Why You Shouldn't Follow Your Passions
Start writing a post

Passions And The Pursuit of Happiness

Recent years have put the principles of idealism on a pedestal, drawing the spotlight of human motivation and decision to the pursuit of passions and dreams.

Passions And The Pursuit of Happiness

As a newly christened college student, the first question on everyone's minds is about my major. The answer somewhat disappoints them, as if they were expecting an outlandish response, but got hit with a routine dose of yet another aspiring business student. I know, how boring and unoriginal. This inevitably leads to a follow-up question or statement, which can roughly be summarised - "well I guess if you're passionate about that…" - almost condescendingly, as if its a merely superficial, unoriginal choice. Perhaps it is. But it is with good reason.

"Don't ever let somebody tell you-you can't do something, not even me. Alright? You dream, you gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you-you can't do it. If you want something, go get it." Period. – Chris Gardner, from The Pursuit of Happyness

Recent years have put the principles of idealism on a pedestal, drawing the spotlight of human motivation and decision to the pursuit of passions and dreams. This advice is seemingly ubiquitous, with college and career counselors, friends, and family alike are advising the current generation to seek their fantasies. This trend of putting short-term emotions in charge of decision making, favoring it over other attributes such as prudence and realism, sets a dangerous precedent for individuals to make major life decisions without carefully deliberating the consequences of their actions.

Of course, it is imperative to have somewhat of an interest in your work, as otherwise, it would soon become an unbearable chore, however, your studies or your job does not have to be the most "fun" thing in your life. More importantly, just because you find something fun or interesting, does not necessarily translate to it being a wise and sustainable career choice, and may not necessarily make you as happy in the long run.

In the day and age of a highly competitive job market, it is more essential than ever to have increasingly high qualifications and to cater to the needs of society. Diversifying into a variety of fields is great, but one must consider the practicality of obtaining a job in the future while making such decisions. If these factors are not heeded, it creates what economists call a "skills gap" - the difference between the qualifications and requirements of the economy, versus the actual qualifications and technical knowledge of potential employees. A mismatch between the two results in a hindrance in the economic growth and prosperity of a region or country.

Another reason why one must be cautious about this advice is that people have a misconception that doing something you like will somehow make the work seem easier. Spoiler alert: it does not. This results in people giving up easily, without persistence.

Furthermore, focusing on following a single passion makes people less likely to consider new potential areas of interest. This close-minded view can be detrimental to the success of the individual and the success of communities.

Passion is not a fixed quantity. One day, you may find yourself interested in something else. Is it worth gambling and going all in into one thing, that has the potential to backfire in the long run?

Therefore, you should choose to pursue a career in which you'd be good at what you do. Sure, you might be slightly more interested in something else, but is it really worth spending so much time, energy, and money to struggle through it, and eventually realize you made the wrong decision? Is it worth trading the long-term happiness for some short-term euphoria?

In today's world, it is easier than ever to maintain a hobby or a secondary profession in something that you are truly passionate about. So whenever someone tells you to follow your passions, think about it. Is it really the wisest choice? Would that truly make you happy?

Or, perhaps you might prefer to give more weight to the short term happiness, because in the immortal words of the father of modern economics, John Maynard Keynes, "in the long run, we are all dead."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

150 Words For Anyone Who Loves Football Games

Why I love high school football games, even though I don't like football.

Dallas News

When most think of high school they think of friend drama, parties, getting your drivers license, and best of all foot ball games.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Greatest Speeches In Modern American History

The United States is a relatively infantile nation, but its legacy of spoken rhetoric is one of the richest in the world.


Rhetoric, in all its forms, arrives under the scrutiny of historians both for its historical impact and literary value. Dozens of speeches have either rallied the nation together or driven it drastically apart –– the impact of speeches in politics, social movements, and wars is undeniable.

Keep Reading... Show less

What If The U.N. Actually United The Nations?

This is me taking a break from being cynical and imagining how the world could be one day.


By now, people are probably sick of hearing me talk about myself, so I’m changing it up this week. In keeping with the subject of my J-Term class, I’m asking myself a political what-if question. What if we could create a sovereign global government firmly grounded in justice that could actually adjudicate Earth’s many disparate nation-states into one unified world government?

Keep Reading... Show less

100 Things I'd Rather Do Than Study

Procrastination Nation, unite.

Panda Whale
Here are 100 things I'd rather to than study. I know the semester just started, but

    1. Watch a movie
    2. Take a nap
    3. Have a dance party
    4. Eat ice cream
    5. Bake a cake
    6. Cry just a little bit
    7. Knit a blanket
    8. Learn to ride a bike
    9. Build a crib
    10. Watch a hockey game
    11. Watch any game
    12. Play with my hair
    13. Dye my hair
    14. Go grocery shopping
    15. Learn to crochet
    16. Do 50 jumping jacks
    17. Drive cross country
    18. Take a bubble bath
    19. Squeeze lemons for lemonade
    20. Sell the lemonade
    21. Make heart-shaped ice cubes
    22. Moisturize my knees
    23. Paint my nails
    24. Find the cure for cancer
    25. Run a marathon
    26. Just kidding, run down the hall
    27. Squat my bodyweight
    28. Eat my bodyweight in French fries
    29. Hibernate until Christmas
    30. Cuddle my body pillow (unless you have a boo)
    31. Think about all the work I’m not doing
    32. Wash my bed sheets
    33. Vacuum my apartment
    34. Play mini golf
    35. Go swimming
    36. Tan in this Texas heat
    37. Sing like I’m about to win American Idol
    38. Blow up balloons
    39. Pop the balloons
    40. Make lists
    41. Write an Odyssey article
    42. Pet a puppy
    43. Adopt a puppy
    44. Pay my rent
    45. Order a pizza
    46. Start a garden
    47. Cook a turkey
    48. Find new music
    49. Clean my waffle iron
    50. Learn to make jam
    51. Jam to music
    52. Play scrabble
    53. Volunteer anywhere
    54. Celebrate a birthday
    55. Watch a makeup tutorial I’ll never use
    56. Go through old pictures on my phone
    57. Make a playlist
    58. Take a shower
    59. Clean my room
    60. Curl my hair
    61. Climb a rock wall
    62. Get a massage
    63. Play with Snapchat filters
    64. Roast a chicken
    65. Go fishing
    66. Chug some Snapple
    67. Ride in a cart around Walmart
    68. Count the days until the semester is over
    69. Overthink about my future
    70. Think of my future baby’s names
    71. Pin everything on Pinterest
    72. Text anybody
    73. Pray about life
    74. Watch a sunset
    75. Watch a sunrise
    76. Have a picnic
    77. Read a book (that’s not for school)
    78. Go to a bakery
    79. Snuggle a bunny
    80. Clean my apartment
    81. Wash my dishes
    82. Rearrange my furniture
    83. Physically run away from my problems
    84. Make some meatballs
    85. Learn to make bread
    86. Google myself
    87. Ride a Ferris wheel
    88. Get stuck on a Ferris wheel (that way, it’s not my fault I’m not studying)
    89. Wash my car
    90. Get on a plane to Neverland
    91. Find Narnia in my closet
    92. Jump on a trampoline
    93. Learn to ice skate
    94. Go rollerblading
    95. Ride a rollercoaster
    96. Carve a pumpkin
    97. Restore water in a third world country
    98. FaceTime my family
    99. Hug my mom
    100. Tell my friends I love them

    The Basics Of The United Nations

    As the General Assembly convenes, here is the United Nations 101


    For an organization that literally unites the nations, it amazes me how little is taught about the United Nations in schools, or at least where I went to school. It wasn't until I went to college and got a higher education that I learned the basics of the United Nations. I believe that every American should know at least the basics of what the United Nations does, especially since our country is one of the 5 permanent members. So here are the main "organs" of the United Nations.

    Keep Reading... Show less

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Facebook Comments