Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. In fact, working a job we love makes us content and everyone longs to find that perfect, meaningful job that is in line with our greatest passion. Having such work makes us spring out of bed every morning positively raring to go. Considering that we spend the majority of our lives at our jobs, it is crucial to find work opportunities that create personal fulfilment for ourselves.
But let’s reflect and ask this question: does following passion really make you live a fulfilling life?
For some, following passion might do good, while for others, it might not be the case. Former Forbes contributor and entrepreneur Michal Bohanes wrote that ‘following your passion’ is dead. He said that “urging people to find their passion might lead them to find their eggs in one basket then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry”, meaning that following your passion equals following a fixed mindset. And fixed-minded people are much more likely to give up when an obstacle arises, thus hindering them to achieve greater success.
Silicon Valley investor Ben Horowitz also mentioned that following a passion will not necessarily lead to happiness and success. Our interests can change over time and we can find meaning in so many ways. When we glorify a passionate calling, it leaves too many people out because of responsibilities that might outweigh their absolute freedom to choose something else. Hence, those people who glorify passion likely fail to live up to their potential because they are choosing to prioritise the other things that matter in their life.
These opinions are not to say that passion does not matter. The key takeaway is that you should not blindly follow your zeal wherever it leads, nor should you necessarily make career moves based on things you love the most.
Learn to love the job you have…
As Steve Jobs advised, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” When you love your work, this will affect productivity and performance. When enjoying what you do, you are more likely to be optimistic, motivated, learn faster, make fewer mistakes, and make better business decisions.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believed that being able to enjoy one’s work is the main factor in getting into a state of flow. If you can create a passion for the work, you will be energised, giving you more fuel to put towards success. The trick is figuring out how to make yourself love your work – even the most tedious of tasks.
Some simple yet practical things you should do to ensure you enjoy your job include:
- Work with your supervisor to set goals. Work can feel like a real bore if you do not feel like you have something to strive for.
- Make a list of things you want to improve because you cannot begin solving a problem until you define it.
- Figure out what makes you choose that job in the first place, ensure you have a growth mindset when putting in this thought, such as for development over money.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for support. If you feel overwhelmed, swamped with work or are struggling with a particular aspect of your job, do not be afraid to consult a trusted co-worker.
- Expand your network to help you build a support system that you can consult or simply commiserate with when times get tougher.
- Don’t waste the benefits your employer gives you. For example, if there is gym membership, enrol yourself because a fit body means better focus. If your employer covers self-care practices, make sure you join one or a few of them.
- Create a vibe that will make you productive, such as if you are easily distracted, you can put away a pile of paper or your toy under the table.
…and build a mission for better success and life fulfilment.
Developing useful skills, making a meaningful impact through your work, producing something of value, understanding and shaping your place in society – none of this might sound glamorous as chasing your innermost interests. However, these less attractive things lead to a far better quality of life. You can be really good at what you do and derive satisfaction in that – even if you do not absolutely adore it. Don’t let yourself be controlled by the glamour of “following passion” and be satisfied where you are at now.