Social media aficionados are polluting news feeds with inspirational images encouraging people to follow their passions. It's like high-school guidance counselors have taken over the Internet. The thesis of these 4,283 different memes is to do whatever makes you happy in your personal and professional life. Worry about the details (ie; money) later. It's hard not to agree with this statement, but this can be a dangerous proposition when implemented. Here are four reasons why:
1 - Carpe Diem - The only thing promised to you in life is the moment you are in right now. How much more exciting would today be if you knew it was your last day alive? If you must, fake the enthusiasm and celebrate life's little victories. Fist pump the amazing taco salad at lunch or throw a compliment to someone on their organizational skills. Instead of trying to find your passion try to find skills you are good at and ensure that your day consists of you using those skills the most. For example, if you like being around people then do jobs/tasks that get you in front of people instead of ones that keep you in front of a desk. There are great things happening all around you right now.
2 - The Bus Never Stops - Think if 'follow your passion' was your mantra for life. Assume your passions are comics, sports and ice cream. You could literally watch Spiderman and Batman play each other in ping pong while eating a box of Dilly Bars all day. Sure, you'd be happy, but when does the law of diminishing returns kick in? Would people you care about be happy with that? Their passions are different. Not to mention the dangers associated with being 'passionate' about potentially dangerous things -- drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, Wonder Years reruns etc. Even though passions are what complete us we do need a break from them to keep us hungry for them. Straddle the fine line between moderate and overdoses of your passions.
3 - Green-grass syndrome - You will always be second-guessing your choices if you aren't sure if you like what you are doing. Am I really passionate about this job? Should I have picked this restaurant or another? Am I committed to my spouse or just sort of? There is a huge difference between self-reflections and vanity. Looking in the mirror and self-reflecting is a good, but don't be vain about it. There are hundreds of opportunities in work and life that you'd like to take up, but ultimately you have to choose. If it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned, then don't worry because there is a good chance it won't be the last choice you make or one that you can't recover from. Lastly, someone who isn't able to make their own choices usually has to have choices made for them.
4 - The Mundane Is Magnificent - Passion is a state of mind. Remember, only you get to judge what you are or aren't passionate about. Tasks are boring, belittling or a 'waste of time' if that's how you judge them to be. Remember, just because you may work in an industry or job function you love doesn't mean every day is going to be great. Doctors feel great when they save a life, but what about on days they get buried in paperwork? Make those meaningless tasks more meaningful. Let's say you need to do some useless data entry at work today. Challenge yourself to get it done within a certain time or error-free. Try framing it in a different context to excite yourself. For example, if you don't do the work and just quit you may not get paid and not be able to feed your family....which you may be passionate about. In this context the mundane is actually feeding your passion? If something is feeding your passion shouldn't you enjoy it? Of course you should!
Passions keep us full of life and a life without things that interest or challenge us in different ways is certainly unfulfilled. Wake up and smell the roses, there is so much great stuff happening around you right now.
You're just too busy looking for it.
About the Author
Sajeel Qureshi is the VP of Operations at Computan, a digital marketing and software company. Computan serves as the digital department for numerous businesses throughout the globe ranging from start-ups to multinationals.
He has a degree in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and MBA from Eastern Illinois University. Sajeel plays tennis well enough to convince the untrained eye that he knows what he is doing and poor enough that the trained eye submits him to a drug test.