The Passion Pitfall: How Your Obsession Might Be Your Obstacle

LifeThe Passion Pitfall: How Your Obsession Might Be Your Obstacle
The Passion Pitfall: How Your Obsession Might Be Your Obstacle

The Passion Pitfall: How Your Obsession Might Be Your Obstacle

We have all heard the age-old advice: "Follow your passion." It's a mantra echoed in every career guidance session, every self-help book, and every graduation speech.

However, as I navigated my own path, I began to question this advice. Was my passion truly the key to my success, or was it acting as a chain, anchoring me in place? But what if this well-meaning advice is, in fact, holding you back?

Let’s delve deeper into our society’s love affair with passion.

The Love Affair with “Passion”

Society is in love with the idea of passion. We are encouraged to find our “one true calling,” and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to its pursuit. Movies, books, motivational talks – they all echo the same sentiment.

According to a study conducted by Stanford psychologists, telling people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket but then drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry. Read Here 

I was always fascinated with what others were doing. This interest stayed with me as I ventured further down my career path. Yet, I soon discovered a hidden trap. 

The seemingly harmless advice to ‘follow your passion’ could lead to a tunnel-vision perspective. When dreams didn’t align with reality, the disillusionment hit hard. But passion, like many things, isn’t always consistent; it’s variable in nature.

The Variable Nature of Passion

In my early twenties, I was passionate about so many things. To name a few, I wanted to be 

  • Badminton player 
  • Classical singer
  • YouTuber

I pursued all of it in small proportion. But as I grew older, I noticed my passions evolved and changed, as did I. If I had attached my entire life and career to my passions back then, I would likely be lost now. 

I realized that passion, while a magnificent motivator, can be as variable as the wind, shifting and changing over time. Relying solely on it felt like building a house on sand, immune to collapse with the slightest breeze of change.

Eventually, I settled for podcasting as a passion which was nowhere on the list. It also became a kind of business along with me working at our family business. Now you see, how variable the passion is.

But there are other factors at play too, factors that don’t change as whimsically as passions do – skills, experience, and adaptability.

The Underrated Trio: Skills, Experience, and Adaptability

As I grappled with these insights, I began to understand the significant role that skills, experience, and adaptability play. Passion provided the initial spark, but it was skill acquisition and industry knowledge that kept the fire burning and eventually saw the growth along with monetizing it. 

In a world that evolves at an unprecedented pace, adaptability is more than a virtue—it’s a survival skill. Rather than chasing after my changing passions, I focused on equipping myself with diverse skills and an agile mindset.

  • One thing that has helped me immensely is constant learning.
  • Starting and catering to all elements of podcast shows like editing, creating graphics, writing show notes, etc.
  • Building community on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Connecting and interviewing like-minded people shaped my learning. 
  • Even reading a book or article about an unfamiliar subject helped broaden my knowledge base and improve adaptability.

That’s where life comes full circle and we need to have complete faith by being master of one rather than jack of all trades.

As I looked at these elements, I found myself redefining my concept of success.

Success: A New Definition

We are often taught that success equals passion-made-profitable. The image of the successful individual is one who wakes up every day brimming with excitement to go to work. 

But success, I have found, is more nuanced. It’s about creating a life that you don’t need a vacation from, not because it’s an endless stream of fun, but because it’s filled with purpose, challenge, and personal accomplishment. It’s about striking a balance between passion and pragmatism.

Striking a Balance between Passion and Pragmatism

This revelation is not to undermine the role of passion. It’s an acknowledgment that passion and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive, but rather partners.

I have learned to align my passions with my career where possible, and where not, to ensure they find expression in other areas of my life. The key, I have found, is balancing the drive of passion with the grounding force of pragmatism.

Success Stories: When Pragmatism Meets Passion

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.

Steve Jobs

Think about Steve Jobs, who curled through a variety of interests before landing on the Apple Inc, one we associate him with. Or J.K. Rowling, whose practical jobs kept her afloat while she penned the world-famous Harry Potter series.

These stories speak of a blend of passion and pragmatism, a mixture I found incredibly empowering. As we conclude, I would like to challenge our perspectives on the mantra of “follow your passion”.


Instead of simply consuming the mantra of “follow your passion,” let’s challenge it. What if the question isn’t about whether we should follow our passion, but about how we can redefine the very concept of passion itself? What if passion isn’t something to be followed, but something to be cultivated, nurtured, and intertwined with practicality and adaptability?

Instead of running a marathon chasing our passions, why not view life as a potluck party? We all bring different dishes to the table – our skills, experiences, adaptabilities – and our passions, too. Like our tastes, our passions may change and evolve, but each new dish can add a different flavor to our lives.

How would your life change if you viewed passion not as a constant, but as an evolving aspect of your life? How can we redefine passion for the better? I encourage you to share your thoughts and join the conversation. Let’s redefine the narrative together, for ourselves, and for the future generations who will navigate the

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