“Find your passion”

A common piece of advice from your teachers and mentors is to “find your passion.”  Certainly it helps to be enthusiastic about your studies, since that can motivate you to do the hard work required for success.

But this advice is not as straightforward as it might seem.  Check out this article from the Atlantic, called “‘Find Your Passion’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does.”  For me, the money quote is this:

Young people routinely mistake “find your passion” to mean “pick your interest early and do not waver from it,” rather than “constantly search for the things that make your soul alive and pursue them diligently.”

I’d like to hear your reactions to this article, which contains many thoughtful reflections on the idea of passion for work or a career.  Use the comment mechanism below.

2 thoughts on ““Find your passion”

  1. In my experience the idea that students must find their passion puts a lot of pressure on young people to find this mysterious passion—whether or not it exists. Astronomy is something I love and have loved for a very long time, yet I’ve often wondered if I’ve chosen the “correct” passion to pursue, as if there is one career choice that will allow me to “never work a day in my life”. What Alison Coad said about passion really resonated with me, that passion isn’t something to be found, but to be cultivated. There are many things that make my life worth living, whether my studies, my hobbies, or relationships with other people. What makes these most precious to me isn’t the immediate attraction to any subject, activity, or person, but the hard (and even sometimes dull) work that I have put into them.

  2. This is an article that I really needed. I have had wavering faith in Astronomy while doing some of the mathematics. I mean how can I say that i’m passionate about Astronomy when I crack open some homework and give it a quick once over before letting out a “Ugh…”? For doing and knowing the mathematics is a fundamental principle for Astronomy. But when they said “…In other words, when you’re told that your interests are somehow ingrained, you give up on new interests as soon as the going gets tough.” it gives me some heart knowing that just because this is difficult, it does not mean that this is not what I was meant to do. Speaking of that “meant to do” part, I think I am straddling the line of be a fixed thinker, I have had other interests that I have on more than one occasion, refrained from interacting with on the grounds that it shouldn’t really matter to me as an Astro major. realizing that was a little worrying if not also a little enlightening. This article really does try to teach you that your major really could be your passion, even if it’s really difficult at times. But it also does teach you that you may find out that another field is your passion, and all that time and money you put into your current one, may have been put into the wrong place.

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