Follow The Passion or Be Patience?

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Illustration By
Abdurrahman Rabbani

Steve Jobs, the man behind Apple, achieved his undeniable success by doing what he loved to do. Quoting from his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, “I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love”. His speech motivated people to find the passion as it was the significant key to success. On the other side, there’s another story from Victoria Caroline Adams, the former Spice Girl, which today is known as a celebrated fashion designer with her line Victoria Beckham. Different from Jobs, Victoria didn’t meet her success by following her passion. She failed when she tried to sell her solo album but trembled down and turned into a flop. Those two are no different from what’s happening in the creative industry because creative talent has been questioning what’s the right step to achieve a successful career. Should we ‘find a passion and follow it’ or drop it instead? During this heated debate, we try to give another perspective from Psychology field, interviewing Afinnisa Rasyida, a Psychology Lecturer at Universitas Surabaya.

For some people, passion becomes a complex term to comprehend because it was commonly mistaken as a hobby. Then, what is passion? In a psychology term, passion is referring to an intellectual logic that formed a motivation in an individual. Passion can also be seen as a strong tendency towards particular objects, activities, concepts, or people. When someone has a passion for something, there’s a strong desire towards it, and passion fuels the action related to it. To sum it up, the sequence would be more like this: Passion – What we want to do naturally (not something just sounds good or meant to do) – Inner voice that pushes you to do it.

Essentially, passion lies within you. According to self-determination theory, a person has three innate and psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness, also called a connection to fulfill. Autonomy is referring to the need to feel that people as the masters of their own destiny and that they have at least some control over their lives; most importantly, to feel that they are in control of their behavior. Competence points to the fact that people have a need to build their competence and develop mastery over tasks that are important to them. And, connection refers to the needs of attachment and sense of belonging to other people. In order for those three to work, motivation is needed, and passion can be one of those that fuel the motivations.

Passion isn’t something to be taught on but rather be something to be experienced. It can grow through series activities or events that someone personally engaged in. Be aware that in the process, undoubtedly, one will go through an inevitable trial and error period. At that moment, someone will begin to show a tendency towards some activities according to their psychological needs. Over time, this tendency will become more reliable based on the similarity of someone’s views or values and evolved into a passion. It consists of all aspects of life, from work to love life. Even experts said that passion is a part of self-identity.

Between Passion and Reality

In reality, people can be caught up with passion, especially when faced with a situation in deciding the right career path. Some people already have a career plan they want to pursue, but fail to get it and instead ended up working at some field that it’s far from their passion and later feeling unsatisfied. Some want to try to pursue their passion for their career path but giving up because it didn’t meet the expected salary. Moreover, some people do not realize that they have been trapped with someone else’s passion because of the pressure from family or society, or perhaps, standard views in a culture. Deciding what’s best for the career path is indeed a complicated thing to do and requires a long process. According to the survey, a person can change his career path 5-7 times throughout their life. However, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Some several ways and theories suggest for achieving a successful career, one of them is to follow the passion. However, is this method really effective?

It’s not quietly true. The saying of “find a passion” or “follow your passion” can be misleading and drive into failure. It resonates with a study conducted by Stanford scholars “Mantras like “find your passion” carry hidden implications.” It’s because finding a passion considered to be a fixed idea, which if someone fails to perform it, they feel like a failure. Whoever believed that saying is tend to give up easily when challenges arise. The author put the situation of insisting people to find their passion is like putting all their eggs in one basket, but then, when it becomes difficult to carry, they drop that basket and let their eggs torn apart.

Developing Passion is A Better Idea

That’s why, instead of finding or following a passion, the better idea is developing the passion. It is a matter of further exploration, so dig deep yourself through different activities and learning. Many experts agree that deciding on a career is like putting a puzzle piece, such as interests, personality, values, and skills together to form a clear picture, a successful career.

Last but not least, knowing yourself becomes the main point of developing a passion. This development process allows anyone to be more open and learn many things. In Psychology, there are significant steps that you can follow. From self-reflection and self-assessment, which consists of recognizing yourself better (knowing goals, personality, ability, strengths and weaknesses, interests, and values), you can assess those aspects by asking yourself what you think, feel, and do before you jumped into the next step, career exploration. Career exploration can be done by knowing what’s best for your career path, for instance, making a career option list, evaluating your learning progress, strengthening the network, and looking for a mentor. It is an arduous process, but the urge to settle down in one career isn’t instant or something that you can decide easily. Remember, passion isn’t just doing something you love, but doing what you do passionately.