‘Do Not’ Follow- “Follow Your Passion”


Some of you may have quite embarrassed by the title of this article. Many of you might have heard and felt true about this mantra- “follow your passion” even if you may not actually be following it.
Surprisingly it is a very blind solipsism.
Why I say so is that, if you really do some case studies of highly successful people around us, you find ‘following your passion’ is absolutely nonsense.

Following Your Passion and Following Your Heart

29 million people watched Steve Jobs’s commencement address on YouTube as of today’s YouTube statistics.
Thousands of people shared it and the speech itself became widely accepted among success enthusiasts around the globe
Towards the end of the speech Jobs said-
“And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Many people misinterpreted that Job was actually telling about following your passion.
But when you take a look into Job’s career during the founding of Apple there is no indication that Jobs had any particular passion for the technology entrepreneurship.
You may even get wondered when you realise that Job started out as a passionate young man about Zen Buddhism, western history and ‘dance’.
But he ended up in technology just to make some quick money!
But what Jobs said actually is true, following your heart and intuition is not that something simplistic in meaning as following your passion can be. Both are completely different in its depth of proper understanding.
Fortunately, in the biography “Becoming Steve Jobs” we can find the answer for above confusion.
In a very beautiful paragraph, the authors elaborates the connection he had with passion and his work life-

“Early in Job’s career, intuition had meant a shuttered confidence in the inventions of his own brain. There was a stubborn refusal to consider the thoughts of others. By 2005 intuition had come to mean a sense of what to do that grew out of entertaining a world possibilities. He was confident enough now to listen to his team as well as his own thoughts and to acknowledge the nature of the world around him “

What it means is you don’t actually need to have any “true calling from the heavens” to get started out on anything. What Jobs was suggesting is that your expertise on anything you work on develops over time.
If you are actually able to continue on your work and not falling back on old conventions and integrating your maturing intentions with the realities of the world and steer towards something that leaves a legacy behind.
Simply you don’t have to be passionate about programming to become a programmer.
You don’t have to be passionate about business to become a great entrepreneur.
You don’t have to be passionate about anything to become something on that particular thing.

Reasons Why Following Your Passion is a Bad Advise

1.Most people don’t know what they are passionate about

For most of the young people who are starting out their career, they are actually unable to figure it out what they are passionate about. They don’t have any pre-existing intuition for anything in particular to be passionate about. For them, following your passion is utterly meaningless.

2.Passion develops over time with mastery and relationship

If someone want to become passionate about something in the long run he needs to have success and mastery over it. There are only few thing like mastery and relationship which make someone to love their work.
Also, we don’t have any evidence yet that matching our job with any pre-existing interest make us fall in love with it!

The Only Tool to Develop Mastery and Relationship

Deliberate Practice

It is , was, and will be the only secret for anyone around in this world to become a good at anything.
You need to practice with that particular thing which you want to become passionate about.
Don’t miss the adjective here, “deliberate”.
Why it has to be deliberate? Simply because you don’t have any passion for it right now.
Take the example of you want to become a programmer. The only way you can become good at programming is you need program more. If you want to become a successful body builder you need to take your reps and routines deliberately at a consistent basis.
As you battle with whatever you are working upon for a long period of time, deliberately with good focus and commitment, there is no doubt that you become very much passionate about it. Just like Steve Jobs developed passion for the success of Apple.
As Jobs says somewhere in that speech “like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

**For more related ideas about developing passion I really recommend you to read The Stanford Press Release
For deeper understanding about everything discussed here, read So Good They Can’t Ignore You

(Photo by Bruce Mars)