Don’t Follow Your Passion!

I used to make a case for ‘follow your passion.’ Like many others, having watched Steve Jobs’ Commencement address supported my biases. I was hooked onto the ‘follow your passion’ train. It sounds a nice thing to tell other people. You’re lost in life? Just follow your passion. You hate your job? Just follow your passion. Your relationship sucks? Just follow your passion.

Now looking back, I realise ‘follow your passion’ is not the best life advice to give to anyone. My own life is evidence to that. The things I was passionate about in 2017 are not the things I was passionate about as a 16 year old or as a 3 year old. I thought for example that Economics was my passion. Then I thought Engineering was my passion. Then somebody said media was my passion, another person told me it seems I am passionate about starting things. My passions change at a rate that’s so fast for me to catch up.

Now if I had to give my younger self advice, it would be; “follow what you are great at and make it your vehicle of contribution to the world.” This is not the same thing as passion. There are things I am certainly great at, I don’t struggle at them. They come off too easily for me, some of them are talents, some of them are things I have practiced consistently and become a master at. That’s what I would tell the 13 year old version of me; “follow your contribution, forget about your passion.”