Why Do We Make Such a Big Deal out of “Chasing Your Passion and Dreams”?

Today, I bring you another written word by Jed Jenkins on the fine art of chasing your dreams. We’re told this by our parents, peers, and teachers and we’ve probably thought this to ourselves all the time –

“What is the one thing that I’m passionate about?”

You know, that thing we all so desperately chase in our lifetime, the thing we’re told that once found, our life will immediately become fulfilled and would reach complete self-actualization? That we would use every scrap and ounce of who we are to uncover what it is and once determined, to then pursue that wholeheartedly.

This is an excerpt from what Jed discusses on the topic…

“First of all, I accepted that life is lived in seasons, not failed arrow after arrow missing some imaginary bullseye. Besides, the bullseyes we create in our youth are made with such limited information and tainted by advertising. And I let each season accrue new skills for my tool belt. Each job taught me something indispensable for the next season.
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And I quit calling it ‘passion.’ That word is so aggressive. It implies that if you aren’t burning for [what you do] then you aren’t living right. I don’t want to burn. At least not all the time. I want to lean in to the steady goodness of making good things. I like calling writing my ‘interest’ or ‘the channel through which I feel most myself and connect that with others.’ I don’t know. I want to be gentler with my callings, my seasons, and let them flow into each other.”

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Whoa. These words shifted my understanding of what it means to “chase after your dream and passion”. I don’t know about you but don’t you find that there’s a staggering amount of pressure these days, especially when you reach your 20s, to finally discover what your long-lost passion is and to solidify it completely and wholly in the studies and career you pick for yourself?

I know that for me, I’ve especially wrestled with this passion-seeking struggle for what feels like an eternity, and I still do today. But that’s okay. I love how Jed points out the overrated-ness of using the word “passion”. Finding that one passion implies that every single thing you pursue in life which is not that one thing is in a sense, a failure, and just missing the target. That if you’re not constantly burning over the brim with passion for the current school program or job you’re in with each second of the day, you’re doing it wrong.

But perhaps, what we are currently doing and what we have done in the past can be counted as seasons each to their own, and whether we feel a burning passion for it or not, each season is shaping us and slowly teaching us new skills, grit, maybe things we still aren’t aware of, which equips us exactly for the next season we move forward in.

This perspective is especially uplifting in those drier seasons when you may doubt or fear what you’re pursuing in life or a career you’re currently in but don’t feel consistently passionate about. But know that this season you’re in now is an essential stepping stone that needs to have its course in your life so that it can help you move higher and be prepared for the next stone.

These days, I aspire to take on this approach in the things I pursue where I stop placing such a strong emphasis on whether I’ve figured it all out or not and stop listening to society’s expectations of finding that one ultimate passion. Where instead, whatever season I’m in, knowing that its placement in my life is so purposeful and necessary, taking on a gentle disposition through it may bear much more value than I originally thought.

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