Find You Passion Isn’t the Best Career Advice, Maybe the Worst

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Finding the right, and sometimes the perfect career is an age long worry of many young ones. I have seen quotes like “it’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together”, “you’ll never work a day in your life if you’re doing something you love.” And many others.

Sadly, quotes like these have been long ingrained in our society. We’ve been made to believe these by motivational speakers, coaches, and teachers in schools, and that’s why many young ones have these quotes written in their journals and recite them as mantras whenever they need to pursue a career.

Truth is, spending time to first learn what you love to do and actually going on that journey sounds as fulfilling as you can ever imagine, but researchers are of the opinion that when people take this approach, it’s highly likely that it’ll only end in disappointment.

So don’t just ram full speed into a passionate career, according to a study conducted jointly by Stanford and Yale-NUS College in Singapore, we might have to give our brains a complete formatting, take a step back and actually do what works.

126 undergraduate university students were invited for the study. According to Paul O’Keefe, co-author of the study, researchers focused on these students because as undergraduates, they are at a time in their life when they’re being bombarded with the idea that all they ever have to do is go out and find their passions.

Five different experiments were conducted with these participants, the students’ “implicit theories of interest” and how those interests end up affecting their career pursuits were all examined. It was discovered that when a person channels all his energy toward finding a passion, he’ll get discouraged and exhausted if he doesn’t find the passion. So all a person needs to do isn’t just finding a passion.

The idea of just finding a passion also encourages people to put on blinders that prevent them from chasing after a number of different interests, basically helping them focus on one. What happens is that they will end up missing out on finding a career they’ll really enjoy, even more than their passion or finding one that they’re really good at.

This doesn’t mean you should do something you hate or something you’re not passionate about, but it just tells you that you should never get caught up trying to “find a passion” that may not exist or a passion that wouldn’t be a great career move.

According to Barbara Cox, Ph.D., who specializes in executive stress and professional burnout, “I do see clients who already know what their passion is but are afraid to go for it out of fear. However, a large majority of people need to explore many options to discover what they excel at. Many of them find that they enjoy things that they may not have tried if they only did things they used to do well.”

This all boils down to opening new experiences before you charge down on a specific path, and this varies from one person to another, so never use the pace at which others are moving as a yardstick for how fast you move in the direction your career path leads.

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