What a nauseating title. No offence, Jess!
This was the question Jess Wen, writer of the blog with my utmost admiration Daring to Jess, asked me on a post asking for some suggestions about a month ago: ‘What’s your view on “following your passion”?’ Sorry it’s taken so long getting around to this but here you go.
In general, the phrase ‘follow your passion’ can be misleading in two ways for me; the first is obvious to see when we consider the problems that might be caused if I took this expression and also had a fancy for murdering infants just for fun. I’d probably get to follow my passion for a very short period of time and then be miserable for the rest of my life in prison and the families of those kids I killed wouldn’t think too highly of me never mind what my victims opinion was, though I would guess it would be equally low. Secondly, it uses the singular noun ‘passion’ rather than the plural. I don’t believe anyone on the planet has one single passion, apart from perhaps serial killers but enough about that.
To expand, when I was young I dreamed of becoming a world-famous stage actor, until I was about ten when I developed a passion for the piano, then onto the ukulele and singing and magic and harmonica over the years, none of which I can do anywhere near as adeptly as I wanted to a while ago. My brother wanted to be a polar bear when he grew up. What I’m saying is the passions of six-year-olds are usually laughably implausible. And as we grow, we develop interests in different things meaning that ‘following our passions’ would pull our lives in hundreds of directions at once. We’d be pulled apart, Attila the Hun style. Or at least our lives would have very little substance as, in the way my philosophy teacher phrased her lifestyle once, we would be ‘jack of all traits, master of none’.
It might just be because I grew up watching TV every day, with food in the cupboards to eat any time I wanted, but— and it hurts to admit, but that’s the first step to fixing it right?— I am ridiculously lazy. My motivation is fortunately coming on leaps and bounds at the moment as I’ve learned something incredibly important I think we should all understand; motivation is not only the cause of action, but the product as well. I may donate an entire post to this later, but it’s not right for this. When I think about it, my laziness holds me back from following my passions as soon as any problem confronts me. Applying it to my personal situation and where I am in my life I think that the expression ‘follow your passions’ could be very helpful or could ruin my life; I understand that going to my firm university choice would make my life awesome and therefore I am passionate about achieving those top grades. But, because of the hard work that it will involve, I am still struggling to feel motivated and instead look towards following my very unproductive passions. TV, gaming, even reading doesn’t get me any closer to those A’s which would ensure my place at my firm and heaps of long-term benefits. My shortsightedness in life and issue with, not struggling to see the long-term goals or understand how they would improve my life because I can, but actually doing anything about it is my problem.
So to summarise, ‘follow your passions’ is stupid advice for someone who enjoys anything immoral and would be as happy as Larry following his passion for murder. It is also dangerous for me personally because it encourages my lazy lifestyle and frankly impressive propensity for procrastination. But, if my understanding of ‘passion’ as long-term goals that will make me a better person is in line, then the expression could be extremely beneficial to me.
Thanks again Jess for this question, I thoroughly enjoyed accumulating my thoughts on the subject. And to you for reading.