And if you loved looking for bugs, you just did that. There was no second-level analysis of, “Well, is looking for bugs really what I should be doing with my time as a child? Nobody else wants to look for bugs, does that mean there’s something wrong with me? How will looking for bugs affect my future prospects?”

There was no bullshit. If you liked something, you just did it.

Telling someone to follow their passion can be disastrous,” says Cal Newport, author of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. “Passion is not something you follow,” Cal says. What I feel is that: Passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work to become valuable to the world. It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career. The reality is, that type of preexisting passion is rarely valuable.

Don’t believe me? Think about something you are passionate about. Or that you were passionate about when you were a teenager. Then apply this test: Will people pay you to do it?

“The myth of the virtuoso is a problem,” Newport says. “In the majority of cases, people didn’t think of someone who became a virtuoso as having unusual talent when they were very young.”

“The satisfaction of improving is deeply satisfying, as eons of craftspeople will attest,” Newport says. “The process of becoming really good at something valuable is a fulfilling and satisfying process in itself … and is the foundation for a great entrepreneurial career.”

“Don’t focus on the value your work offers you,” Newport says. “That’s the passion mindset. Instead focus on the value you produce through your work: how your actions are important, how you’re good at what you do, and how you’re connected to other people.”

That’s how you get to do what you love. Follow your passions, but make sure that what you’re passionate about is a field where you can also make a living.