I believe that the phrase “follow your passion” or “cultivate your passions” is one of the most used and abused in recent decades. After all, it has a component of hope that is difficult to be immune to: it gives the illusion that, however unresolved and unsatisfactory your life is, engaging in something will give you happiness and allow you to realize yourself.
That following one’s passions is a positive attitude is undeniable. The problem is not, in fact, feeding them and translating them into reality but rather * how * you do it. Having a passion isn’t wrong; it is often wrong, however, how we pursue our intimate passion.
Having a passion, in fact, is not enough to make it come true. To do this it takes a lot of work, exactly like to improve in any activity you apply you need constancy and perseverance. There are too often neglected aspects of the path that leads us to make of a passion into an occupation or a lifestyle capable of realizing us. Because realizing a passion can bring happiness, but just failing to pursue it leads to the exact opposite. Focusing solely on our passion can involve risks.
We all feel that we are particularly inclined to something. Sometimes we convince ourselves to the point of turning our whole life into a particular passion. We need to have a more relaxed attitude in this regard, not thinking that passion is perfection but rather “something we are interested in doing”. It must be something we do independently, we must be able to do it well, it must give a sense of belonging and community.
There are many people who have failed having totally dedicated themselves to their passion and taking risks, only because they have not been able to bear the load of choices and responsibilities. Better, for example, to pursue your passion by taking small steps and increasing your commitment little by little.
In fact, if we think about it, it is also wrong to “follow” one’s passion. It is passion that must follow us.
If we please her, in fact, as zealous servants, we will end up succumbing to her. Our times and our energies must be imposed to it and not the other way around. If we become dependent on it and things do not turn well immediately, there are anxiety and depression waiting for us, not only for the failure to realize the dream, but especially for the elapsed time that does not go back and, perhaps, for having lost some opportunities of new interests, likely unthinkable.
There are those who say that just balance is enough. But passion and balance are antithetical. Passion burns and consumes you and requires a lot of energy and dedication. You can’t treat it like something you do when you feel like it or have time, otherwise it’s a pastime that’s fine, but it’s not a passion.
Having passions is fine! Passions are a very powerful source of motivation: they push us to improve and give us hope. They show us a possible future and make us often imagine it with a clarity that makes it almost real. To pursue them in an intelligent way, however, we must not end up being slaves to them and think that failing to achieve them is a verdict that weighs on our lives: either they were not the right passions for us or we faced them with a wrong approach and path.
As in many cases of life what matters to us does not what happens to us, but how we face it, even in this it does not only matter the passion we have but how we manage it.