Do we need to be passionate to be successful?

Do We Actually Need to Be Passionate About Our Career Path to Succeed Though?

Some say yes, most say no.


I feel like this question is very straightforward when we take it in the first glance: Yes!

Why would anyone disagree? Having interest and passion for what you are trying to achieve will make you do it more with greater success and enthusiasm.

Up to 87.7 percent of America's workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don't have passion for their work. Less than 12.3 percent of America's workforce possesses the attributes of worker passion. That is a staggering amount of non-passionate individuals who just go to work every day and come back and don't feel fulfilled with their jobs but the real question is does this matter?

Is it truly a problem that work is monotonous and boring? There is more to work in our lives and it may not be super exciting but it pays the bills and a lot of people are content with that. "Follow your passion" implies that work has a greater value than just being a means to an end–in other words, living to work as opposed to working to live. But it's totally okay if this is not your approach to work.

Moreover, the talk around work-life balance and work-life integration deal primarily on figuring out where you are on this spectrum. You first need to realize and choose what sort of life you want and what role work will play in it.

One of my main idols Richard Branson said that "There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you."

Seems reasonable if you want that for yourself. Not everybody is super into their work, even if they like what they plan to do. It is definitely common to find people who are more fulfilled doing other activities like maintaining friendships or hobbies instead of integrating everything you like with your career path.

But also, frankly, it would be a dumb move to not take advantage of the money flowing in by your interests if you can by integrating it. Then again, the line blurs depending on what you want to do and where you want to be in your life in regards to your passion.

I went to a recruiting event for an investment banking firm recently and one of the presenters talked about how being passionate is something that is developed by doing the work over and over again.

I don't think I agree but also at the same time, her advice seems important enough to reconsider my stance. Yes, you can develop an interest for things by doing it repeatedly because people tend to like things that they are good at (and practice does make you good at things) but I would argue that passion is something you love to do and while doing it, it doesn't feel like work.

It's like what Confucius said, "choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." But maybe that's what's wrong about it.

Unfortunately, not only do many companies not recognize the value of worker passion, they view it with suspicion. Many work environments are actually hostile to it.

Passionate workers in search of new challenges and learning opportunities are viewed as unpredictable, and thus risky. Most work in any field, when you start off at least, is about keeping your head down and doing the tasks assigned to you. Being passionate about what work you do is amazing but it could lead to dissatisfaction when you feel like you could be handling more responsibilities.

Not to be confused with a healthy regard for one's job, "obsessive passion" for one's work (basically, caring extensively about your job) can lead to an increase in "conflict between work and other life activities because the person cannot let go of the work activity," which then causes an overall sense of unhappiness and an increase in "burnout" at work.

On another note, even if we identify our passion, we might not know how to go about pursuing it. Some people (a lot of people, actually) are just simply not that good in what they are passionate about and how do they incorporate passion into their careers?

There is so much emphasis on feeling fulfilled in this generation's career path that it is hard to think about the detriments of passion.

Make no mistake, I am firmly in the tent of being passionate about what you do career-wise, but it is intriguing that we need to be careful while creating a healthy work-life balance with what we want to do.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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