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Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is an Incomplete Advice

In this article I’m going to be writing about why ‘Follow Your Passion‘ is an incomplete Advice.

You hear people say all the time that if you want to be successful and if you want to have a fulfilling career, you should follow your passion.

While that’s definitely true, it’s not a complete advice.

So what is the statement that completes it? 

Follow your passion and align it with your strengths.” 

That should be right advice that should be given because passion alone just doesn’t make things happen and the reason for that is because unless your passion is aligned with your natural strengths, things are not going to work out too smoothly.

So I’ll give my own example for this:

I’m interested in fields of entrepreneurship, personal growth, digital marketing, psychology and all these things, so these all can be thought of as my passion.

Now naturally someone will think “Okay you’re interested in marketing and entrepreneurship, that’s great! So you should have a company of your own, or you should have some kind of a digital marketing agency, or you should have something like a proper startup.

So that would be the natural thinking because I would be following my passion very directly in that case.

But you see the problem with that is that it’s not aligned with my strengths. My strengths do not involve working with teams or being very innovative when it comes to coming up with some product idea or marketing it, or something like that, that’s not my strength.  My strength always has been research -that I can research something and communicate that particular topic to others in a very simple way.

A second strength of mine is that I can speak well – I’m good at inter-personal communication and I’m very confident when it comes to speaking in front of other people.

So both these strengths naturally make me go towards teaching or training. So when I teach something I’m passionate about, for example I’m making these podcasts or I’m writing these blog posts, I feel much more fulfilled than I would feel if I was, let’s say, to start a marketing agency. I rather teach marketing than execute it.

So you can see even though my passion, the field or the area of interest remains the same, I can have two completely different careers.  If I were to just follow the advice of following my passion blindly, I would have a completely different career.  But because I’m aligning it with my strengths, I stand a much higher chance of being successful because when your passions and strengths are aligned that’s when you actually feel that you’re doing something which is true to your nature and you start to feel fulfilled.

Another example of this is from my other business, where I’m into teaching the subject of DSLR photography.  Now I’ve always loved photography and the moment someone sees that photography is my passion, the natural reaction I’ve seen in this field is – “Oh that’s it, you’ve found your calling, you should be a professional photographer.”  But I say this from first-hand experience that  whenever I did commercial shoots I just hated doing them. I just did not enjoy doing them at all.

Instead, when I switched over to teaching photography and realized that teaching is my strength and that I need to align it with my passion for photography, I started my photography workshops where the job of being a photography trainer fulfilled me much more and I was much happier.

For example, learning about all the settings on a DSLR camera is a complex thing when you start off, so I broke the process down into simple steps and made it something easy for people to understand so that they could learn photography in an easy way.  That was the value I enjoyed giving, not the value that normally people would associate with photography which is taking professional looking photographs.

Don’t get me wrong though – I’m not saying that you should not master your field. I did become a good photographer before teaching it. But the point I’m trying to make is from the long term point of view of things.

So first figure out your passion or your area of interest because that is definitely very important because that’s what’s going to keep you going once your initial surge of passion or the energy goes away.

So passion is definitely very important because it just gives you that boost and it’s going to make you sustain things.

In fact you might have to discover new passions every time or keep steering yourself towards something that feels better and more in tune with your nature.  That is a never-ending process.

So doing something you like is definitely important but then do not forget about aligning it with your strengths.

In order to be able to do, sometimes you may have to take an approach which against the norm and expect people to criticize you.

For instance, in my my field of training and teaching, I have heard the following saying countless times:

Those who cannot do, teach.

I do not believe that at all because in my experience I’ve seen that some people, who are the top experts in their fields, can be awful teachers. They just do not have that natural acumen to teach something.

So strengths can be very different and you will have to just ask yourself  – What are you naturally good at? What comes to you easily which other people just find very tough?  And I keep saying this over and over that a lot of times we take our strengths, our natural strengths, for granted because it comes so easily to us, we never feel that we made any effort to get this. So we feel that we do not deserve this because this came to us so easily. It’s been hardwired into us that every good thing has to be difficult and that’s why we sometimes we don’t become aware of what our true strengths are.

So that’s what I wanted to say – that do follow your passion but then align it with your innate strengths.

You’ll be much more happy, fulfilled, and you will have a much higher chance of success, there is no doubt about that.

4 replies
  1. Chhaya
    Chhaya says:

    You are absolutely right Kush . Passion should be aligned with your strength. I m a professor but my inclination is more towards entrepreneurship. Earlier it was making projects . With time my passion is changing and also my strength. I think I will be more successful if I do smthing in the field of education only . I have to align my passion with my strength also because I am fighting a wrong battle now !

    • Kush Sharma
      Kush Sharma says:

      Absolutely spot on Chhaya. Just the fact that you are aware of this makes sure that you have already won half the battle. Good luck to you!

  2. bala
    bala says:

    hello mr. kush sharma…my self bala. i am so happy to starting my convarsation with you. now i am in ig dailama. actually i completed my b.tech in 2012. after that i joined in banking sector. i worked there for three years. and i didn’t find any growth in my career. five month ago i decided to join in software sector. but the main problem is no one is there to take me into their organization. i was rejected by many compines. becouse i dont have any experiance in software sector.. so please let me know what do i have to do..its my humble request to you sir..please please answer me…

    • Kush Sharma
      Kush Sharma says:

      Hi Bala. It’s understandable from their point of view why they would not take someone who doesn’t have experience. If you really want to be in the software sector, you should start having a plan. Maybe you need to start smaller or do some additional qualifications like a master’s degree. Also why did you join the banking sector after B.tech? Seems to me like you’re a little confused. But there is nothing wrong with confusion. Confusion ultimately is the pathway to clarity. I would suggest you spend sometime with yourself and find out what you really want to do. If it is indeed software related job, then make a plan to increase your skills/education/experience even if you have to start small and work your way up from there. good luck!


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