Don’t Try To Discover Your Passion!

This is a guest post by Deepak Mehra fondly called Nicky.Deepak Bhaiya is simply put,a rockstar.I have never had the opportunity to show him off, so today I will.He’s one of the coolest guys I know.He works at Citibank and is married to another of one of our guest post writer today,Moushmi Mehra.All my life,I have looked up to him and he and his family,actually it’s even my family, has always been there for me.So,cheers to my mentor and the real superhero!Also,here’s his Twitter handle @nickymehra (https://twitter.com/nickymehra)


Don’t try to discover your passion


Wait, what!? That’s crazy! Should Sachin Tendulkar have been a banker? Lata Mangeshkar a marketing executive?

God no, but I’m not saying don’t follow your passion. By all means, please do. If you already know what lights your fire, then you might as well stop reading this post, as may those who don’t believe in the concept of following your passion to begin with.

But read on if you are like I was (and scores of others I know). Frustrated and disillusioned because you’re worried you’re in the wrong train altogether. Acutely aware there are those blessed souls who know there isn’t another train they could even think of boarding.

What passion discovery process is not
Nobody is born with a special gene that pre-determines passion right at birth. False are the beliefs that our ‘true calling’ definitely is out there; close by, yet unseen by us, just waiting to be discovered… we just don’t know how to see it.

Passion is discovered thanks to (one or many of) a curious mind, willingness to do your best in whatever you’re doing (which opens doors you’d never even known existed), a visit to a museum, chance meeting of an excellent coach and mentor at Shivaji Park during childhood, or perhaps while watching a show on Discovery Channel. To be sure, exceptions to the genetics rule do exist (somewhat). Lata Mangeshkar probably wouldn’t have made it to the pinnacle of her profession without being blessed with that voice to begin with. But again, not every person with a good voice is a great singer or even passionate about singing.

The potent formula of discovering passion
The ‘true calling’ of the Sachins and Latas of this world poses as ‘inevitability’ and ‘prescience’ in our minds – taking them away from the reach of us commoners. In reality this ‘true calling’ is a fortuitous yet potent combination of

  • luck in something you really care about,
  • while being ready to seize the opportunity when it matters and
  • having the courage to follow it and persist, even if the going gets tough.

Poetic untruth or boring truth?
An adage that’s always served me well is ‘don’t seek a complicated explanation when a simple one exists’. We’re too prone to creating dramatic, coherent yet untrue stories in our minds from sparse data points. Instead, take a few moments to think things through and come up with a comprehensive picture which stands up to scrutiny.

It is very tempting to say Sachin met coach Achrekar because he was simply destined to become a great cricketer and leave it at that. Where’s the intriguing story (initially at least) in saying he was just lucky to meet a coach who just took a keen interest in a promising youngster? Where’s the drama in saying putting in those hours and hours toiling under the sun, perfecting his technique made him ready to seize the opportunity when it came knocking? And finally in acknowledging that it was just his courage to follow his passion and persist in the face of a society so punishing towards an individual trying to pursue sports (acutely more so back when he debuted) which completed the potent formula?

Fatalist not
If luck has such a big part to play, am I saying I advocate fatalism and trying to discover our passion is completely beyond our control? Absolutely not! There’s still a lot that we can and should do. Among several others: maintain a curious mind, be ready to visit new places, meet new people, expose ourselves to diverse perspectives, read good books… Basically, create as many valuable experiences for ourselves as possible. In doing so, we maximize our chances of becoming aware of our interests (easier said than done), while making ourselves ready to seize opportunities as they arise – and they do for everybody. Combine this with courage, and we have a winner!

Don’t worry, be happy
So stop fretting over discovering your passion, wasting precious time and depleting vital energy. Start living a million diverse, enriching experiences instead, so that fortune may be allowed to do its magic on somebody ready to discover his passion!


This post was inspired by an article from HBR, which can be found here.

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