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The Worst Piece of Advice

The Worst Piece of Advice

It’s College Graduation Season or, as I like to call it, Trite Advice Season.

Beating out, by a nose, blissfully ignorant platitudes such as the ever-recycled, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!” we get the world’s worst piece of advice in the history of bad advice: “Follow your passion!”

“Follow your passion!” is the spoken-word illegitimate sister of the “Live! Love! Laugh!” tattoo.  It sounds all well and good, and maybe even looks pretty in scrolly font (or, eek, Chinese lettering we hope actually says what we paid for) but it doesn’t do squat to help you accomplish your goals.  And why is this?  Because it tempts us down the flowery path of thinking that if we are just passionate enough about something, it will all work out in our favor.

Well, it won’t.  At least not for long.

Perhaps we’ll get lucky.  Perhaps it will work out for a while.  Perhaps it even did when we were younger, when the stakes we lower, when the time horizon of sustaining success was shorter.

But, now you’ve graduated.  Welcome to the real world, a place where you can’t just FOLLOW your passion.  You have to INVEST in your passion.  You have to show up, shut up, and do the work.  Over, and over, and over again.

Expect to get roughed up by your passion.  Expect to be disappointed by your passion.  Expect to hate your passion for a while.  Expect your passion to play hard to get.  Expect your passion to make you work for it.  Your success in this Thing which you hold so dear starts on the other side of adversity, when you’ve put in the hard yards, and when your passion has fully beaten into you the notion that grit is found at the very bottom of the well.

There’s not going to be anything easy about it.  But, if there was, why would it be worth your passion anyway?

Laura Gassner Otting
ideas@limitlesspossibility.com
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