Practical Passion

We’re often told to “follow your passion” in choosing a career, but that’s not necessarily the best advice. Forbes explains why:

You can have more than one passion. Few of us have a single, overriding goal in life—and that wouldn’t necessarily be healthy. Think through what interests you, the kinds of tasks and activities you enjoy, and find one that’s both motivating and appropriate for a long-term career.

Passions change. What dazzles you as a teenager may not interest you as an adult. As you grow closer to retirement, your goals for life may change. Don’t lock yourself into a single path you can’t get free of, should the need arise.

You may not know what your passion is. Most of us have many different interests. Not all of them get us excited, though. You may have to spend some time doing jobs you don’t enjoy before discovering what you really want to do with your life.

• Passion doesn’t automatically translate to skill. You can spend years trying to master what you’re passionate about, only to find you don’t really have the talent to do it professionally. Be realistic about your skills before committing to a lifetime of disappointment.

Passion can fade. Over time, that thing you once loved may turn into just a job; a series of tasks that doesn’t bring you any joy. Be sure your passion can sustain you over the long term, or be prepared to take on something more stable even if you’re less enthusiastic about it. You can always find fulfillment off the job.

Passion may not pay the bills. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that many worthwhile endeavors don’t pay very well. Choose something you can do well, even if you don’t love it, so you don’t have to scramble to make a living forever.

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