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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Don’t Follow Your Passion

"The artist doesn't have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don't have the time to read reviews." - William Faulkner

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Don’t Follow Your Passion

"You’re in love with a thing. Let’s say it’s coffee, books, design, code or solving interesting problems. You decide to open up a café to follow your passion for coffee. Or a used book shop, because you’re passionate about books. Or, because you’re passionate about solving interesting problems through code or visuals, you hang out your shingle as a freelance developer or designer.

Six months to a year later, and guess what?

Turns out that you hate running a café (or book store, or…). Turns out that running a café is as much about the coffee as raising a child is about snuggles. Yes, the coffee happens — and so do snuggles — but what really makes up the typical day is very little sleep and lots and lots of poop....

Follow Your Passion... The Cute Little Café Syndrome applies to any situation where you blindly follow your passion… and it leads you to a pit of despair (or at least, a pit of debt)...

There’s only one thing for it: abandon meatless aphorisms like “Follow Your Passion!” and take stock of reality.


In reality…

  • Turning your beloved, refreshing hobby into a job can kill it.
  • Doing something you love for yourself isn’t the same as doing it for others.
  • You can love something and not know the slightest thing about it.
  • You can love something and not be good at it.
  • You might not know what Your Passion™ is, at least not with enough fiery motivation to get you going.
  • You may believe you’re passionate about a subject but it’s likely your true deep-down-fulfillment passion is about actions, connections, or environment.
  • Or, your logical conclusion is that you should engage in actions when your passion is really a subject.
  • The Poop Factor is ever-present: most of what goes into running a real business is very different than what you fantasize about.
  • Finally… some things just aren’t money-making propositions. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love them.

... Don’t assume that just because you love coffee, you should open a café.

Or because you love books and cozy reading nooks, a book store...

If you want to run a successful café — and enjoy it — you need to love a lot more than coffee. You’ve also gotta get some kind of pleasure, even grim satisfaction, out of the daily grind. (Ha ha.)"
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