In today’s episode, I’ll tell you why follow your passion, alone, is bad advice, and we’ll look at some questions you can ask yourself to figure out what brings you the most meaning?
I apologize for any confusion, but “pick your passion” is bad advice. I apologize because I talk a lot about the importance of pursuing passions. The thing is I realize this can be confusing if left on it’s own. I am big on chasing your dreams, discovering, and working on your passion. This is true. The confusion comes in when we forget a very important point. We live our best lives when we find meaning in what we do. That’s it.
It’s not because it’s a hobby versus a career. Not because you’re an employee, versus the founder. Or that it makes us rich, or allows us to meet cool people. None of that. This is why “pick your passion” is bad advice when left on it’s own.
For many of us, meaning could be found most in our day to day workplace, in being a stay at home mom, or travel, while always living off of your last dollar. Meaning is an individual experience, as Viktor Frankl proved in concentration camps. It is your experience alone. And it is mine alone. Much like genetics, no two pursuits of meaning are the same.
Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Now I’m not suggesting that you need to only focus on what you’re good at, or what society, or your parents expect of you either. That swings so far the other way. There is a great book, perhaps we could summarize for an episode called “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. Essentially it brings us back to earth when it comes to career ambitions by reminding us that leveraging our skills that are in demand and continuing to improve upon them like a craftsmen is the key to success.
While this can be true for many people, and may be helpful advice for the far majority, it again is too much of a blanket statement. If honing your craft, instead of learning something new is wise, then I’m an idiot. I’ve learned all about making beats for hip hop music recently, spent a ton of time doing it. But again, finding meaning in life is an individual experience.
Find YOUR Meaning
To summarize, it’s important to pursue our passion. It may be for money, it may be for fun, or an ever changing combination of the two, it might be for 5 minutes a day, or ten hours, but make sure you are pursuing it. Make your career decisions based on what you feel gives you the greatest advantage in a literal sense as well, at least, just find a way to pay the bills so to speak. Now, way, way, way more important than passion, or work is the pursuit of meaning. Most of us go about life without intention and clarity about what gives us true MEANING.
Now I could talk through it with you, but I can’t figure it out for you. Remember, it’s an individual experience and an organic, evolving one, hah, sort of like a maze as we talked about in the most recent solo episode. Go back and give that a listen if you feel frustrated.
But, either way the best thing we can do is ask questions, make decisions, and ask more questions. You will never know what brings you the most meaning until you start asking your self reflection questions.
Questions To Build Meaning
- Are you working on a project that motivates you?
- Do you engage with a group that you enjoy collaborating with?
- Does your work, in some way(s) serve others?
- Do you have to persevere and solve challenging problems?