Passion develops from doing something well—from gaining expertise. This is usually confused with doing something well because one has a passion for it. In my own experience as a career consultant, most people I met who had a passion for what they did had no idea when they began—their joy developed by staying with something long enough to gain satisfaction from their expertise. Many young people today are led to believe that with passion, work is unnecessary!
I am a graduating college student, and all my life, I have already been doing the growth mindset without even knowing what it was—I’m an engineering major who has several years of ballet experience, and recently decided to join marketing competitions. Before, I was really passionate about health, but working for an environmental firm made me love the environment too.
Now, I am just months away from my graduation, and I still don’t know where I should be going. Should I go to an engineering firm? Or try my hand at a marketing stint? Or do I help the environment? The truth is, by going through different experiences, I have developed many things that I am passionate about, and now, I do not know which to prioritize. It is like being torn between two lovers. My second problem is this: as the saying goes, Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Let’s say I do pick a track that I want to pursue. My problem would be that many people applying for that job would be more specialized than me since they have devoted much of their time to developing the skills needed for that track.
I appreciate and agree with the conclusion of this study. When I graduated from high school I had no idea what my “passion” was. I followed my heart and majored in American Studies. I developed a love for documentary photography but didn’t like the idea of working on my own, so I tried documentary filmmaking. Once working in this field, I realized that finding a family life in that type of environment would be difficult and I wanted a skill that gave no control over my work. I tried teaching, massage therapy, and then physical therapy. I now work with people using the Feldenkrais Method, which incorporates many of my interests. I realize that it draws on what I loved about street photography—learning about people and figuring out what needs doing so that they can feel better. The people I work with give me their trust and we learn from each other. I could never have known that type of “passion” when I was 20 years old.
New York, N.Y.
The “find your passion” advice also applies to those looking for a life partner!
Khazan writes that “between the ages of 8 and 12, [kids] start to compare themselves with others and become insecure if they’re not as good as their peers at something.”