Passion Hypothesis

Revisiting the Passion Hypothesis

Having finished the book and having had more time to think about the Passion Hypothesis that I first mentioned on Jan 9, I thought I'd revisit the concept.

The author was firm on his stand on sticking with and acquiring a skill set and that, after the necessary effort and resources have been put in, it is this skill set that becomes the currency or "capital" with which you can acquire work that you enjoy.

He emphasises the importance of skill (the famous 10,000 hours to mastery), control (motivation and drive) and mission. It is the culmination of these three things that make a person excellent at what he/she does.

I certainly agree that it is much easier to be passionate about something we are good at than at something we are not. However, not everything we have spent a long time practising (effectively) elicits excitement even when we are good at it. Perhaps a personal example will come in useful:

In the course of being a teacher, I have, at innumerable points, needed to produce curriculum of various levels and on various topics. I know what is required to produce it and the steps needed to ensure that it is useful and understandable. Despite this, I find the process tedious and painful. There is little joy in it for me, however good at it I may be. I do it out of necessity and not out of desire.

On the other hand, I would gladly take a set of material and disseminate the information to a group of learners for no other reason than because it benefits them and brings me satisfaction.

Curriculum design, then, may not be my mission - something that I feel strongly about. Perhaps that is why I find it so difficult to motivate myself to get it done.

Perhaps the author is correct, though he does say somewhere in the beginning of his book that the advice "Follow your passion" is dangerous for MOST people.

Perhaps it is then safe for me to imagine that pre-skilled passion is an important factor for some people.

Perhaps it is neither truly one or the other but a spectrum upon which each of us finds a place and our lives go on from there, changing our positions on the spectrum as we acquire new skills or we discover new passions.