Don’t Follow Your Passions; Follow Your Purpose Instead

There’s an old cliche, “Follow your passion, and success will follow you.” So popular that it’s been attributed to a variety of people from Arthur Buddhold to Terri Guillemets. But it’s a cliche that we happen to disagree with.

Passion is a very limiting view of choosing a career path. Your passions change, after all, and more often than you may think. You may not have strong passions, or you may have too many. Either way, your passions aren’t the sole success factor: if you don’t have the skills, a supportive environment, sustainable compensation, and a strong sense of purpose, you’ll probably end up not liking what you’re doing.

Instead, we focus on developing passion alongside our work. Passion does not precede the work itself. As with any relationship, you nurture the passion by spending time with the work, learning and growing with it, until grow to love what you do, and do what you love.

What we focus on at Pushpin HQ, instead, is purpose. We believe that passions may change (and some, like Elbert’s passion for singing, are really just not meant to be pursues as careers), but you were born in this world for a purpose. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” To put it in even simpler terms, sayeth Robert Byrne, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

Purpose is independent of the means by which you achieve it. Market trends may change, your job description may evolve, but your purpose is your True North.



There’s a lot of different tools and frameworks for finding your purpose, many of them easily accessible with a click of the Google Search button. But this video on how to find your life purpose by author Ben Angel is the one that resonates with us the most. It doesn’t suggest a process, but instead, suggests that you have known your purpose all along; many of us are just too scared–of failure, of society’s opinions, of our own insecurities–to claim it. But through “experimentation, self-exploration, and never-ending pruning,” we’ll be able to uncover our purpose in life, and start living it the way we’ve always meant to be.

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