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What no one tells you about finding your passion

What do you want to be when you grow up? This question probably sounds painfully familiar, and for some it even leads to instant anxiety. Figuring out what kind of career you want to have can be a major challenge. You probably already heard the simple solution: ‘just follow your passion’. Only, research suggest that this advice doesn’t work for most of us, since less than 20% of the people even ‘knows’ their passion.

The notion that you need to have a passion and follow it is therefore a destructive idea according to ‘Bill Burnett’, executive director of the Design Program at Stanford - see the movie below.

 

According to Burnett: ‘most people find their passion by working into something, and in this way it becomes the thing they’re passionate about’. Passion can be seen as something that unfolds over time and is discovered through life experiences.

So what do you do if you have no idea what your passion is? First of all: don’t panic. Finding your purpose doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a messy undertaking that takes time, patience, and self-reflection. You’ll get there, but you have to start by taking small steps. A first step is learning more about yourself. This is an important part of any career and helps you to choose a job that fits your unique qualities.

The following options offered by the EB Career Centre can help you in getting to know yourself (make sure you are enrolled in Canvas for access):

Having a hard time choosing your minor or major? No worries, your study-direction doesn't have to determine your career, and a single decision won't plot the trajectory of the rest of your life. Ten years out of university, less than 20% of the people has work that has anything to do with their major. So, relax, let go of dysfunctional idea’s and focus on exploring and finding your way!

Tip: Trouble making decisions? Go to a Career Exploration Talk session on the topic ‘The art of decision making', offered by the UvA to help you in your process of personal orientation and growth.