Is it necessary to find your passion?
It has been a hard-thinking week, and I need to focus on work, so here are my thoughts. Many books focus on this quest to find your passion, such as "The Element" by Ken Robinson. In contrast, there are some other authors like Mark Manson --author of the Subtle art of not giving a fuck -- who vividly said: Screw Finding your Passion. How funny! I guess I am more in the middle of both, which is the same as saying that I have no idea if finding your passion is necessary. But the thing for me is: Is it that easy to find it? Or better: Do you even need to discover it? Why do you need it? And when trying to answer those questions, the following ones come up:
Is there anything like the perfect job?
What do you enjoy doing?
Why is finding your passion a static goal?
1.- Is there anything like the perfect job?
The assumption could be that if you find your passion, you can identify the perfect job. I guess you know I am lucky to have my dad as a role model. I remember hearing him in a speech saying that while working and doing research in math, he never felt it like work. You know what, I believe him. I know he found his passion for mathematics early, and I guess he is also lucky for that. However, I also noticed that some of his days at the University feel precisely like work. Especially with bureaucratic stuff and boring meetings. He significantly dislikes it --to put it mildly.
As for me, as a Ph.D. I enjoyed what I was doing, --particularly my first three years-- and despite that, I probably still hated 20 % of the things I had to do and grew to a more significant number later. And for Hynts now, I can tell you I do not like to follow a client to beg them to send the data in the politest way possible. When in fact, I am sure that I am doing something positive for them.
There is no perfect job. Every job sucks sometimes
In my opinion, and being honest, even if you are lucky enough to find what you are passionate about, I do not think there is a perfect job. Every job sucks sometimes. However, it is on us to decide upon one that aligns with what we enjoy doing and reduce the percentage of sucking of it--if you allow me to say it like that.
2.- What do you enjoy doing?
Following the previous question, I somehow see finding my passion as an arduous process and one I do not know if I will ever achieve. Imagine somebody who dreams of living in a 5 million mansion and who will only be happy if acquired. What if it takes that person 30 years to get it? Would you give up all these 30 years for the idea of happiness when you achieve something? I would not! I would rather enjoy the journey, be happy about it, and see where I am after 30 years. At least, I think I will be proud of what I have been doing. The same reasoning applies to finding my passion. Until I spot it, if I ever do, I will try to do things that I enjoy --work-wise. And in case I forget what they are today, I will list them for my future self:
Learning non-stop (leaning towards technical skills)
Pass knowledge to people
Work with highly talented people
Provide and generate value
Work on things that I see having an impact
Nailing down these points may be more important and helpful than starting a quest to find my passion. For me, if any work has some part of these points stated, despite I may still hate some things the work entails (There is no perfect job), chances are that I will be doing what I enjoy.
Focus on the journey and on things that you enjoy doing.
3.- Why is finding your passion a static goal?
Is it not possible that the things you like now may change in the future? I think so, and this is strictly what this point is about! What today makes you tick may not be the case next month or year.
During the first year of my Biotec Bachelor, I enjoyed the wet lab and would have loved to end up working in pharma. I ended up hating the lab and moving to a more math field.
During the first year of my Ph.D., I wanted to do a PostDoc as a next step. Now I started a company.
I did not think about teaching during my Ph.D.; now I see it as something fun and fulfilling, and I learn quite a bit with it.
In my opinion, if we frame passion as a static thing in the future that we may achieve or not, we are missing out. Finding my passion is nothing less than a journey where I should try doing things that I enjoy while understanding two things: that there is no perfect job and that the things I have fun doing may change as the years go by.
Finding your passion is much more of a dynamic process than a static endpoint.
Sometimes it is better to leave the endpoints and value the journey. As I said at the beginning, I had an "interesting" week full of thinking. I will share this quote from my master supervisor --Steven Kelk-- in a recent mail after discussing the future:
Remember, in a situation, there is no wrong decision. Just different paths, all of which can end up in a good place.
I guess then, just make your way to a good place by doing things you like and changing them if needed as they evolve.
Books I read in October-November
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Dan Millman
Barefoot Investor. Scott Pape
Win. Harlan Coben
The Complete Robot. Isaac Asimov
Tödliche Oliven. Tom Hillenbrand
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From a friend,