In his famous commencement speech to Stanford's 2005 graduating class, Steve Jobs famously weighed in on how passion shaped his career - and how it should guide yours.
Jobs said, "You've got to find what you love…. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle."
Jobs message is clear but his path to success wasn't exactly a straight line. By now, most people know his story; a college dropout, Jobs drifted around Oregon, California and India before returning home where he met up with Steve Wozniak. He and Wozniak had a less than ambitious plan to assemble and sell circuit boards to local computer enthusiasts. They eventually stumbled into an opportunity to sell the fully assembled computers for $500 apiece. Apple was born seemingly out of nowhere - 40 years later, it's hard to walk 20 feet without seeing someone using one of their iconic products.
Some might call this luck - but most successful people know there's no such thing as being 'lucky' in life or business. in fact, this theory has been tested by psychologist Richard Wiseman - his studies conclude that 'lucky' people simply have a better eye for recognizing and seizing opportunity.
So, then what is the correct way to find your passion? I'd say there is no perfect answer, BUT - if you don't love what you're doing now (or even LIKE it, for that matter), then it may be time to start looking for something new.
And although the 'anti-passion' faction might disagree, there's a way to follow your passion that isn't careless or foolish. Sure, if you're 5'3", it's probably not a good idea to let your passion for the NBA prompt you into quitting your day job so you can try out for the Lakers - it's important to be realistic.
Perhaps a good start is to sit down and think about your strengths; are you a good communicator? Do you have a talent for writing? Maybe you love problem solving or have excellent attention to detail. There are great jobs out there for people who have natural talents like these. Then figure out what qualifications it takes to get that job and make a plan to achieve your goal.
This is a more pragmatic approach than Jobs took, but the principle is the same: figure out what you love (or what you're good at) and keep your eyes open for opportunities.
If you're happy with what you do for work, odds are you'll be successful. If you're successful, it's likely you'll feel passionate about it - it's a self-sustaining cycle.
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