Western culture perpetuates an idea of following your heart to become whatever you desire to become.
Eastern culture supports long hard work in areas not necessarily related to personal passions to make a living.
It’s the classic struggle between doing what makes you happy or doing what makes a living. Sometimes doing what makes a living won’t make you feel fulfilled, other times doing what makes you happy won’t keep you alive, and most of the time what makes you feel fulfilled isn’t what you think.
I’ve heard both sides of the argument. I grew up in an environment heavily focused on academic performance, regardless of whether it makes an individual happy or not. I’ve also read books and met people who simply followed whatever made them happy.
But I don’t think the two schools of thought are incompatible.
Passion isn’t the same as happiness.
The people that criticize the western perspective often criticize the fact that it’s heavily based on feeling, and sometimes you just have to take a career that you hate in order to support you and your family. The western perspective is often criticized as noncommittal and impulsive.
But that, I believe, is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of passion.
If I were merely doing something to be happy, the commitment and level of involvement would only be to the level of making myself feel good. Nothing more. But when someone is truly passionate about what they do, they are driven, committed, and determined to go the distance for what they are passionate about.
People who find their passion are some of the most committed people I know. They are teachers that have been teaching for over fifty years because they love working with students, Writers who continue to write because they love sharing what they have to say, Programmers who write code because they love building new things, and so on.
Passion isn’t simply doing what makes you happy, it’s committing to what makes you fulfilled. (tweet that)
Following your passion isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. The challenges will vary as time goes on, but the purpose will remain the same.
What has been the greatest struggle in following your passion?