“Follow Your Passion” is Dangerous Advice

“Follow your passion” . . . you’ve likely heard it and read it countless times, from the likes of whoever made a speech at your graduation, a range self help experts or multi millionaires when they’re trying to dispense life advice. Except it’s not always the best advice, and can often be very dangerous advice. There are practical arguments to be made against “follow your passion”.

Passion, by its very definition describes something intense, bold and uncontrollable. Something intense is very often short lived and burns out.

This idea of telling young people to follow their passions is something we should perhaps be steering away from, due to the fact that many passions offer an incredibly narrow chance of success. Also, is the passion a deeply rooted, long term urge to do that, or is it a passing phase? The following should be considered:

– Are there employment opportunities in it?

– What are the chances of actually being a success?

– Do you actually have the necessary abilities and talents?

– Is this something you’ve had inside you for a long period of time, or is it a  relatively new interest?

If your passion is writing, your chances of being published and making good money from writing is extremely slim. An absurdly small percentage of manuscripts make it to publishing. If your passion is Roman history, how easy would it be to forge a long term career in this field, and where would opportunities come from? If your passion is singing, it’s an unfortunate truth that very few singers ultimately make it big.

Young people need to be given the freedom to experience as much as possible as they grow. Let them try new things, experience different activities and get involved in a range of subjects. However, it seems to me that it might make more sense for us to be saying to them instead of ‘follow your passion’, rather find something which holds opportunities, jobs and career prospects. In addition to this, is it something you’re good at, have a respect for and can find some rudimentary enjoyment doing?

Passion is overrated. You can be an enormous success in a field while only mildly enjoying it. It’s easy for millionaires to dispense of the advice of “follow your passion”. For many of them, following their passion early on was perhaps more a case of following wealth and riches, and once the first couple of millions were made, they could actually start enjoying it.

Having things you’re passionate about are important and often a requirement of a fulfilled life. However, often these passions need to exist as long term side projects and creative outlets.

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