We all get stuck for a variety of reasons. Perhaps we lost our purpose or we’ve set the wrong goals.
However one thing that I find a lot of self improvement people say is to follow your own passions.
I can see why it works.
- Walt Disney was still an sketch artist long before Mickey Mouse was created in 1928. Even as a kid he was drawing.
- Bill Gates was a computer programmer in high school way before he built Microsoft. In high school he was frequently excused from classes to work on video games.
These individuals created massive empires that we still use to this day because these brilliant minds pursued a passion.
But as the days have gone by, the more that I think about how “follow your passion” isn’t enough. In fact, it can be pretty bad advice in certain situations.
Why Passion Isn’t Enough
Passion is a vague and open-ended word. Any person can have a number of passions.
When I was little I had a passion to be a teacher, or a toy inventor. I remember when I was little I used to imagine myself as one of those individuals.
Yeah I felt like I was the shit.
But eventually reality sunk in. I learned the hard way I was terrible at looking after kids (back when I thought a teacher taught only to children age 11 and under).
I also learned I wasn’t the greatest at drawing either, unless of course I copied designs from other things.
So what’s this got to do with passion?
Well I was passionate about those things but over time I lost interest. I learned that maybe these aren’t the right things for me.
Although I am a teacher in a sense that I write informative articles, I’m not a teacher in a school teaching a particular subject.
Passion at times may not be enough because we have multiple passions that change over time. We can lose interests from one set back, like my ambition to be a toy inventor.
And yes I’m sure some can argue that I needed to develop my skills. But clearly that didn’t happen. Part of it is for a reason I explain further down.
The other point I want to make is that passion is so vague that it can leave people unsure of what they need to do.
A Hollywood star isn’t made from simply getting to Hollywood and crossing their fingers they land a big part on their first try. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy and time and playing other roles before you get a shot at the bigger ones.
You also need to ask if your passion will pay the bills?
Are you willing to devote hours to developing this interest?
Do you have what it takes to work hard and go through days where you doubt yourself and have to deal with anxiety and more?
Answering these tough questions is only the beginning and it’s not basic advice as “follow your passions” can honestly get you through alone.
It takes some critical thought, after all, this is YOUR future.
I’m not saying you need to get a very high paying job.
What I am saying is you want to find something that no matter what, you are willing to do it.
“Follow your passions” simply doesn’t do that.
Instead, I think it’s smarter to look at something that’s stronger.
Look Back To Your Efforts Instead
That is to look back at what we have done in our lives so far. Much like what Mark Cuban has said.
How I started to get into self improvement was the fact I was really into myself. Yes, it was a passion. But a passion that I worked continuously on throughout my life.
Looking back at my history, I have gone through some interesting shit. It might not be as traumatic as overcoming abuse, rape, or growing in a generally shitty atmosphere, but what I went through was a battle of my own mind.
During that time, I didn’t develop my drawing skills. Nor was I someone to take a leadership role like I do now.
Instead I focused a lot on what was going on in my head. Trying to overcome my shyness. I chatted online with a variety of people. I also gave advice, shared my thoughts and was passionate and believed I was helping people.
Even as I was going through my own battles, I wanted to help people more than fixing myself.
That evolved into me taking steps to growing myself, putting myself in a leadership role. I’m still a supporter through and through, but I know now how I can lead people and grow people.
I knew this so well because of certain events in my life. From the jobs that I had and that I was interested in to me joining the Katimavik program in the late 2000s. These were key to growing me into who I am.
Efforts Over Passions
What I’m getting at is look back at your actions.
Even in times where you did nothing at all, that’s still significant.
Go back through your memories and draw out your actions. Everything that you did and didn’t do. Even the emotions that you felt.
Bring them all to the forefront and ask yourself:
What should I be doing next?
I can’t do that for you.
But what I can do is write about it and encourage you to do it.
That is what I aspire to do.
Always will, always have been.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
This post is part of an 3 month writing challenge that I’m committing myself to. Every day for 3 months, I’ll be writing articles with specific criteria in mind. You can learn all about my reasoning as well as what that criteria is right here. This is 55 of 91 of this series.
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