Why Follow Your Passion is a Bad Advice?
“Why Follow Your Passion is a Dangerous Advice”.
“Follow your passion”, is one of the most frequent pieces of advice that I get from various people. I like to think that, it is the first invented advice. Tiring of hearing this frequently, I took the responsibility to find the truth behind it.
In Cal Newport’s book “So Good They can’t Ignore You” he explains the passion hypothesis as “The key to occupational happiness is to first figure out what you are passionate about and then find a job that matches this passion".
It is common advice that find your passion and you don’t feel like you are working even for one day. But follow your passion might be terrible advice.
Newport quotes the example of Steve Jobs, in his initial years, he was a man without any passion. He dropped out of college after his first year, he remained on the campus sleeping on floors and finding free food from Hare Krishna temple beside the campus. He was confused in life and didn’t possess any passion or affection towards anything. After his travel to the Indian subcontinent, he seeks spiritual enlightenment from Hindu spiritualists.
He only showed interest in electronics when it promised him some quick bucks. Only after devoting an ample amount of time, he established a fondness towards it.
Passion is a rare commodity
Passion is developed when you are good at something already. If you stumble at something, then you cannot consider it as your passion. So passion comes from mastery and it needs good time invested to get developed. Another way we can look into it is that passion that coincides with your career is rare. A career also known as job, is something you do to pay your bills. An interesting study reveals that if you are doing something for more than 4.5 hours each day, the chances that you will end up hating it is pretty high. Cal Newport put together it as “Compelling careers often have complex origins that reject the simple idea that all you have to do is follow your passion”. Challenging jobs require hard work and a huge amount of time investment that even if you start it as a passion, doesn’t need to remain as a passion always. So passion doesn’t have much to offer when you select a job.
Passion takes time to get developed
Research shows that if you want to be good at something, the magic number of 10,000 hours needs to be invested by deliberate practice. The research conducted by Wrzesniewski states this as “The happiest and most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, rather those who have been around for a long amount of time to become good at what they do”. Developing passion and be a master in it requires large amounts of time, which everyone cannot guarantee.
Majority don’t know what is their passion.
Ask any adult, what is their passion, you are likely to get an answer as they don’t know or they are still figuring it out. On the other hand, ask anyone who is doing remarkable in their career, mostly you will get the answer their current career is their passion. This can be considered as evidence for the fact that mastery takes time and mastery leads to passion.
In his book, Cal Newport introduces what he calls “deliberate practice”. Deliberate practice is the strategy to acquire career capital, a capital based on career mastery, and he advice integrating it into our own working life. Most of the time deliberate practice is often the opposite of enjoyable. But when you stretch yourself with deliberate practice day after day, month after month, and year after year, the career capital will get compounded and like the falling dominos, time will work in your favor and you will be master of your art which can be quietly enjoyable.
Passion needs immense patience, enormous intent, and a colossal of hard work. So it’s not a bad idea to think twice before giving follow your passion advice to your near ones.