The Passion vs. Career Dilemma

As a true blue millennial, there was a time when I believed that the only career worth building is the career I’m passionate about. Just like the idea of a soul mate, I believed that every human being has to find their ‘life’s calling’ or else they would be miserable for the rest of their lives.

However, as reality sank its ugly teeth and bills piled up on my desk, I started to realize that this mindset of ‘do what you love and everything is going to be okay’ might be incomplete or at worse, misleading. 

I soon realized that the world was not moved by what you love, but what other people need. Just because you think your work is valuable, doesn’t mean that other people will think so too.  

This gap between one’s passion and other people’s needs is the reason why many passion based careers never took off. 

Passion based career is a modern idea that was popularized by Internet marketers and so, its application should be taken with a grain of salt. 

The truth is that work is not the only way one can find purpose and meaning in life. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl wrote that we can also find meaning and purpose through experiencing something or encountering someone and our attitudes toward suffering. 

Thus, we should not limit ourselves by trying to find meaning and purpose only in our career, but also in our day to day encounter with other people and our attitude towards life.

You should not despair if you fail to turn your passion into a career, for this trend is more of an anomaly than the norm. Our great great grandparents don’t seem troubled by it and so should we.

However, if after all this you still insisted to find meaning through your work and you are in a position where you still can’t transition your passion into a career (something that earns you money), a helpful tip is to apply Google’s 20% project time in your life.

If you haven’t heard of this concept before, it basically means allocating 20% of your weekly time to pursue your passion projects. For example if you wanted to be a writer you can wake up one or two hours earlier and write before you go to work. Believe it or not, many famous authors like Khaled Hossini and James Petterson had all done this before they became professional authors.

The way I see it, passion and career should not be an either or dilemma that one should choose. I think it is possible to integrate our passion and career into our day to day life with our current technologies. 

In conclusion, many modern people try to find their meaning and purpose in life through their work. But as we have discussed before, this was a limiting view towards life. As Victor Frankl suggested, we can also find meaning and purpose through experiencing something, meeting people, and changing our attitudes towards life and suffering. 

Of course there is no harm to pursue a passion based career, but don’t let it turn into an obsession that robs you of happiness and love. I personally think that it is much more beneficial to separate passion and career until you see concrete proof that your passion can turn into a proper career (can help pay your bills).

P.S. Next week I will expand on Frankl’s ideas of finding meaning through experiencing something, meeting other people, and changing our attitudes towards life and suffering. If you want to derive more meaning from your relationship and daily attitudes, stay tuned by dropping your email in the subscribe box below. By doing so you will also get my two signature Ebook (Zoe Life and Zoe Challenge) for free.

I'm a happiness blogger who writes about philosophy for living strong, loving unconditionally and laughing more.

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