Why Chasing Your Passion might be BS


The idea of having and finding just one spesific 'passion' connected to something you're able to DO as the primary means to happiness and a sense of purpose has always been foreign to me. It's somehow intuitively clear that happiness is a state of mind that has very little to do with DOing, rather doing is something that flows naturally from a place of contentment. And instead of constant passion seeking, living contently becomes the purpose of life, or the whole question of purpose becomes redundant in the process. 


This is all fine and dandy, but what about real life? you might ask. Let me try to explain what I'm thinking about:


For someone who buys this 'follow your passion' -stuff, outerly I've done just that: found my passion playing the piano, became a pianist/pedagogue, lived happily ever after.. NOT. It would be dishonest to say I didn't have other areas of interest growing up, and now as well. It would be dishonest to say that following a certain passion has somehow solved the complexities of existence for me, or even showed me the way through darkness when the very thing itself can be a source of endless frustration - as much as it can be a source of abundant joy and accomplishment. Just like everything else.

For me personally the crucial question is: what's the primary motive for action? For most people it's getting validation, even if they don't know it. I've caught myself in that trap once or twice. A 'passion' can be just that - you follow what's given you displays of approval and affection. It's absolutely not some pure quest for self-improvement - a questionable concept in itself when taken to extremes it often is - but something quite regressed. I would argue throwing away these passions for a while and taking a look inwards, because just being very passionate doesn't necessarily make one very wise.

If I'd absolutely have to name my passion it would be living a life of balance, inner peace, and empathy. Living in a way that gives you the tools to deal with anything that gets thrown at you = life. Sounds like a damn cliche but it's hard enough! Simply 'finding and following my passion' hasn't gotten me anywhere worthwhile in life, even though I've travelled, played together with great people, and received recognition. I've gotten to experience many amazing things through my musical journey but on the way I've also seen may unhappy and disillusioned people, many of whom don't have the self-knowledge to start working their experience out. It's sad really how many become victims of their own ambitions, regardless of their level of outer success. I've also seen what lack of self-worth, toxic perfectionism, and unhealthy mental/physical habits can do to you.

It all makes perfect sense somehow: our schooling from early on focuses on the subject matter at hand. In the case of musicians it's all about our skills as singers/instrumentalists, and in adulthood we work hard to get seen, heard, noticed in some way for those skills we've so lovingly nurtured. Somewhere on the way many forget to take care of themselves, and this fluffy bubble called a career (or the lack of it) begins to form their whole identity. Top that with the complexities of our (music related) social play, and we're left with many who gradually become unable even to process/produce simple, whole-hearted, and authentic interactions.

I'm not arguing against core competencies here, but it's the wisdom you collect on the way - what ever way you've chosen - that's kinda crucial. The obsession on "finding and fulfilling ones passion' haunts many of us when the whole concept is actually just an easy way out for dodgy self-help gurus. When you think about it, isn't the word itself a double-edged sword, something very ecstatic at best but pure suffering at it's worst? When you've seen enough of that you long to transcend it in your life, move past that juvenile constant urge to prove yourself through your abilities if you had it in the first place, and create your life from a different perspective. It's hard because there's a lot of fake fluff lurking in every corner, and you have to be wary not to judge yourself  by the very same fluffy standards you're trying to oppose. Good luck!
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