January 24, 2021

Why Following Your Passion Doesn’t Equal Happiness

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice “follow your passion” at least once in your life. In theory, I understand it—don’t sell your soul for a paycheque (at least that’s how I take it)—but in reality, it’s one I struggle with.

Because I’ve seen this phrase warp into an expectation that if your work/job/career isn’t 100% amazing, 100% of the time, it must mean you’re not passionate about it anymore so it’s time to move on. Or if you have to do some work you don’t like or work that’s beneath you, then you’re not following your passion so it’s time to move on. Or if you’re not the boss then you can’t be passionate about your work.

It left me confused. What is following your passion? And is it just a fancy way of people getting out of putting in the hard work of chasing their dreams? Is it trying to skip the tough stuff and the putting in your dues stuff? Or am I just not passionate enough?

And what are my passions anyway?

I’ve wrestled with this question for a while, unsure if I should be content with my life or not. Am I passionate about my work, my life, my choices? Is it important? Does passion equal happiness? Is that the goal?

When I looked at my day-to-day life what I saw was an exhausted person who tried to do too many things with her day.

Over some weeks I asked these questions but never felt like I knew the answer. What did become clear, however, have I had a general feeling of discontent and I didn’t know why. So I leaned into it.

Here’s what I discovered: it had nothing to do with passion. When I looked at my day-to-day life what I saw was an exhausted person who tried to do too many things with her day. I followed the thread and noticed inconsistent sleep patterns, poor eating choices, and a lack of organization. OK. This seems like a problem, how do I fix it?

First of all, I had to get clear on what I wanted my days to look like and what I wanted to accomplish. No more floating through life. Next, I established a routine that would help me do this. For me, it means getting up a couple hours earlier and following a better sleep schedule. It means planning ahead and saying “no” more often. It means putting my health first and paying attention to what my body’s telling me.

These things may seem obvious but for so long I haven’t listened to the cues from my body or mind, choosing instead to push trough. A few months into my new routine and I can tell you, it’s making a difference.

No, I’m still not sure what my passions are or if I even have any. But I can tell you this, I’m structuring my life to go after what I want and I’m feeling pretty passionate about that.

Robyn Roste

Robyn Roste is a professional writer with blogging, marketing and tourism experience. She also has a bachelor of journalism and diplomas in media and communications and biblical studies.

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