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An Animated Argument Against Passion

YouTube video


A reader recently sent me the following note:

I was a believer in “finding your passion” until I read your book.  It has freed me from the frustration and impatience bred from the continuous quest to “find the perfect job.”

Enlightened, I made an animation to share the idea with my friends.

This animated short is embedded above. I thought those of you who read SO GOOD would enjoy it.

20 thoughts on “An Animated Argument Against Passion”

  1. Man, this video got me pumped up (although I wish the transitions were smoother.) It’s a good idea to think of ways you can add value instead of demanding value from the world. He’s right, the world doesn’t owe us anything!

    I’ve got another year left until the beginning of my 20’s and I’m excited for it. I’m in the process of setting my foundations right now and they’re all going to pay off in the future. Hell in the past 6 months, I’ve eliminated two entire career paths from my interest list. Two things I thought I would like to do, but after I dived into it I realized it’s not me. I’ll keep asking what value I want to give to the world. As for now, content marketing, I’m looking at you.

  2. I loved this, until I realized that it goes against everything that got me through my twenties… mainly, the idea behind this Howard Thurman quote: “Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” So I offer that up as a counterpoint because maybe this mindset works for some, and maybe not for others.

  3. Nice video, but I had a question. I’ve read much of your latest book, but as a rising college student, something still eludes me. You say passion is meaningless but what about interests? I know you’ve written before that college students should major in whatever they’re interested in, but what if that interest does not have the value to build a compelling lifestyle? Should students opt for majors that provide interesting opportunities or those that are interesting to study (without the possibility of deep procrastination)? Thanks

  4. I have been a follower of your blog for very long, and usually I don’t comment. But I just had to.
    This is the story of my life. At a mid-tween 25, I’m coming to these conclusions day by day. There is so much truth in this animation that it almost made me cry and smile at the same time.
    That was just freaking brilliant.

  5. Excellent advice! I’m a mother in my forties who is working towards my MSW via distance education. Having five young, strong willed and energetic children underfoot makes it extremely challenging to keep focused on why I am sacrificing sleep, money and a social life to get my degree. But I have a strong desire to take the decades of life and parenting experience I’ve earned to share it with others who are struggling. So although I am passionate about social work, it’s ultimately because I want to give back to the world I’ve taken from.

  6. This is true! If your reader would like more information on this topic – what does it mean to be “in your 20s” or “in your 30s”, etc. he should check out Jon Acuff’s book, “Start”.

  7. I know you’ve written before that college students should major in whatever they’re interested in, but what if that interest does not have the value to build a compelling lifestyle?

    Choose a major that seems interesting to you now and that you think would open up interesting opportunities down the road. Beyond that, don’t over think your choice. There is not one right answer, there are instead many right answers…

  8. there’s no contact email for you anymore on your about page, so i just put this here:

    i would love to get your take on this. not regarding the theory of everything itself, but the way the established science front reacts to it. e.g. “proper channels” etc.

    it seems to me as if this structure of publishing research papers through well established channels first and foremost to make a name as a scientist is hindering breakthroughs big time.

  9. This is a response to Lauren’s quote. I love all these ideas.
    Lauren, I think your quote is consistent with the ideas in the animation. In order to find what makes you come alive, follow the advice in the video. Trying new things and adding value will help a person find what makes them come alive. Basically, I think it can be summed up in the following way: Instead of searching for your passion, try stuff and your passion will find you.
    BTW- I am passionate about this blog. Well done.

  10. I’m sorry this question is not related to this article. But do you have any tips on reading academic paper? I’m an undergrad who needs to read several papers to understand the works of various professors (I will apply for grad school soon). Thank you very much 🙂

  11. So does it not make sense to choose something that is not as applicable ex. Philosophy or Religion? I know you’ve said before that the major itself doesn’t matter but there seems to be mounting evidence that most college grads with non-technical degrees are unemployed/making minimum wage.

  12. “there is not one right answer, there are instead many right answers…” I love this idea, so many people keep asking what I’m going to do with my major and I keep telling them whatever I want. And great video, love it!

  13. Hi there,
    I jump through many articles on this topic in 3am in the morning. I got a burning question to ask to the author and all the advocate to this perspective.
    I was born and now live in Asia, where interesting things are rarely happen and people are “rarely choose their passion” either. They always choose the safe and conventional path as a career (Eg. If you study business, you will hear business students says I’m passionate about HR,Marketing,Sales,Finance,Banking… but who knows if they really like it or not). Of course, slowly they become so good at what they do, few may like what they do, but lots of them feel miserable.
    Is “asking what the world need and supply those valuable skills (investment banking, financial analyst, accounting, marketing executive, sales agents,…) are the things we have done for so many years right now? Is that most conventional and model citizen doing right now? Lots of young graduates I know have hone their skills throughout their college life just to fit in a big corporation and never ask themselves what they truly want or like.
    I’m already graduated for about 2 months and hearing all sort of advices pulling me back and forth. I really need explanation, please.

  14. I think the mantra of “follow your passion” stems from people wanting to get paid for their passion. As if that’s the ultimate thing, but that’s what we have free time for.

    I think a person should find out what skills they have and what value they have to offer the world and do that. If you’re smart and you work for yourself, you can spend the rest of your time doing what you want. Instead of some impossible pursuit of “do what you love”.

    It’s nice to read another person who holds a practical view of the world. I might have to check out your book

  15. I like the idea that you shouldn’t follow your passions. I’ve always been told by friends and family to find something that I love and/or am passionate about when figuring out my future career. But I can see how many people would have a problem with that. For example, I really enjoy dying my hair and doing fancy nail art on myself or others, but that doesn’t mean I want to be a cosmetologist. I’m horrible at socializing with people I don’t know, and even worse at small talk, so if I had to do it every day as part of my job, I’d be miserable.
    Instead, you SHOULD be finding out what you can offer the world and figuring out how to apply your skills and improve them. You need to find what you’re good at. If you’re anything like me, your passions/interests change all of the time, which would make finding a career for those interests even more difficult than it already is. If you’re good at something, it would be easier to find a career where you can apply your knowledge and skills of that subject instead of hoping that you’re good at it.


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