top of page

'Follow Your Passion.' | Advice not to follow. #1

To learn more about this topic, I highly recommend you to read the book So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport.

The problem with following this advice is two-fold:

  1. It assumes that the work you are doing now is meaningless in building a career.

  2. It proposes that there is not only a job out there custom made for you, but is also stress-free and the source of daily happiness.

This is all bullshit.

Newport’s Law: Telling a young person to follow their passion reduces the probability they will end up passionate.

This advice already assumes that we have a pre-existing passion that we can identify.

I used to thought making video games was my passion. Then after joining an indie gaming studio, on the just first day I knew it that it's not for me. I then started writing.

So every day, I would come home from school and study and learn how these professionals make and design games (This was a remote team.) And let me tell you, it's very hard.

I couldn’t design 3D models but for them, But I started to write documentation and dev-logs (developers log, where they tell to their customers what they have been doing or what new changes have come.)

Then I started using Quora a lot. But they all tell me to read less on Quora and read actual books.

I then started reading books. Then I used to forget what I read. So I made notes. I then sent my notes to some of my friends and they say these are pretty well-made notes.

The skills I gained from writing at that indie gaming studio plus I also read.

Then I started a Telegram channel because to start a full-blown website (this website that you are currently reading on), I neither have the money nor that courage.

If I would be just thinking all day about making games (because I loved to play so much) and did not taken the initiative to really knows the industry, I would have been thinking till today. I won’t be surprised that I would have not been that self-confidence to start my own website.

And what I learned is this. I don’t have a passion for making games. Just for playing games.

But that’s what the majority of people do when it comes to doing what they really want to do.

They do dream but they don’t take action. And this advice ‘Follow Your Passion’ makes it more dangerous. This quoting advice from Steve Jobs gives it credibility but that’s just absurd to not fully understand what it really means.

This advice was originated from Steve Job's inauguration speech.

But later he clarifies what he really meant by that advice.

I am not telling you to start looking for a job now, I want you to pick up any skill that you are somewhat good at and practice it to a mastery (at least you can aim for it.)

Just having to put into one skill for time puts you in very far competence.

So what's better advice?

Just get mastery in a skill, any skill. You will fall into the process. You also get keep exposed to the dimensions of the world.

Following your bliss is a recipe for paralysis if you don’t know what you are passionate about. A better motto for most youth is “master something, anything”. Through mastery of one thing, you can drift towards extensions of that mastery that bring you more joy, and eventually discover where your bliss is. - Kevin Kelly

Thanks to Mary Ann Farley for her priceless feedback.

1 Comment

Unknown member
May 15, 2020

And then someone was saying that I am writing long articles..why don't you join me Quora??

Btw, nicely said. Passion is just a word until acted upon! Thanks for the article :)


Get insightful and deep essays to your inbox and my latest book by signing up my newsletter

Featured Essays
Recent posts

This website is supported in part by its readers. If you buy through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission at zero cost to you.

bottom of page