“Your time on earth is limited. Follow your passion and that’s the only way to put a dent in this universe”.
Great career advice, isn’t it?
This is a common platitude which you would have heard from motivational speakers and fallen in awe of their purposeful outlook towards life. I am sure it has caused many people to join the “I QUIT because I have a dream” bandwagon.
If a purposeful life is a reward one only gets by following one’s passion then who wouldn’t want to follow it. Hey, sign me up too. Because let’s face it, we are engineered to believe that there is a job or something out there which is going to make us happy forever. A powerful and seductive thought.
I wish life worked like that. I wish careers worked like that. I so wish there was a job somewhere that completes us. And, once we stumble upon that magical job — our days become enviable. Full of hope and happiness.
Sadly, it doesn’t work like that.
No job on this planet dishes out happiness in equal proportions every day, no matter how much passion you have for it. There would be days when you will be highly motivated and energetic — like someone had given you wings to fly. And then there would be days where you will sulk yourself to death.
But, the passion mindset makes us a believer in the binary logic-
Passion = Success and Happiness
Lack of Passion = Worthless life
I’m not even sure if passion leads to success or success leads to passion. I know there are a few people in music, sports, and science who tasted success because of their passion. A lucky minority, who always knew what they wanted to do.
But, most of us, develop a passion by accident — there, I said it.
Even most of the successful professionals that I know about or even famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs started loving what they do once they heard their inner voice screaming that they could be good at it. You see, they weren’t born with a tattoo on their head claiming a particular job was meant for them.
And, it’s the story of all of our lives as well — we develop a passion for a job when it starts challenging us. To grow. To become better. And in that growth and zeal to become better, we find our successes, happiness, and passion, eventually.
I hope you don’t misconstrue that I’m against being passionate. In fact, I believe passion is the fuel to light up your fire. But, don’t waste your time trying to find only that.
Instead, create a discipline in your schedule and have relentless focus in whatever you do. Our life would be purposeful if we follow the Kaizen approach and try to get better every day in our craft. Albert Einstein said that compounding is “the greatest mathematical discovery of all time.” So each day, just focus on getting better. Even if it’s merely 1% increment.
Passion alone is overrated. Don’t fall for it. If you do, I pray to God that you nurture it with a great deal of discipline. That’s the key to everlasting happiness. And, that’s the only key to greatness.
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