The Bullshit Behind “follow your passion”

I have a confession to make… it’s something that I’ve alluded to in the past, maybe even said it in different words, but it’s time to come clean. My “dream job,” the thing I was most passionate about, the thing I built my life around… sucked in reality.

My goal in this article is to share my Story and relationship with “Passion Parades” and if you’re like me. How to fix it.

My story:
For ages, I kept hearing the advice: follow your passion. “When you do something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life.” Well Mr. Confucius I’m not so sure about that.

This follow your “passion parade” that everyone wants to be in drove me as crazy as an overly enthusiastic waitress who is just way too happy.

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I agonized over what the hell “finding my passion” meant… and how to go about doing that. I had always approached work as following opportunities and leveraging my strengths or growing my skills. I didn’t understand how passion should be incorporated into that. But I kept searching and finally “found my passion.” Or maybe, what my ideal job is.

So I listened to all these self help gurus like Tim Ferris and I became obsessed with Tony Robbins’ seminars and audio programs. He ended each one by saying, “Live with passion.” Or “write out your ideal day.”

I spent time figuring out what my ideal day looked like, listing out all of my skills, what I did and didn’t want in my future career, and so on. And all answers pointed to me being an expert at too many careers.

So I picked something that inspired me. Movies! Acting in Movies! That’s right. I wanted to be the star in these bad ass action packed movies that changed the way I approach everything.

 

For one: The Matrix. It allowed me to inherit “Mind over matter.”

Spider-Man. A geek introvert gets bit by a Spider, throws on a mask and becomes humorously sarcastic, ripped and funny.

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I inherited the belief that I needed to get ripped and become a champion of movement.

So what did I do?

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Yupp I got ripped. I also EARNED a degree in Acting at a very intense CONSERVATORY program. Northern Illinois University.

The degree gave me two wonderful things.

1. A large pool of knowledge of what I don’t like and what I do like. (Specifically working on my own terms and not giving up my voice as an artist to fit someone else’s vision.)
2. I don’t NEED Acting in my life to be happy like I thought I did.

Now, depending on when you’re reading this. I’m no longer pursuing acting as a way to make money or as a career choice. In school I discovered how to be a great actor. Upon graduation I discovered that it’s a huge “politicsparade.” And it’s about so much more than just being an actor that works hard on their craft.

Acting requires a huge Instagram following, twitter following and Facebook fans. People have to love your brand. My passion failed me.

And I felt lied to – I followed my passion, I created a plan to go to Acting school and become a master actor. Good enough right? No

Why am I telling you this? First, to let you know that if you’re feeling the same way, you’re definitely not alone. Sometimes your passions doesn’t pan out as a business or career choice. It’s not you, you’re not failing in some way, you’re not defective (like how I felt). Also, to let you know that passions doesn’t have to be forever things. And sometimes, when you build your career around your passion, it kills it. Taking breaks may be the best decision you’ve ever had.

Of course I keep pivoting to new paths and ideas, trying to find the intersection of my skills, my “passion,” and what people will pay me for. Or better yet, how I can build something that has a shorter shelf-life, but continues to move me forward on my path.
Oh, and that “passion stuff”… I’ve started to look at it as things I like doing. Not what gets me out of bed. Not what is an awesome hobby. But what problems I wouldn’t mind having.

Maybe follow your passion was the worst advice I’ve ever gotten – but I’ve learned that passion spurts can die, and don’t equate it to failure. And more important – for me, passion needs to stay in my side projects/hobbies. (Unless I’m ready to explore a new passion!).

Although I got a degree in Acting. My real degree is: “Self Growth and what makes people do the things they do.”

 

Seeking passion in a relationship leads to divorce. Passion in work leads to burnout. And pursuing passion in life leads to a general sense of meaninglessness.

If passion isn’t the answer, what the hell is the alternative?

First, we need to accept these fears.
Is boredom that horrible? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be bored and dispassionate? If you go through the initial discomfort, you’ll discover a sense of peace and contentment few people experience.

We avoid laziness, too. Hey, I’m not saying I don’t do this. But do you ever allow yourself to be lazy with no shame or guilt? If you’re committed to self-improvement, it’s not an easy task. Parents, teachers, and the entire self-improvement industry have shamed our lazy part. But it’s just a part of us. If you welcome laziness, it will re spark that passion. Maybe it’s best to keep it as a hobby instead a passion that you “associate” your entire personality around.

Our fear of meaninglessness is rooted in a reality that existential philosophers such as Mr. Friedrich Nietzsche articulated over a century ago.

 

To summarize: there is no grand universal meaning. You create your meaning. We all make it up.

Meaninglessness is only a problem if you perceive it to be one.

Let your Passion be your hobby. Once you transition it into a job and perceive it as the one thing you must be “amazing” at; that’s when you start hating it because it’s not going as well as you planned.

Comment below and let me know what passion you let get you down and how you’re re- lighting the fire inside you.

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