Is “Follow Your Passion” Good Advice?

The idea that there is one dream job out there for everyone is similar to saying that there’s only one perfect person in the world to fall in love with.  Not only does that create unnecessary pressure, but it also prevents people from experiencing life with an open mind.  

While we’re all suckers for motivational speeches just like we are for those romantic comedies that we binge every weekend, is telling someone to “follow your passion” or “find your why” really the best advice?

Advising someone to follow his or her why is a heavy and convoluted ask.  It’s as if there is already an inherent passion rooted in their blood.  What happens if we don’t have a why or a passion?  Does that mean we’re failures?  Of course not.  

Most people don’t have an overarching passion that pilots their career.  Advising someone to follow their passion makes it sound so simple – as if there’s a step-by-step process to follow.  These theories plague us with the misbelief that until we find this passion, we won’t truly be fulfilled.  Even if there was one perfect job out there, it would be counterproductive to spend every day waiting until that awakening moment happens. 

More often than not, people have a unique combination of strengths and skills that can be used in a variety of areas.  It may be a better idea to hone in these strengths and look for job opportunities that showcase them.  

Life is meant to be experienced through trial and error.  We should try things that interest us and get us excited.  We cannot wait for purpose to show up in our lives – we have to create it.  That’s why I am a firm believer that passions are not necessarily found, but developed over time through life experiences.  Life is a continuous journey of self-discovery and story creation. 

Be patient and enjoy the ride!

-Brad Bald

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