How “Finding Your Passion” May Be Limiting You

4 minutes

How “Finding Your Passion” May Be Limiting You

Have you ever been told to “Find Your Passion”?

As far as advice goes, it’s pretty vague and hardly helpful. Sure, discovering one’s passion might make your life more pleasurable and fulfilling. But most times, passion by itself is just not enough.

A fascinating study conducted by a pair of Stanford psychologists examined the hidden implications of mantras such as “Find Your Passion”. It found that people raised on a ‘Passion Diet’ tend to – 

1. Narrow their focus of interest and neglect other areas.

2. Feel discouraged when they find they might not be ‘good’ at their passions

3. Surrender their newfound interest at the slightest encounter of challenges.

The authors of the study note that-

Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket, but then to drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry

Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket

So why exactly does this happen?

Here’s the thing. Those of us who’re raised on a ‘Passion Diet’ are highly likely to develop a very rigid and fixed mindset. This manifests itself as the belief that we’re either good at something… or we just plain suck at it. There’s no room for evolution or growth. See the problem?

This is where the concept of Grit comes in. Now what in the world is that?

Grit is:

1. A sustained persistence towards achieving long-term goals

2. Not being concerned about rewards and recognitions along the way, and most importantly,

3. A combination of passion, resilience, ambition, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that may take months, years, or even decades to fulfill.

In other words,

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals

Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals

Here is what’s interesting. Angela Duckworth, the world’s leading expert on grit, spent most of her life researching  what would be the best predictor of success in life. She and her team researched across varied and diverse fields of life – schools, the workforce, the military, even National Spelling Bee competitions. They came up with ONE single characteristic that was common across all those who succeeded in these diverse strata.

As you may have guessed it, it’s ‘Grit’.

It isn’t IQ, it isn’t talent, it isn’t passion. It’s pure grit.

So how exactly do I cultivate grit?

Our best answer to this question lies in the study by the Stanford Psychologists we alluded to earlier wherein they advocate for the development of a “growth mindset.” 

The growth mindset, according to Angela Duckworth, is key to building grit. Why? Well, research has found that people with a growth mindset tend to persevere in their goals because of one very simple belief that they carry. They believe that failure is not a permanent condition.

The best way to achieve success, thereby, is by identifying our passions, and testing and measuring them every step of the way. One can become grittier, and thereby more successful, by getting back up after every failure and most importantly, by possessing the willingness to start over again with lessons learnt, each time.

“Grit is having stamina,” states Angela Duckworth.

Grit is sticking with your future – day in and day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.

Grit is sticking with your future - day in and day out

Finding your passion, therefore, is a 400-meter sprint. It is short-sighted and short-lived, leaving no room to hone your skills.

Building your grit, on the other hand, is an ultra marathon. It’s gruelling and difficult, but it will ultimately see you through past the finish line.

Would you like to know how gritty you are? Take YourDOST’s free Grit Test today.

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