Why Following Your Passion Might Be a Smart Idea

When it comes to figuring out the best path to take through life – and in our professional lives in particular – the idea of “following your passion” is often looked down on and downplayed among various circles.

Instead of following your passions, or chasing your dreams, the sports of things that are often emphasised will include looking for practical and stable career paths to go down, and so on.

Of course, there are certain significant problems with this approach – including the fact that, as recent global events have underscored for many people, even jobs that have historically been very secure are a lot more unstable than they might appear, in the present world.

Following your passion, whether that means pursuing training as a speech-language pathologist or starting up an arts and crafts business on the side, might actually be a smart approach for a number of different reasons.

Lena Benjamin with Levy Roots, Dragon’s Den serial entrepreneur at the after-event dinner party Leaders First conference where Bill Clinton and Ruby Wax spoke to a room full of entrepreneurs, speakers and participants of Entrepreneurs 2012 on November 16, 2012

Here are some reasons why following your passions might be a smart idea.

Because you will typically benefit from significantly higher motivation by doing so

It’s often commented that motivation is a pretty unreliable thing to rest your hopes on when trying to achieve success in any given endeavour – and it’s certainly true that you can’t always rely on “feeling like” going to work, or washing the dishes, or any number of other things, at all times.

Nonetheless, however, motivation can still be a very powerful asset in any professional venture, not least of all entrepreneurial ones. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that someone who is regularly feeling motivated in their professional life is almost inevitably going to perform better and have a more fruitful time than someone who is rarely motivated, and relies purely on discipline.

One of the great things about actively pursuing your passions and dreams is that you will tend to – almost by definition – be significantly more motivated when working on those things, and when venturing down those avenues.

Because you will tend to be much more resilient when working on something that you believe in

Not only will your motivation tend to be significantly higher when you are working on something that you are passionate about, but it’s also the case that you will tend to be much more resilient when you believe in what you’re doing.

Over the course of life in general – and certainly over the course of professional life – certain hurdles, setbacks, and obstacles are simply inevitable.

If you’re doing a job that you hate and don’t believe in or find fundamentally meaningful, it’s much more likely that you will become totally disheartened when those hurdles and obstacles arise.

On the other hand, when you’re working on something that you really believe in and feel enthusiastic about, you’ll tend to be much more resilient against those setbacks, as the thing you’re working on will justify a lot of the effort involved.

Because what you are passionate about is often what you will do your best work on

An interesting thing about “passion” in the context of a job or a particular path through life, is that what you are passionate about will often have a good deal of overlap with what you’re naturally quite good at, by default.

To put it simply, people usually don’t feel very passionate about things that they struggle with a lot.

Even if you don’t feel that what you’re passionate about “comes naturally” to you, however, there is still a good chance that you will actually do your best work on your “passion projects,” simply because you will be more engaged, and more likely to bring your best effort.

Because following your passion helps to bring your intuition and deeper understanding into play

When all is said and done, your “passions” and “dreams” will tend to come from a deep place within you that goes beyond the everyday cycle of emotions that come up and change every 10 minutes.

What this means is that by pursuing your passion, you may well be bringing your deeper – but unarticulated – understandings of things into play, including parts of yourself that you are unconscious of.

At the very least, you can be sure that you will notice meaningful things in your environment, and in your work, when you’re genuinely passionate about something – that you wouldn’t notice in the same way if you were operating on a more surface level and simply trying to do the surface level “smart thing” in any instance.

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