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A lot of people like to talk big on why you should follow your passion and I think that’s one of the biggest scam ever. Sisi Yemmie asked a question on Twitter one time:

Millennial debate: What’s more important in your 20s/early 30s – following your PASSION or following what PAYS?— SisiYėmmié.com 💛 (@Sisi_Yemmie) February 11, 2019


And I responded with:

Unpopular opinion: this “follow your passion” thing is a scam. I’ll explain below😊— -,’Mιѕтreѕѕ A’,- (@LipglossMAFFIA) February 12, 2019


Why is it an unpopular opinion? Because that’s what all your favourite motivation speakers like to repeat. I once read somewhere that following your passion gives you a sense of purpose.

It’s appealing because it’s both simple and daring. It tells you that you have a calling, and if you can discover it and muster the courage to follow it, your working life will be fantastic. A big, bold move that changes everything: this is a powerful storyline. Cool right?

The problem is that we don’t have much evidence that this is how passion works. “Follow your passion” assumes: a) you have preexisting passion, and b) if you match this passion to your job, then you’ll enjoy that job.

When I studied the issue, it was more complex. Most people don’t have preexisting passions. And research on workplace satisfaction tells that people like their jobs for more nuanced reasons than simply they match some innate interests.

Another “Follow Your Passion” Scam

The biggest issue I always run into either the “follow your passion” thingy is semantic. When I say, “don’t follow your passion,” some people get upset because they think I am saying, “don’t follow the goal of being passionate about your work.” But I’m not saying this.

Passion is great. I just don’t see a lot of evidence that passion is something existing naturally, waiting to be discovered. It takes hard work and planning to develop.

Another issue here is that we rarely talk about what true passion feels like. The sensation of excitement about a particular idea is often a different sensation than the type of deep passion that drives people into a fulfilling career. Excitement comes and goes.

True passion arises after you’ve put in the long hours to really become a craftsman in your field and can then leverage this value to really have an impact, to gain autonomy and respect, to control your occupational destiny..

Here’s my solution: there is no special passion waiting for you to discover. Passion is something that is cultivated. It can be cultivated in many, many different fields.

Follow your passion

Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to say, “I don’t know what my passion is.” What does make sense is to say, “I haven’t yet cultivated a passion, I should really focus down on a small number of things and start this process.”

I hope I have been able to inspire you. Go forth and spread the Good News. Thanks for coming to my TED TALK.

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