I just made a big decision. I decided to discontinue what I was currently doing as a job and for the time being focus 100% of my working efforts onto MyrkoThum.com and my vision of my Lifestyle Business. I can’t go into too much detail yet but I have a plan and I’m in the process of executing it. More importantly with this decision I also follow my passion of personal development.

Passion is one of these strong and enduring emotions about something or someone. I especially enjoyed the definition of passion from UrbanDictionary.com:

Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible.

Passion is just the ultimate fuel for your endeavors because it never really runs out. When you go after your passion, assuming you found your real passion, you tend to get more energy from working towards it. Most people who follow their passion wouldn’t really talk about it as work or as a job. Many would even do it for free, some would pay to do it.

Is “Follow Your Passion” Bad Advice?

There has been some real controversy about following your passion. For Bill Gates passion is the number one factor for success. Also Steve Jobs said:

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

Others say following your passion and concentrating on what you love to do will probably result in failure. For instance in an article on CNN called Why ‘follow your passion’ is bad advice the author Cal Newport argues that trying to “follow your passion” in your career can lead to anxiety, job-hopping and disappointment. In another post called Dont Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort Marc Cuban says “Follow Your Passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get. Instead he suggests to get good at that where you apply most of your time and effort – passion and success will follow.

Why is that so? Answer:

Passion Alone is Not Enough

I think the core error that both of these articles saying “following your passion is bad advice” commit, is to assume that by following your passion you blindly want to make a money-making business from what you are enjoying in your spare time. Of course, it’s not that easy. It may work, or it may not. You have to educate yourself to know. So if you assume just by going into tunnel-vision, ignoring the market and your real abilities to excel, you will create success by following a passion you have… yes, you would most likely fail. The key is to do it intelligently and to use your passion as one of many other decision factors.

The problem with the Marc Cuban approach of going where you currently spend your time and effort is simply that you may be numbing yourself by ignoring your passion and running after “success”. “Success” which most likely just means running after the money. Making money is great and there is absolutely nothing wrong about it, but making money the only focus in your life may blind you up to a point where you get so ignorant regarding your own needs that you justify a really unhappy career just because you get paid. Stephen Covey has a nice metaphor for this phenomenon: it is the ladder you climb leaning against the wrong wall.

Don’t get me wrong, money should be a major focus in your life. You need to educate yourself about money and it’s good to have a drive to make as much money as you can. What I try to bring across is that anything that is taken to an extreme, ignoring other essential keys, is a problem.

In my Success Guide I already said what I consider to be the 3 keys for a success: Passion, Skill and People. In other words you have to bring the skill and be really good at what you do, possibly the best, and there has to be a market where people are willing to spend money on what you’re offering without too much competition already. If you have both of these, being passionate is what enables you to become outstanding and eventually successful.

So being passionate is a core ingredient of a fulfilled and successful career. Follow your passion is not bad advice, but follow your passion blindly, ignoring the market opportunity and your skill-set, definitely is.

Finding a Passion Worth Following

So here is what you do: List your passions that you think are worth pursuing and then do a check for each of them by answering the following 3 questions truthfully:

Answer these 3 Questions Now:

  1. Do I really love to do it and willing to spend the rest of my life on it?
  2. Am I good at this and willing to constantly improve to be at the top?
  3. Is there a group of people (a market) spending money for it?
How to Do What You Love

Image © by Eskimon

Also have a look at my post mentioned earlier called Success: The Only Guide You Need on How to Be Successful in Life which will give you an even better understanding how to match the 3 keys in your life.