One of the most common tropes one hears lately is that “If you are passionate about what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” This sounds like wisdom but for many people, it can be dangerous advice. The idea is that successful people are successful because they have found what they are passionate about and that passion is the magical pill that makes them endure adversity. If you only view your job as a career instead of a passion, some people would say you are to be pitied. Suddenly everyone is now trying to find their passion instead of building a career. The result: People rushing off to start businesses without doing market research or acquiring needed skills because they have suddenly discovered their passion is to sell clothes made out of newspaper.
I used to believe without passion no one succeeds until I read Cal Newport’s “So good they can’t ignore you.” Now I take a more balanced view. I believe an individual can succeed and find fulfilment in anything they choose to do as long as they can find value in it. This is more likely to happen if you are doing something that is in alignment with what you believe in. It is great if you have passion for your career but passion can never be a magic pill.
We are human. We will have good days and bad days. There will be days when you will wake up in a bad mood. Days when your rhythm will be ruined by a fight with a spouse or a family member. More than passion, on those days, what you need is grit, the ability to show up and still do what is required even on a bad day.
Passion is like the first gear in a car. It is good for getting you started but it can’t take you anywhere. People need to be able to count on you to be consistent. You can’t be a good team player or a highly efficient person only when you are in the mood. Perhaps that is why so many people are hopping from one business to another. They start what they believe is their passion and after the holiday romance is over, they discover they are not willing to commit to the processes that are necessary to make this happen. When they realise this, they move on to something else.
The most productive and successful people are those who have trained themselves to give it their best. They acknowledge there will be bad days and times when quitting might be the easier option but they also find that deep within them, they can see value in what they do and it gives them the extra push they need to keep moving forward. Let’s put it another way, don’t quit your wellpaying 9 to 5 to commit fulltime to your side hustle until that hustle has proven it can pay your bills.