Passion is a word that has come up in a number of conversations I’ve had recently. Referred to by some of my friends as the ‘p-word’. It has surprised me how many people detest the word, how many people think it’s over used and how many people think it can actually be a barrier to success.
It’s often said that you should do something you love. If you don’t love what you do, keep looking. As summarised by Steve Jobs –
“You’ve got to find what you love. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
The conversations I’ve had, have centred on what exactly should you have passion for? And, at what point do you just need to go for something, even if it isn’t your biggest passion?
If you’d asked me a week ago what I thought on this. I probably would have produced some words similar to those from Jobs. If you ask me now, I’ll say the same, but I’ll add a bit more. Here’s what I’ll add:
“But remember, you have to keep looking! Not sitting around waiting”
You may know what you’re passionate about. You may not have a clue. You might think you know, but when you start exploring, you discover new passions.
You have to learn through doing and trying to discover what you enjoy. We aren’t born knowing what makes us happy. We learn that through experiences.
A lot of people will try and narrow or focus their search for work at a very young age to try and fit their passions. Yet, those passions could be different in 10, 20 or 30 years. You’re passions could lie in a field you don’t know exists. Meaning, trying different areas and getting a wide variety of experiences is important. It gives you the first-hand experience to make informed decisions.
If you sit around and wait for your dream job to come around, you will always be waiting. You have to go and look – by doing and trying!
“Once you believe you know what you’re passionate about, think about the actual context where it applies”
This is a particularly important one.
Why create a startup in the education industry if you aren’t passionate about education? Why want to invent a service that makes washing up obsolete if you aren’t passionate about having clean plates?
Because the passion can lie in the process!
Your passion may be to create a game changing product. Or you might love living a hustler’s life. The journey may be your enjoyment, no matter the direction that journey follows. If your passion is for the path, then you need to take any road you can onto that path.
What does this mean? If you’re passionate about creating art. Maybe there’s little difference to you between oil painting and graphic design. If you’re passionate about animals, maybe you’d enjoy being a vet just as much as being a zoo keeper.
I have always been a strong believer that you should always do things you enjoy. I also really like the word passion. It’s a word I use and is something I look for in others. Passion can be one of the most powerful drivers and a huge key to success. However, I can completely see how it can be a hindrance. Don’t let the thought “I’m not passionate about X and so I shouldn’t partake in Y because it incorporates X” stop you. Y could be the path that most suits you!
If you want to read more around the debate of passion, check out this (better) blog – Do you have to love what you do?