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Passion is Overrated

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2008, 04:13 PM
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Default Passion is Overrated

How many times have you heard of the well intentioned but misguided advice: "Do what you love and the money will follow"?

Had I taken the advice literally, I would have starved. Why? Well, I enjoyed (and still do) sleeping, idling, daydreaming, watching TV, snacking, and a host of other things that, erm, don't generate much income, if at all.

Money will follow meh?

Come on. Tell me, as a student, how much do you know about the world? 99% of what you enjoy won't be good for your future career. Ok, the 99% figure may be exaggerated. But by just a little.

Yet, when VIPs with successful careers give advice, they always say they're passionate about what they do, and you should too choose what you're passionate about. And the money will follow.

What they do not say is how they chanced upon the right industry, or heeded advice from knowledgeable relatives to choose that industry, or were catapulted to the top by people they know. Or that they were simply lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and were given the opportunities to prove themselves.

So, teachers and parents, do your kids a favour.

Give them the advice: ask them to find out about the different career options, the various industries, their pros and cons, the opportunities, whether the industries suit their aptitudes and strengths, the average pay, the median pay, the top quartile pay, the top earners, the bottom earners, and then armed with as much information as possible, choose what they think they'll enjoy most given the constraints.

Not easy.

But at least it's much better than "follow your passion".

[Edit: On the other hand, there's Steve Jobs saying "you can't connect the dots forward" and "you've got to find what you love" in an excellent graduation speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005. Watch his speech below.]

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2008, 06:30 PM
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Default 1873

Of your "vices", I enjoy idling and daydreaming. I wouldn't consider these passions though.

But it explains the job I end up doing somewhat well (always could be better). I am currently doing what most would call business process re-engineering, to daydream of new ideas to help people generate more idle time to daydream themselves (e.g., think of high-value add).

No, I do not think I will be a VIP soon giving speeches on career but I am earning what a statistically average Singaporean would envy and an elite will accept as minimum wage.

The goal seriously is to be happy because you are going to spend a significant portion of your life working. If you are paid too low, you would be unhappy throughout your free time and work time. If you are paid below average (like almost everyone else, including the second highest paid person), you may be unhappy from time and time and hopefully your interest will work will make you on the average more happy than upset, frustrated.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2008, 06:31 PM
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Default 1874

Must be the jet lag, the last sentence should read as "you may be unhappy from time to time and hopefully your interest in work will make you on the average more happy than upset or frustrated or .

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2008, 07:59 PM
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Default 1875

Did you know Steve Jobs' salary is 1$ after he was fired in 1985 from Apple and re- hired into Apple in 1998? The 1$ is just so that he is eligible for Apple's employee medical care plan.

He lives off stocks he own.

I agree that luck plays the most important factor. But elementary probability can show you that the longer you are around in a field, it gets more probable that you will get lucky.

To hang around longer in some fields, most people require passion. And that is what people mean when they say one needs passion.

Watch this:
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2008, 09:10 PM
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Default 1877

Thanks, Edwin. The video is so good I've included it in my post above.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2008, 12:50 PM
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Default 1884

i am not too sure about blindly following in your instincts .

it's still better to be logical:
find a space in the intersection of
1. passion
2. talent
3. economic demand

blindly following your instinct may lead you somewhere. but most prob. you would have just enjoyed the experience but have gone no where.

steve job is exceptional. if you think you are. then power to you!
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 13-06-2008, 04:41 PM
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Default 1929

All this talk about passion by great successes might be considered using this analogy:

A successful mountain climber speaking of his achievements at scaling peaks, would passionately focus on the views from the tops, the spiritual experience of fulfilment and calm and being one with nature, and all that.
He or she could of course explain the use of oxygen tanks, the perils of altitude sickness and deep crevasses, blah blah etc., but that's likely not most desired.

So yes, passion can be overrated, but it remains the overview.
Without it, wonder how much more the money's worth earning.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 14-06-2008, 03:38 PM
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Default 1930

my wife is teaching dance and she loves her job. She started teaching for a small token 10 yr ago, which opened other teaching opportunities, now her take home pay is 93% of's salary beachmark. With this she now also an entrepreuer on dance areas.
You see... follow your heart, $$$ will follow. How many of us can enjoy our career yet earn a good salary.
You must start from somewhere. Remember 10 years ago, ppl like her will be discourage to enage this path, yet she followed her heart and she has no regrets.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 14-06-2008, 03:47 PM
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Default 1931

Kudos! She has achieved what many people can't/won't/don't dare to. Good for her.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 15-06-2008, 12:37 PM
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Default 1934

She has achieved what many people can't/won't/don't dare to - That will be me!
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