The Race for work

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Why you’ll never find your passion? [1/2]

The idea of adding passion to our work is so sticky that almost everyone would have heard about it at least once in our life.  We often hear from experts saying, ‘find your passion and you don’t need to work hard for the rest of your life’.

Did you find your passion at your work?

How many people, you know, claim that they found their passion and manage to earn their living out of their passionate work?

Yes, it’s intuitive that when we are passionate about something, we get self-driven and motivated to contribute our best efforts for it.  When we work on our passionate things, we feel less tired, can easily ignore distractions and enjoy sustained motivation levels for long hours.

But did anyone tell you how to find your passion?  I am sure that all those methodical approaches where you first identify your skills, interests, strengths and then fill up venn diagrams and matrices would never reveal your passion.  Even if they did, you will find tough time turning that passion into income.

So what we do instead?  We wait for passion to strike our mind someday.  For most of us, passion is a magical revelation that we expect to know one day naturally.  We look into the sky spreading our arms and wait, almost eternally, for our passion to fall on us.

Most people spend their college life to mid-career life in search of their passion.  By late thirties or early forties, people are forced to settle for what they do.  While the motivation to find passion dwindles, people get increasingly disappointed about their career.

Why you’ll never find your passion?

Historically people used to believe in hard work to become successful.  Obviously that is not a nice advice to hear and practice.  Considering passion as a success trigger is, in fact, a recent phenomenon that took prominence in the late 20th century.  Bestselling books like ‘What Color is Your Parachute’ promoted the concept of passion and put it in front of everything on the path to success.  Passion for career success was caught immediate attention of the world and quickly became popular in 1980’s.

The idea of passion fuelling career success has been promoted as a magic bullet because it gives instant gratification for people who do not otherwise believe in themselves or judge themselves as incapable of achieving their goals.

Achieving any goal requires a systematic approach in thinking, generating ideas, visualizing the end and putting the ideas into action.  That’s a long process and nobody is interested in following it.

You cannot find your passion by thinking about it.  Clarity comes from engaging yourself with the work that you want to know whether you are passionate about, not from just thinking about it.  Unless you work on something and become good at doing it, you don’t really know if you like it or not, let alone being passionate about it.

Passion is the by-product of your mastery over sustained work.  Most probably you like your job, if you work on it, become skilled at it and eventually get recognized and rewarded in the society.  It does not work other way around.

The idea of passion fuelling high performance is almost undeniable.  But the way we try to find is imperfect.  Nobody wants to wait for decades of their valuable career life in search of passion.

There must be an alternative way to this eternal search.  In my search for passion, I did a few experiments that changed the way I look at this problem.  I must admit that the first revelation for me is TO DO SOMETHING about this problem, instead of waiting for it to strike my mind someday.

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