Thursday, January 21, 2021
When Steve Jobs delivered his commencement speech to Stanford University’s class of 2005, he instructed them to find their passion. “You’ve got to find what you love,” Jobs said. “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Jobs no doubt had their best interests in mind, but now Stanford psychologists say that his advice wasn’t actually the most helpful.
In a 2018 paper published in Psychological Science, they explain that if someone wants to successfully pursue their interests, they should “develop their passion” instead.
The difference between finding and developing your passion is nuanced but crucial, the team argues. Telling someone to “find passion” enforces the idea that each of us has a great passion within us and our life purpose is to realize what that is and be happy. That’s a dangerous mindset because it can limit the passions that a person ultimately pursues — and may prime them to give up if their passion is proving difficult to commodify into a job. “Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket,” the researchers write, “but then drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.”
Oh. So "find your passion" is wrong, after all? Darn. I guess I can't justify being a barista at Starbucks while I try to make it in the movie biz. Maybe at 35 it's time to move on? Probably it's the case that you want to be at least mildly interested in what you get up to, or at least be able to make some money at it. Don't listen to psychologists -- always a bad idea.