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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Why ‘Pursue Your Passion’ is Bad Advice

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American culture is inundated with the idea that finding our “passion” is key to happiness and success. But is it?

Staying the course only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction.- Mike Rowe

For example, I spent years trying to pinpoint my passion. I thought pursuing my passion was a key to fulfillment.

Then my passions would change. And I’d pursue something else.

A Light Bulb Moment

It was frustrating. Exhausting. Like trying to nail Jell-o to a tree. Then I realized something. Call it a “light bulb” moment a la Mike Rowe.

Like this.

Via Prager University:

As Rowe points out, just because you’re “passionate” about something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any good at it. Or can make a living at it.

Ringing Hollow

The reason “chasing my passion” can ring hollow, like grabbing a fistful of fog, is because it’s … like grabbing a fistful of fog. Fleeting. Ephemeral.

To be successful, you need to focus not just on your passion, but on what they’re good at. Your gifts.

Your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself. – Mike Rowe

Why? Because passions come and go. Gifts are permanent. Hard wired into your being and personality. Gifts may change or grow over time. But they don’t shift, fade, flicker or die like passions can and do.

What Are You Good At?

So instead of asking yourself what you’re passionate about, maybe it’s time to ask what your gifts are? Like:

  • What am I good at?
  • What skills and abilities come naturally?
  • What do I excel at?
  • What do I feel pumped about when I’m all in?

When people follow their passion, they miss out on all kinds of opportunities they never knew existed. – Mike Rowe

When I began pinpointing my God-given gifts and looking for opportunities to put them into practice, guess what? God opened up more opportunities to do just that. You know what else happened? Using my gifts and skills stoked my passions.

See how this works?

While passion is way too important to be without, it’s way too fickle to follow around. – Mike Rowe

Chase Something Else

Don’t neglect your passion. But don’t let it rule you, either.

Focus on developing your God-given gits and abilities. They were given to you for a purpose that’s bigger than you. And much greater – and more fun and fulfilling – than passion alone.

Never follow your passion. But always bring it with you. – Mike Rowe

Do you agree with Mike? Why or why not?

What skills are you honing today?

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