DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. LET YOUR PASSION FIND YOU.
We are often told if we are unhappy we should go follow our passion.
The problem with following your passion is that it's often changing and unreliable.
Passions usually change over the years. I used to be passionate about becoming a PGA golfer, now I don't even really play golf anymore. I thought for about 15 years that's what I was wired to be and do. I was actually really good at golf, but overtime that "passion" wore out. The competition and reasons for why I wanted to become a professional golfer eventually left me as I realized it was very egocentric.
Passions are often very self-focused.
I am deeply passionate about pizza, making hip-hop beats, and world travel. All of these things are very much comforts. They are all things that give me life. They give me satisfaction. It's really all about me. It does not mean it's bad, but that doesn't mean I should leave my current career to focus on eating pizza on an airplane while making hip hop beats on a laptop headed to Italy. That is pretty useless longterm and it sounds like a vacation. I like vacations but it's not something to focus my life on because that's not reality nor ultimately fulfilling.
Your passion will most likely come from something you're naturally successful at. Something that you never thought you would really find yourself loving. Passion comes from essentially helping people and contributing to society. This can be done in a million different ways. A lot of these ways have not even been created yet. That's where you come in.
When people say to "Follow Your Passion" this assumes that you already know what you want to do. It assumes you already know what your passion is and that if you can get motivated enough, then you can just start a fulfilling life by pursuing it. This is weak advice.
Passion is confusing.
Most world changing ideas don't come from passion, they come from solving problems. They come from being frustrated with something in life and then working on the solution.
I never thought I would be a mastering engineer. When I started my journey in the music industry, I was set on being in a band a touring the world. Then after getting poor mixes back I thought, surely there must be a better way to mix. So I dove into mixing. Learning the in's and out's of mixing is not fun. I don't have a passion for cleaning up poorly recorded music and making it sound awesome. I do have a passion for helping people tell their story via song. I got into mastering after getting back poor masters time and time again. I thought, surely there must be a way to make these songs translate better. Let me assure you, there is nothing less sexy then learning about frequencies, RMS levels, phase response, comb filters, mono and stereo fields, perceived loudness, digital encoding, metadata, ISRC codes, dithering, bit-rates and the list goes on... bored yet?
Mastering eventually turned into my passion because it changed peoples lives. It came out of a frustration on my end and on my clients end. It came out of a need to have masters that translate on all digital platforms. A new way of mastering that isn't for just vinyl and not just for CD's. People consume 95% of their music via earbuds, phone, laptop, or car. Very few people use traditional loud speakers, preamps, or any sort of "pro audiophile" playback systems. This means mastering needed to change. I have been meeting this need and it has become a passion.
Do I love everything about mastering? No.
Does mastering itself fulfill me? No, but helping people fulfills me. Mastering is the avenue in which I can do that.
People often look at me and project that I am so lucky to do something I love. That love was built over years and years. It was much like the building of a relationship or my marriage. It was not a quick passion or lustful desire. It was something that took years of work, discipline, and knowing that it's not all about me.
I have motivation to continue on because people's songs and stories are translating better all over the digital world. This creates the passion, this fans the flame, this is how your passion FINDS YOU!
I challenge you today to look at your job and find the ways in which you are helping people. If you are thinking about leaving your job to pursue your passion, I may challenge you to stay a little longer in your current position and see if you are wanting to leave for a deeper selfish issue. Don't focus on your passion. Focus on improving those around you and the world we live in and one day you will probably find yourself living side by side with your passion.