I have been teaching high school Seniors and college students for a number of years now. Normally when you ask them what they want to do after college they respond with comments having to do with how much money they want to make. I have often tried to dissuade them from focusing on the money and follow a passion. Many of them don’t know what their passion is.
Recently I started thinking about the whole “passion” thing. What is it, really?
My initial Google search responded with two definitions:
- Strong and barely controllable emotion.
- The suffering and death of Jesus.
So, let’s leave the latter one out of this conversation. We want 18-23 year olds to have a strong and barely controllable emotion about SOMETHING. Sure, they might love music or acting or sports and believe that they will be the next great superstar, and hopefully they will. But what about the ones who are searching, how do we help them find their passion?
Next I Googled, “find your passion” and I got many suggestions:
- Revisit your childhood
- Make a creativity board
- Make a list of people who are where you want to be
After some more in depth readings, I consistently came across the name Dr. Cal Newport of Georgetown University and his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.
Newport talks about cultivating rather than following your passion. I like this idea and I think it is something that can help students to better understand the “what’s next” of their life after college.
“ “Follow” implies that you discover the passion in advance then go match it to a job. At which point, you’re done.
“Cultivate” implies that you work toward building passion for your job.” (Newport)
Newport’s ideas are smart and simple. Cultivating a passion requires that you approach your work like a craftsman. Honing your abilities and becoming the best you can be at whatever job you choose. When you are great at something, you fall in love, where there is love, there is passion.
So, whether you are an accountant, artist, teacher or grocery store clerk, if you pour your energy into being the best you can be, you will find a passion. If you cannot find the caring or energy to do this, perhaps you might be in the wrong job? I see far too many people working this way. People just getting the workday over with. If only they would take the time to be the best clerk, teacher, accountant they can be, they might just find some passion.
And, can’t we all use a little more passion in our lives???
I would love to know your thoughts. Please share here or visit my website: MCATshare.com
Millburn, J. ‘Follow Your Passion’ is Crappy Advice. Retrieved from: http://www.theminimalists.com/cal/