Follow your dream or wake up? The Passion Problem
One of the most common, but rarely taken, words of advice is ‘follow your dreams’. Why don’t we? Deep down, most of the time, I think we tell our selves not to because if we’re really honest about it, our ‘dream’ is just a form of escapism. It's a bit like when we ask each other what we would do if we won the lottery. In order to ‘live the dream’ I think we need to develop dreams not by figuring them out first but by following what we’re successful at.
Don't follow your passion, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passion and your success, however you define it. (Billionaire, Mark Cuban)
If you’re a recent graduate, you’ve probably been struggling to figure out what you want to do, what you’ll be good at and how to be recognised for those strengths, this is was why I'm developing Hiremetrix. Our generation (born between 1983 and 2000), is controversial. ‘Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem’ (Cal Newport), highlighted references that say our generation is lazy, pampered and high maintenance. Cal’s theory is that it all boils down to Gen Y being told over and over again to follow our passions.
Don’t follow your passion but always bring it with you. (Mike Rowe, host of 'dirty jobs')
I don’t disagree with Cal but I do think we should all be trying to create passionate lives. Our generation has brought about game changers like Facebook and Twitter, which has changed the way society behaves. We’re powerful! With that said, we get very entitled when it comes to the lives we want to live. We stay in academia for too long, often guessing our passions leaving us terrified of entering the working world without having planned our perfectly passionate lives that we spend our days dreaming about and nights loosing sleep over. The real issue is we expect passion or ‘the dream’ to be waiting for us once we’ve achieved the steps in our heads.
In the movies there’s this idea that you should just go for your dreams but I don’t believe that…. Things happen in stages…. I feel that your problem is, you’re trying to figure this out in the abstract before you go and do it… that’s your tragic mistake’ (Ira Glass, host and producer of ‘This American life’, when answering students questions about building passionate lives.)
We can all live passionate lives but most of us don’t know what we're passionate about, which I think is far more exciting! Instead of holding on to an idealistic vision that you escape to on your lunch break, get good at your job and if you hate it, find another one but be good at what you do. My belief is that feeling valued and progression are significant catalysts for meaningful work which can take you in directions you couldn't have planned. Perhaps then the life you live will be far better than anything you could have dreamed of.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. (Steve Jobs)
Written By Michael - Founder at Hiremetrix