Passion or Priority

Lylah Taank

Remember when you were 7? You would just do things without really thinking about whether it was considered important to others or not. You wouldn’t weigh the relative merits of football versus video games. You would just run around in the playground, having fun. Or you would be on your couch the entire evening, battling zombies with your remote. You would find beetles and trap them in glass jars, go around smacking people and screaming “Tag!”, eating sand, forgetting that there were tiny ants in the fistful you took into your mouth.

You would do all these things without someone telling you to do so. You would be led by your own excitement and curiosity. And the most amazing thing about it is that you would stop doing it if you stopped liking it. There was no guilt involved, no weighing out the pros and cons. And if you still loved digging up beetles and trapping them in glass jars, you would do just that. You didn’t have to analyze your decisions, determine whether or not this was a fruitful use of your time.

Unfortunately, we’re not seven anymore. Now, all I hear people talking about is “finding their passion.” Sure, I’m a senior, and I, like most of my peers, am graduating next year, and we’re all hoping we end up making a good living out of something we love. But then there’s the question of “How do we look for our passion?” “Where do we start?” Hearing all these questions made me wonder: Are we all really trying to look for our passion? Or are we trying to look for something that will be well-received and accepted?

Maybe you’ve already found your passion. You're probably just ignoring it. You’re awake 16 hours a day, sometimes probably 20 hours. Is there nothing that dominates your mind in these hours? Isn’t there some idea or topic that is going on inside your head (along with your missing assignments and your predicted score)? Doesn’t the same topic come up in conversations, occupy a significant amount of your free time, or float about in your search history? There must be a topic that dominates all these without you consciously acknowledging it.

Or maybe you’re just avoiding it. Maybe you’re thinking “Well, yeah I like painting and sketching, but I can’t make money out of it…”

Have you even tried?

That’s the problem. The problem is not a lack of passion for something, the problem is productivity. The problem is acceptance. The problem is “I’d love to do this, but this won’t get me a Bentley” or “Mom and Dad would kill me if I pursue stand-up comedy, they want me to be an engineer.”

You see, the problem is priorities.

Many of us have a tendency to prioritize doing a job that plainly sucks for social acceptance over doing something we love. Most of us want to live up to the expectations of our parents by going ahead and becoming an engineer, a lawyer, or a doctor, even if it means hating every second of our job.

So you need to know what you really prioritize, what you really want. Maybe you can go ahead and become a successful engineer, but also sign up for some gigs for stand-up comedy. Maybe you won’t earn as much, but you would be doing something you love as a hobby. Or maybe you can become an artist, let people laugh at your “non-lucrative” choice, then show your face to them after you’ve gained recognition and have a well-known gallery.  Or maybe it actually doesn’t work out for you, and you end up doing something else– but at least you gave it a shot.

Your passion may be anything under the sun, but pursuing it depends on your priorities. So don’t go “looking” for a passion or asking “how” to start finding one. Your passion has already found you.

A 7-year-old doesn't look at the playground and ask “How do I look for fun?” She just goes ahead and has fun. No overthinking involved.

You already have something you love doing, don’t you? You know you do but you’re scared to admit it to others. But are you still planning on ignoring it?

The choice is yours.