How many times have you heard the mantra: “finding your passion”?
New research around the way we perceive our interests shows that this simple mantra could be doing us more harm than good.
The idea of ‘finding your passion’ suggests that innate skills or interests already exist within us, strong and unwavering without much effort on our part.
Imagine you’re interested in sports.
‘Finding your passion’ suggests that the first time you pick up a basketball, you’re going to be an NBA player. But that’s not the case.
Flip that mantra to ‘develop your passions’ and everything changes.
The study suggests when we believe passions are developed, it makes us more open to discovering new interests and better able to overcome hurdles when pursuing those interests.
So, what does this all mean?
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Develop your passion if you haven’t found them
Transitioning from high school to university is difficult if you’re still trying to find your passion.
All is not lost. Start looking!
Try out a coding club in your area. Join a sports team, or volunteer for a cause that means something to you. If you have a budding interest, but you’re not a superstar (… yet), keep at it. Developing your skills will probably make you much more interested in that activity.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
The idea of ‘finding your passion’ means that people are shutting off to other possible areas of interest.
Developing your passions means you are more open to discovering new interests, and pursuing more than one passion at once.
Professional dancer Merritt Moore always had a keen interest in both dance and physics. She was always told to choose one or the other, and that she couldn’t possibly pursue them both professionally. Now, she’s dancing with the Norwegian National Ballet, with a PhD in Quantum Optics too!
It won’t be easy
If we have a fixed passion then it should come easily to us, right?
That’s another issue that’s cropping up with the idea of fixed passions. People are giving up on their interests when the going gets tough, whether that’s because of a lack of motivation or a necessary skill that you just can’t get a handle on.
The study suggests that those who sought to develop their passions were less likely to give up at these hurdles.
So, whether you’ve hit a hurdle in Java, or can’t quite jump those hurdles in athletics, the best thing to do is pick yourself up and try again.
STEM + X
If you haven’t familiarised yourself with STEM + X, it’s time to do a little revision.
STEM + X means finding your dream career by adding STEM skills together with your passion, or your ‘X’ factor.
If you’re having a hard time developing your passions, you can take a look at some of the people living their passions on our profiles page.
Maybe you’re interested in saving the planet from global issues, or helping others with health. Whatever your budding passion is, there’s a way to discover (and develop!) it on CareerswithSTEM.com.au!
Science + Sport = Sports psychologist
Exercise science and psychology are less chalk and cheese than you might think. Luke Stutter studied a dual degree in the two at QUT because he’s “always been interested in how our mental health affects our physical health.”
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.