Is “Follow Your Passion” Bad Advice?
A recent study at Stanford explored the difference between finding your passion and developing your passion. The research examined how people may succeed or fail at developing their interests based on their beliefs and mindsets and why “finding” or “following” your passion may actually be unintentionally bad advice.
This research sparked an interesting conversation, especially among parents, about whether or not it’s good advice to tell your children to “follow their passion.”
In one article, billionaire Mark Cuban was quoted as saying, “Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort.”
The author of that same article also wrote that we (i.e. parents) need to be aware that turning a passion into a career can backfire and it might be better to encourage kids to think in terms of meaningful work, instead.
It might sound like this is completely against what we do at The Forte Factor but it actually supports our coaching style 100%.
Instead of guiding people down a path they believe to be a specific goal or direction for them, we first take the time to help them tune in, to better understand why that path or direction is a goal for them. Sometimes, they’ll discover that it was actually someone else’s goal and not their own. Sometimes they’ll gain clarity about what’s possible (right now) and may need to adjust expectations and goals.
The key to your greatest happiness, engagement and performance in both work and life is your ability to know yourself – what you are good at, passionate about and what matters to you – and to align yourself to the places that need what you do and like best. You need to choose this – on purpose.
It’s not enough to say you’re following your passion; you also need to understand yourself and your world to know how you can leverage your passions, as well as your strengths, talents and values, to provide what the world needs. It’s why we do the work we do with our clients to help each of them discover, develop and live their strengths, based on what their local and larger worlds need today.
Inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller said, “What is it on this planet that needs doing that I know something about that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?”
Take a moment to reflect on that quote. And the next time you hear someone say, “follow your passion,” realize a second part of their guiding advice was left unspoken. What they’re really saying is, “follow your passion. Define what the world needs that you can provide based on your own unique talents, strengths and passions, then go do it.”
Struggling to see where your passions and talents can lead you in today’s world? Contact us to learn how to pair your strengths, talents and passions with what your world needs today, and how to define your success based on that clarity.
Consider reading Committing to More Effective Communication