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What I do remember about the book is that it offered a two prong approach to finding work; 1 the indentification of specific skill sets and 2 the process of networking to understand how those skill sets would work in a particular work environment that you were interested in being in. I found the book empowering because it allowed me to see a bigger picture and wider applicability to the skills and talents that I had. I think you are onto something here. That this notion of following your passion came in makes sense.

Not only was it coming at the end of the Sixties, but also at the point where going to college became the norm and a requirement for a middle-class life. It was also when the first generation of kids raised in suburbia entered the workforce. This meant that people had to decide what career they were interested in without necessarily having any knowledge of what people in that field actually did, or even any notion of what people who had jobs did all day.

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So searching within for your passion became a way to decide which area of knowledge work to head into. Which, by the way is what the film Inception is about and why so many people disliked it. Dreams are so cool. Doing the necessary research and patient level building for that is tedious and methodical and requires an enormous, crushing burden of perfectionism. Very different from having a dream.

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Musicians in symphony orchestras are the most unhappy category of workers either 1 or 2. Being a music student, having intent and constant attention paid to you, gaining honor as an individual, having your creativity challenged is NOT the life of an orchestra musician. There you play in a group, take your applause with the group, and serve the creativity of the conductor. Yes, you may be a happy orchestra musician, but what about your peers. I remember talking with a violist from the Brookline Orchestra.

She said the best thing that ever happened to her was not making it into the conservatory and having to go to college. Now she enjoyed being a child psychologist and she got to play music, too. He was not impressed. If your career is supposed to be your passion, this becomes the justification for pushing women off their career tracks when they become mothers.

The core of the passion trap is mental.

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When I set up something as that which I am passionate about, I constantly compare that ideal to my current less than ideal situation, thereby degrading my current situation. My experience is that this became a habit that I would repeat even when I was doing what I regarded as my passion. When I became a professional cyclist I really believed that this was what I was meant to do. My cure for this madness is first to acknowledge it, like you do here Cal, and then to focus on, as you put it, loving what you do very similar to the meditation practice of staying in the present moment.

When I start to idealize again, I practice letting go of those mad thoughts and coming back to the present moment.

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Maybe in some cases, if one is lucky. But in general, in life, the important thing is what we bring to any situation. Work, therefore, is not just about making money to pay the bills. But we need to do some work in order to pay the bills. The problem is, many people want lifestyles that require too much working in order to support.

I think that leads to the desire to have a job that is uber fulfilling. And the pressure would be off to find that perfect, satisfying job. If you have, you should have noticed that Bolles uses those words somewhat differently from how you do. His program goes like this: In the self-inventory you gather lists of: skills you are good at using that people will pay you to use , interests these do matter a little bit, right? Once you develop this thing, you show it to people and get feedback and do research and talk and take in new information.

Somewhere, in all this looking, you will find something that probably will really excite you.

So people are working harder and not seeing much in the way of a payoff? That sounds like a recipe for increasing dissatisfaction. Totally getting off topic. The irony is that this is something that I think you would agree with. For instance, his last chapter is on Mission. So your article was kind of a frustrating read, watching you turn a potential ally into a strawman. Maybe give the guy another chance? It was Buddha and probably a lot of other people, too that said happiness is not getting what you want, but being content with what you have.

Rather, most people adapted to the career that circumstances led them into and found happiness and fulfillment in proportion to their ability to adapt themselves to their jobs…and more importantly, their ability to adapt their jobs to their personalities.

How I found my life's passion by asking myself these ridiculous questions. - Upworthy

That is, outgoing people who wound up in engineering could be happy if they founds a role in, say, engineering sales…while introverted types could find happiness in, say, the medical profession by gravitating toward lab work, etc. Rather I focused on finding a position within that career where I enjoyed the people and the situation. Very interesting article and some excellent comments. Further also, Dan Gilbert , on misconceptions about what might actually make one happy.

Cal, this is great.

Life’s Passion

For example, some work places still require hour commitments. If a person is required to perform hour days for days a week for an extended period of time, absent some purpose or passion, we often find a state of burnout inevitable. Mary Arrr wrote that passion became the touchstone in , when going to college became the norm, and the first generation of kids raised in suburbia entered the workforce. Dan Pink, R. Drucker had it right but noone has the cajones to put it into practice fully. I am really quite confused. Right now my goal is to get an MA in International Relations and join the Foreign Service, which I realize can be quite a boring, bureaucratic job but it meets my lifestyle goals which is to be able to travel abroad and work in something related to government policy, international law or development work.

Am I stuck in the dream job delusion? Simply put, people want to believe that what they do on a daily basis matters in a way more meaningful than just profit. Too many career choices can lead to analysis paralysis. Larger organizations are still hardwired to meet the demands of the fading industrial age. Conformity and standardization reign supreme to enable optimal productivity. One of the biggest challenges people have is that they often ask themselves the wrong question.

Discovering what you love most is an adventure in itself.

I want to note, in general, that I am finding your comments incredibly useful. One of the things I love about having a blog, is rapid feedback on ideas. Work hard for more money and praise is coming to an end, notably through the minimalist society. Just want to have a 2 cents here as I will also be publishing a literacy manifesto relating this problem to both students and young professionals who are lost between their desires and external demands to conformity at the expense of their freedoms.

It is a recipe for burnout, resentment, and deep anxiety.