Cal Newport writing more on the problem of the “find your passion” line of thinking, and sharing Melissa De Witte’s piece suggesting “developing your passion” rather than “finding it.” Why? Because:
The belief that interests arrive fully formed and must simply be “found” can lead people to limit their pursuit of new fields and give up when they encounter challenges, according to a new Stanford study. …
…the adage so commonly advised by graduation speakers might undermine how interests actually develop, according to Stanford researchers in an upcoming paper for Psychological Science.
In a series of laboratory studies, former postdoctoral fellow Paul O’Keefe, along with Stanford psychologists Carol Dweck and Gregory Walton, examined beliefs that may lead people to succeed or fail at developing their interests.
Mantras like “find your passion” carry hidden implications, the researchers say. They imply that once an interest resonates, pursuing it will be easy. But, the research found that when people encounter inevitable challenges, that mindset makes it more likely people will surrender their newfound interest.
And the idea that passions are found fully formed implies that the number of interests a person has is limited. That can cause people to narrow their focus and neglect other areas. …
“Difficulty may have signaled that it was not their interest after all,” the researchers wrote. “Taken together, those endorsing a growth theory may have more realistic beliefs about the pursuit of interests, which may help them sustain engagement as material becomes more complex and challenging.” …
“If you look at something and think, ‘that seems interesting, that could be an area I could make a contribution in,’ you then invest yourself in it,” said Walton. “You take some time to do it, you encounter challenges, over time you build that commitment.”
Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, noted: “My undergraduates, at first, get all starry-eyed about the idea of finding their passion, but over time they get far more excited about developing their passion and seeing it through. They come to understand that that’s how they and their futures will be shaped and how they will ultimately make their contributions.”
Syncs with Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” thesis on how to obtain mastery of a skill or subject, and more than that, this syncs with common sense.