Should You Follow Your Passion?

By Dadirayi Agnes Sibanda (@the_catapult)

What we seek, is not to follow our passion, but to live a consciously chosen, inspired life. Passion, as an emotion, is a great fuel for activating the ideas and goals that we have, and the truth is that you can have an inspired career where you are.

I’ve been told that I am fortunate to be able to pursue my passions in life. Somehow that never seems to sound right – what comes to mind is a hippie, rolling stone type floater. So I looked up the definition of the word passion and, alarmed, I came to the following conclusion:
On following your passion. Don’t do it. Really!

Passion is a word that evokes Austenesque images and thoughts. In a word – drama! A word that is so trending at the moment that I think we may have lost sight of what it actually means and what its rightful place is in our lives. Here are some definitions of passion as defined by dictionary.com:

1. Strong and barely controllable emotion.

2. A state or outburst of strong emotion.

3. Intense sexual love.

4. An intense desire or enthusiasm for something

5. A thing arousing great enthusiasm.

6. The suffering and death of Jesus.

The combined emotion of these definitions left me feeling quite exhausted. Have we really come to hinge, nay encourage, the pursuit of our purposes in life through the lens of a seemingly uncontrollable emotion?

The question ‘what’s your passion?’ has become so common as to become trite. It is also, from the looks of things, extremely dangerous – most people that were ‘passionate’ seem to not live to a ripe old age – think JFK, Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr.

So why talk at all about ‘following your passion’ if it’s so dangerous and messy? Because despite our pursuit of corporate or mainstream careers, economic success, achievement, or whatever ‘before I’m 30’ goal you have, most of us have an inherent desire to do something ‘more’ with our lives.

The incessant chatter, noise and desperate discussion about passion masks the real need, our desire to do work that we love and are proud of. And we know what that work is, we have always known it since we were children. We desire to make a contribution to the world and to society. We want to stand out as distinct and powerful individuals who ‘became the change’.

What we seek, is not to follow our passion, but to live a consciously chosen, inspired life. Passion, as an emotion, is a great fuel for activating the ideas and goals that we have, and the truth is that you can have an inspired career where you are.

 

The required investment is one of time, and courage, to look deep within yourself and find out exactly who you are, how you want to contribute to the world, your community or even your organisation. Lessons I’ve learnt in pursuing a consciously chosen inspired life:

1. Know thyself and ‘do you’. Coming face to face with your true self and what she is capable of can be intimidating. Get to know yourself, believe yourself, buy into your dreams, and remember, your inner compass is always right!

2. Love is greater than money. It is, but it also isn’t – the rent needs to be paid. Make fiscally responsible decisions – pay unto Caesar what’s his. Don’t obsess about money, obsess about delivering the best possible value.

3. Be disciplined in your approach. Apply the same level of strategy, planning and precision you would do in your corporate job to the execution of your goals. Give your vision the respect it’s due.

4. This is your magnum opus. This decision is the toughest decision you’ll ever make – the birthing that which is your greatest self. It may fail, be rejected, or succeed beyond your wildest dreams. All terrifying prospects. In the words of Susan Jeffers, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway”.

5. Beware the passion-killers. We’ve agreed that passion is the fuel for your dreams, there will be those that seek to deflate you. Remember the goal, stick to it, even when you aren’t ‘feeling it’. This is why we don’t just follow passion.

In short, don’t follow your passion! Direct it – with your inner compass – which is always right!

Recommended:

LISTEN: [Podcast] Vanguard discusses following your passion on PowerFM with Azania Mosaka

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