Is Passion Innate or Acquired?

June 8, 2020  1396 Views

Let your passion follow you


The world is becoming increasingly interconnected and accessible. This connectivity and openness allowed an infinity of information and experiences to create a rich global heritage to anyone willing to explore it. Yet, it can create a common narrative and a certain ideal path, a path that does not necessarily fit everybody's journey because there isn’t a collective journey.

The common belief that “you have to follow your passion” in order to succeed and feel fulfilled has haunted down too many individuals, and caused a quarter-life crisis for more than a few people.

A fraction of people were able to find a certain field of interest that they wished to pursue early in their journey, and it has somehow grown to become the norm. There is a dangerously limiting idea at the heart of such a belief which is that a person should have one singular passion, and should pursue it to the exclusion of everything. This belief has shrunk individuality and made people question their ambitions, goals, and even self-worth at times. 

Carrying such beliefs can cloud one’s mind to many opportunities; being passionate about something entails giving it the full force of your attention which can lead to having a tunnel vision. In fact, Stanford psychologist Gregory Walton said in a study examining different belief systems regarding passion that

“Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all of their eggs in one basket but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry”

If you are overly narrow and committed to a certain area, that could prevent you from developing interests and expertise that you need to develop to achieve your goals. In this context, having one certain passion can cause a close-mindedness that can be detrimental to the success of an individual or of a company.

Patricia Chen, the lead author of a study covering passion for work and a doctoral psychology student at the University of Michigan, says that passion can sometimes be misleading. People who believe they need to be passionate about their jobs from the early beginning can prioritize enjoyment over other important aspects of the vocation. This belief can be sometimes misleading because passion is a feeling and feelings fluctuate and change. 

In reality, success fuels passion more than passion fuels success, so instead of exhausting your energy in the search of your one and only passion, think of your life as an opportunity to develop various passions and to invest in various fields of interest. You do not have to be in a monogamous relationship with one passion, and adopting this belief will empower you to invest in your journey, not the destination. 

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star on ABC’s hit reality TV show, “Shark Tank,” takes this line of thinking even further.

“The things I ended up being really good at were the things I found myself putting effort into. A lot of people talk about passion, but that’s really not what you need to focus on. You really need to evaluate and say, ‘Okay, where am I putting in my time?’ ”

In this context, you should look for problems that you want to solve, look for chances you can seize, and invest yourself in them. You will become better with time, your commitment will grow, and your passion will emerge. Passion is the flame that ignites from the action of rubbing sticks or rocks together, it is an after effect and it lives in places where you can contribute.  

The message we want to leave you with is: do not worry about talent, money, or status rather explore and decide what you find interesting and meaningful. Interest and care are the catalysts for success and the underlying motives of passion, as well as perseverance, courage, and diligence.

Do not follow your passion; let your passion follow you.