Is Following Your Passion Bad Advice?


Let me get right to the heart of this article with a poignant quote from author Joshua Ferris.

“The main questions of everyday life are too enormous to answer in any definitive sense.”

I know…a definitive answer would have been cool. We’re always looking for the one liner that can impact and potentially change our lives. Sometimes, people nail it! “You are what you think.” Damn hard to argue with that in my opinion, but I’m sure someone out there would, and that’s the greater point.

Words like perspective and subjective come into serious play here. People’s perspective on this question based on their personal experience could easily support opposing views. For myself, I followed my passion and made a life-long career of it. But I personally know others that had the same intent and ended up taking another path.

I need to be very clear with this next statement. Those people didn’t fail in my eyes – far from it. There are no winners or losers here, just journeys that ended up being played out on a different stage. The only true bottom line here is whether those journeys were consciously and religiously “played out,” or did they end up being wishful thinking. Was there a clarity of intent, or were you merely concerned with the outcome? And there is the subjectivity I’m referring to.

I will answer this question rather than being Mr. Safe, conspicuously looking to try to please everyone. I don’t believe its bad advice, but I’m in agreement with Joshua Ferris on this – I’d find it difficult to label it as definitive advice. I think the statement “follow your passion” is a great place to begin. As I stated, my own experience tells me it’s a valid quest. But I’d feel compelled to immediately follow that advice with what I’ve learned to be equally good advice, that being; follow what you have a serious interest in. These declarations differ, but the semantics in these statements are not what’s important here. What’s important is your willingness to commit to following a path that personally means something to you, in some respect. Anything but blind conformity thank you very much.

Circumstances can change, your perceived calling (in your eyes) can shift, passion’s can be discovered or reborn, and life experiences many times have the power to reset your entire internal drive. All of that being said, the only stipulation that’s required is an unrelenting commitment to be the best of who you are, whatever the challenge. And if it does personally mean something to you, being the best of who you are is a hell of a lot easier – trust me.

Try this out. Make a list of your perceived passions (and by the way, you may not know what they are yet) and follow that with a list of what you have a serious interest in. Check out both of those lists and see where it takes you…a revelation could be in the making.

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Spear
    6 years ago

    too true – follow your passions be they career, hobby or, most importantly, the people in your life you feel the most passionate toward….love is at the bottom of all true success..

  2. Bill Conklin
    6 years ago

    Follow your passion, but be ready for a wild and rocky ride. I am one of those that did just that and while I will be the first to say that I am extremely proud of my experience, I also know that this is not for everyone. Passion does not always follow the money trail or easy street and if you have the strength in you to hang on through the good and bad situations, you will almost certainly end up at a destination that is unlike anything you could have possibly imagined or probably even desired. In the end though, it can be a very fulfilling outcome and a great source of pride…and most likely more passion.

  3. John L
    6 years ago

    I think that if more people not only did but could follow their passion they would find a greatly rewarding experience in the end. It is not without its trouble and difficulties but what isn’t? The rewards that I have gathered after many years of teaching Martial Arts never came in the form of dollars adn weealth but in peoples success and their enrichment. I can’t say these rewards came necessarily from my great teaching but more from my commitment of doing something I truely loved and being able to share not only the physical moves but also the emotion and feelings involved. Following this passion led me into other areas that I still am involved with today. There is no completely safe life or existance but if you can follow your passion you might be surprised what rewards might come from it.

  4. George Mitchell
    6 years ago

    Jake is someone who’s followed his passion and has achieved many of his goals.
    He’s now committed to helping others do the same and have fulfilling lives.

    Marsha Sinetar wrote the book “Do what you love, the money will follow”.
    Not necessarily, but regardless, you’ll be happy anyway.

    Whatever you decide, be the best you can be at it.

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"I was continually intrigued while reading this book."
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