Disagreeing with the Idea of Following Your Passions

While I really enjoy Hugh’s art, my views on passion have been evolving away from the concept behind this cartoon. At first I suspected something was wrong with the idea of “do what you are passionate about,” but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. I wanted to believe it was right. But it didn’t sit well in my gut.

Then I started reading Cal Newport’s blog and books (really aimed at students) and I think I’m beginning to see passion the way he does.

My paraphrase of what Cal suggests is something like this: “Explore things that might be interesting to you. If they turn out to be interesting, continue that exploration, following paths that sometimes only serendipity may provide. As you continue your exploration of an area, you may become really good. Then, if you become good at it, you might even realize that you are passionate about it.”

Cal’s point is that passion typically comes AFTER you’ve had time to gain some higher level of success or expertise, not before.

The way I see Cal’s point of view (and, please, check out his site and work to get the real story) is that kids (and even those of us who still haven’t figured it out) should focus on becoming interesting people. Interesting people are those who follow their natural curiosities and develop on those.

You could say it’s really about being yourself and letting that guide what you eventually become passionate about. Admit it – most of us struggle (and have struggled) with being ourselves.

How would our lives look today if we had just accepted who we knew we were when we were kids?

So, with all respect for Hugh and for Babson (He drew this for Babson), on this one I’m gonna disagree.