Read This Today: “Finding Your Passion” is Bullsh*t

Read this article by Mark Manson:

“Screw Finding Your Passion”

When I first saw the title of the article, I wasn’t sure what to think. Is it going to be misanthropic and tell me to give up on enjoying my life? Or is it going to present something mind-changing that reframes passion-searching in an uplifting way? The gist of the article can be summed up in this excerpt:

The common complaint among a lot of these people is that they need to ‘find their passion.’

I call bullshit. You already found your passion, you’re just ignoring it. Seriously, you’re awake 16 hours a day, what the fuck do you do with your time? You’re doing something, obviously. You’re talking about something. There’s some topic or activity or idea that dominates a significant amount of your free time, your conversations, your web browsing, and it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.

It’s right there in front of you, you’re just avoiding it. For whatever reason, you’re avoiding it. You’re telling yourself, “Oh well, yeah, I love comic books but that doesn’t count. You can’t make money with comic books.”

Fuck you, have you even tried?

I like this guy.

When I was a kid (which, to think about it, wasn’t all that long ago), I wanted to be a teacher, artist, astronomer-astronaut, doctor, world traveler, and owner of a pet tiger. There was no reason I couldn’t be any one of those things. For a while now, I’ve been struggling with the “reality check” argument. As a student in my last year of college undergrad, I get asked a dozen times a month: “So what are you going to do with a linguistics degree?”

The hell if I know.

But I don’t say that. I usually joke that I’m going to be a great barista some day, which is unlikely, as I would suck at making coffee for people and would constantly mess up people’s double mochaccino pour overs with skim milk topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. I hate that question. And I bet that you either do or have hated that question sometime in your life. Screw that. There’s so much pressure to do something great and honorable with your life. Actually enjoying yourself is prioritized below pretty much everything else. Pursuing degrees in the arts, liberal arts, and social sciences is not nearly as venerable as anything in the engineering fields and the hard sciences. I was a Computer Science major for 2 1/2 years. I enjoyed playing with code in high school, my parents both work with computers, and I’m Asian. I either have to become a doctor, a computer engineer, or a famous author – or all of the above to bring honor to my family.

Mulan please bring honor to us all GIF | The Lonely Tribalist

But I grew to despise it. I discovered that I hate staring at a screen searching for misplaced semicolons and rearranging linked lists. Classes and homework became soul-draining. But to switch majors would be admitting defeat. It would be letting my mother down – her own daughter couldn’t beat the odds of women in STEM and hack Computer Science (pun intended). What a failure.

Largely thanks to the support and inspiration of my partner, Moose, who studied linguistics before dropping out to travel the world and learn on his own, I grew the ovaries to switch majors. My mother was somewhat disappointed, but in the few years I had been attending college, she grew a certain amount of understanding. She had eased into the realization that what she cared about most was for her children to be happy. Having a good salary helps a great deal, but she’s slowly working her way toward accepting that her kids are going to be teachers and non-profit workers, rather than scientists or doctors or lawyers. My dad still holds out hope and inserts his judgment here and there, teasing me about my switch of studies. He’s supportive in the end, though.

Crayon Heart Love Hand Drawing Stock Photo | The Lonely Tribalist

I don’t have a passion. Yet. I don’t write everyday – I have this blog, but I haven’t quite made it a habit to post every other day. (I’ve read it takes anywhere from 3-12 weeks to establish a habit). I don’t make art. I don’t especially enjoy cooking or baking. Screw sports. And I enjoy white wine, but only every so often, so I’d fail as an alcoholic, too.

I don’t need to find a job that I love every moment of. I don’t need to scour literature and forums to discover my one true passion. I need to be patient with myself. Keep chugging. Maintain a vision of the future with heavy consult from the past and the present. My passion is here. I might not see it clearly yet, but my passion is right here.

What are you passionate about? What do you find yourself loving doing on a regular basis? (Or wish you could be doing on a more regular basis?) Agree/disagree with the article? What do you think of “Do what you love; love what you do?”

26 Replies to “Read This Today: “Finding Your Passion” is Bullsh*t”

  1. This just about sums up every thing I’ve had racing around my head for the past few years, maybe even my whole life . I was under the belief that I had to find my passion or at least my future career in high school or I would be stuffed, what I decided on made me miserable, so now I’m back to square one and its years later so I’m now completely stuffed. But of course that isn’t true and I love this post for making that very clear to that irritating pessimistic voice which is still nattering at the back of my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes “love what you do” works. Sometimes you hate it and it’s time to get out if you can. But not everyone has those choices. If a person’s clinging on by their economic fingernails, choices narrow way the hell down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is true. This does seem to only apply to those who aren’t hanging on by a thread. And while it might be romantic to think that absolutely anyone, even people with only $10 to their name a month, can just do what they love. Sucks. Thanks for the food for thought!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is the good stuff! 🙂 great read thank you! And exactly what I needed to read today – really got me thinking in a different direction! I’mnearly finished with my law degree and I need to start deciding what to do next, and this just gave me a new perspective!


  4. Wait a minute, doesn’t a linguistic major make linguini?

    I think you find what you enjoy doing, not necessarily your “passion”, and avoid a job that you hate. Some have one career their whole life, some have 5 or 10. Whatever floats your boat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I make a mean linguine alfredo with bacon and broccoli, so yes, studying linguistics makes me awesome at that.

      And I’m all for keep my boat afloat. In my job as a telefund caller, I spoke with so many alumni who ended up doing something completely different from what they studied – and they didn’t seem any worse for wear. If anything, many seemed grateful for the college experience anyway. So if that’s my worse case scenario, then let that boat keep sailing!


      1. I wanted to be an astronaut too – stuffs about space and universe used to fascinate me so much. And for pet I wanted a Dolphin. I didn’t grow up to be an astronaut and for pets I’ve only managed to keep an aquarium of mollies and guppies at max. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really needed this today! I’m a college undergrad too. I’m a journalism and mass communication major but I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. There’s so much pressure to do something important and big and be the best, but in the process of trying to do that all I’m doing is making myself incredibly stressed. It clouds my ability to see what I really want. I love how you said that enjoying ourselves has been put as our last priority. And it’s so true. It shouldn’t be that way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stress is good to a degree, but to live our lives drenched in stress can’t be healthy. We likely live more stressful lives than most other organisms in the wild. Even though gazelles face the possibility of being eaten by a lion or a cheetah, I bet their lives aren’t half as stressful as ours. There’s something pretty off about that! Thanks for reading and I’m glad it could do something for your day 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is great – and how wonderful is it that you discovered so much of this in college! So many people only figure some of this ish out later in life (namely, that you don’t have to follow a specific path, that you should try to pay attention to what’s important to you on a daily basis).

    I spent 8 years working at a well-paying corporate job, and I was miserable. After turning 30, I quit earlier this year (you can check out my journey on my blog and wrote a book, and now I have an agent and she’s just sent it out to publishers. With any luck, I’ll be a published author at some point in the next year or so, and it’s all because I recognized that what I love to do is make up stories and make people laugh and decided to see if I could make a living at it (and really wanted to stop being super miz at work).

    Congrats on your journey and I love your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I feel that I have had an advantage growing up in an era where so much information is made readily available and people’s experiences are so widely spread. I feel lucky I’ve had access to data on the modern human condition. I get to learn from people before me, but I know I’ll still have plenty of missteps of my own to fumble into. Thanks again and good luck with the process of getting your first book published! That’s so wonderful to hear!


  7. This post is brilliant. I remember feeling the exact same way my senior year in college, and I hate to break it to you, but I’m almost 25 and with a master’s and I still have no clue. That isn’t to say you won’t though. But if a couple of years down the road you still do’t know, it’s totally fine. I just have to keep telling myself that!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that there’s no age by which you *have* to have “stuff figured out.” I’m thirty and have friends much older and younger and most are figuring stuff out. You’re all good 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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