Should I Follow My Passion?

AAAhh, the quintessential question: Should I follow my passion? Having passion is a must for success. The path to success is full of setbacks. So you need passion for what you do to get you through tough times.

But does that really mean that you have to follow your passion?

The answer is no!

Use Your Passion as a Tool

We, as humans, have a great advantage over other mammals. Our neocortex is more advanced and has the potential to control and impact the limbic part of our brains. In other words, we are equipped with logic and have the power to control our emotions. The more we control our emotions, the more human we become. That’s what separates us from other mammals. We don’t have to be dragged along where our emotions lead us.

Emotions are great tools for success though. And so is your passion. But like any other tool, your passion should serve you, not you following it.

Let me explain…

Everyone is passionate about something and then they think “hmmm, what can I do to turn that passion into profit?” Well, if you turn that passion into a business, that business can have a potential to be very profitable, if there’s a market for it. Note that the big IF is “if there’s a market for it”.

Ideally if there’s an overlap between your passion and the market (what others desire), then you can be very successful.

So there are 2 parts to your success:

1. Your Passion
2. The Market, or What Others Need

If these 2 coincide, then your business will soar.

The part 2, “the market” is not under your control. That leaves you with the part 1 , your passion.

Is your passion under your control?

Well, most people believe it’s not. They think you are either passionate about something or not.

If you think that your passion is pretty much set, and there’s nothing you can do about it, then your success will be matter of luck. If you’re lucky enough that your passion matches with a big market, then you’re in business. But if not, well, tough luck. No matter how much effort you put into it, you won’t be able make any profit, since people are not interested in it.

Doing what’s your passion and hoping that others will value it, will leave your success at the mercy of others.

That’s like sitting in a boat lazily, hoping that the wind will blow in the direction of your destination. Instead, you must adjust your sails to take you to your destination, no matter from which direction the wind blows.

But that means changing your passion! Is that even possible?

Manufacture Your Own Passion

Many years ago, I had a great passion for a very narrow branch of science (by the way, I still do). I was very successful in it too. But it wouldn’t satisfy people’s immediate and day-to-day needs. In other words, there was no market for it.

I had to spend some time learning other skills due to necessity, even though it wasn’t my passion. I toughed through it and learned new skills in a field completely unrelated to science.

But something interesting started happening…

As I became better and better at these new skills, I began to like this new field. After a while I become passionate about it. I even ended up spending my spare time learning more about it.

That’s when it hit me:

We are not good at something because we are passionate about it, We are passionate about something, because we are good at it

This little epiphany was very empowering.

Well, for one, it showed me that I have the power to create my own passion and change the direction of my sails myself. I was no longer at the mercy of the market to match my passion.

Moreover, it showed me how to mint my own passion.

How To Create Your Own Passion

As I brought up earlier, we have a great advantage over other mammals. We can control our emotions, change our habits, and create our own passion.

Take a moment and think about why you are passionate about something…

Probably at some point in your life, most likely childhood, you received a lot of encouragement and praise in doing what you call your passion today.

You can create that positive feedback at any point in your life, yourself, and about any topic.

Just surround yourself with the new topic. Join the groups interested in the topic. Educate yourself about it. And as soon as you see some success, you will begin to become passionate about it.

Of course, there’s a period of time that you will have to tough your way through it to become good at something. But that’s what conscious humans do. They delay gratification for greater success. (Check out the posts about “Motivation” and “Making it Big”)

The Bottom Line

So the answer is “No, you shouldn’t follow your passion. Your passion should follow you”. To be successful, first see where people’s needs and market are. Then manufacture your own passion in that area.

As for what you are passionate about now. Don’t get too caught-up. There’s nothing special about it. At some point, you became good at something and received a lot of encouragement about it. So that became your passion.

You can become passionate about anything that you desire. You hold the key to power, not your past.