These days, just about everyone claims to be passionate about something. We all want to win Shark Tank and we believe that landing a deal with Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, or Mr. Wonderful boils down to one thing: ~*~passion~*~.
Do what you love, goes the popular trope. Look inside yourself and figure out what you’re really passionate about.
Meditate until it hits you. Take ayahuasca. Do whatever it takes.
The problem is, our definition of passion has been hollowed out. The word has been undermined by overuse. The concept buried in heaps of half-heartedness. Ruined by strings of emojis conveying excitement in place of well thought out pitches.
Passion has become the “burning desire” we cannot tame, but can’t quite articulate, either. It’s the “genius idea” we can’t substantiate.
If I’m passionate enough, the pieces of the puzzle will all fall into place—maybe not today or tomorrow, but one day—we tell ourselves. As if the universe owes us this.
But loving something enough doesn’t lead you anywhere, necessarily. Pure passion doesn’t beget success, however you measure it. In fact, it often hinders it.
Unchecked passion can lead you astray. It can blind you from the reality that what you’re doing just isn’t worth it. It can cushion you from the truth that it’s time to let go and move on—to regroup and try something new. It can prevent you from accepting failures as the gifts in perspective they secretly are.
What those sharks know from their entrepreneurial efforts is that “making it” involves so much more than falling in love with a concept, a mission, or a product. Getting traction in any field or endeavor requires a hell of a lot more than the shallow sense of drive too many of us latch onto. Joining the ranks of “thought leaders” or achieving any degree of success isn’t about how much you love something.
True passion is rooted in grit and resilience. Tolerance for the daily grind.
Because most days, waking up to pursue whatever keeps you ticking isn’t going to be easy. Most days, you’re going to face setbacks. You’re going to have to do things you don’t want to do. Interact with people you don’t like. Make tough choices. You will not always feel inspired, no matter how passionate you are.
No matter how strongly you feel about achieving your goals, passion alone isn’t going to sustain you. It’s not going to feed your dreams, or lead you to happiness and career fulfillment.