Over the course of our lives, we are often advised to follow our dreams and never give up. We’re told that everything will work out for the best if we follow our passion and work hard to achieve our goals. Well, the pessimist, the realist, and the optimist in me all have some serious issues with this overused advice.
You see, being passionate about something doesn’t mean you’re good at it. I thoroughly enjoy water skiing, but am I good enough to become a professional? Absolutely not. Sure, I could practice every day and probably improve, but that doesn’t mean I would ever get to the point where I’d be good enough.
Likewise, being good at something doesn’t mean you’re passionate enough about it to pursue it as a career. I have a passion for singing, and I’m arguably good at it. Yet, I have no desire to turn it into anything more than a hobby. I sing because I love it, not because I want to make money doing it.
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Following our passion might sound like a good idea, but it’s not always realistic. Not to mention, focusing all our time and energy on our “one true passion” could mean missing out on other opportunities. Isn’t it better to see what’s out there before we decide to limit ourselves? How do you know if you enjoy or dislike something if you’ve never even given it a thought?
I came across a video from PragerU where Mike Rowe, the guy from Dirty Jobs, talks about following opportunity rather than passion. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says (the video is clearly meant to encourage people to pursue trades), I think he makes several important and valid points. Check it out, and remember it the next time you have the opportunity to give someone life advice.