“Follow Your Passion” is a failure. So says Cal Newport, writer of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” a book that was drawn to my attention today through my usual process of clicking Facebook links and seeing where they take me (Thanks Andrea for the link which led to this video!)
I haven’t been able to distill down into words the lessons I learnt this year and the experiences I faced. And a 30 year old college Computer Science professor did it easily. The dogma of “Follow Your Passion” is a failure.
I am one of the “lucky few” who at an early age knew what I was passionate about. As I have mentioned on this blog before, I, Kathryn Nurse, am passionate about beautiful things. And I have been willing to make huge sacrifices and leaps of faith for this passion in my young life.
The results: disappointment and guilt. Guilt. LEVEL guilt. I feel so guilty about the financial bloodsucker that my foray into business has been on my father, easily the world’s most generous man. Up to today I had the familiar gut wrenching feeling of going to him for rescue from a financial mess (when your passion happens to be beautiful things, these are not uncommon). And this is the time when he should be kicking back, enjoying his retirement. We, his children should be sending him on trips. He shouldn’t be funding our lives still.
Which is the main reason why I am here. I have put aside “following my passion” as my main life goal. And now my main life goal is to be self sufficient and good at what I do. As one of my confidants told me today, the only way we can pay back our parents what we owe is in success. “U can let it eat u up, or let it motivate u” (direct quote from a What’s App message btw lol).
But back to Cal. He says that when people make a leap too early, in the name of passion, they tend to dramatically lessen their chances of success. He instead suggests a new approach to living a passionate life. Find something, anything, of the MANY things, that interests you, and work hard at it. Be so good at it that no one can ignore you. Become valuable, and then you’ll be able to make these large leaps of faith and succeed, because of your value. Five years ago I would have probably claimed two passions: beauty and Trinidad. And as always I tried to create utopia by squeezing the two together in moving home to start the great Trinidadian beauty company. Long story short. It didn’t work. I was good at creating products. Not so good at marketing myself. TERRIBLE at sales. And it is these skills I need to improve before I make another huge jump and end up mired in disappointment, guilt…and debt…again.
So, that’s why I am here. Attempting to become extremely good at things. I am a little superstitious and I believe in signs and I think that the confluence of events today happened to put me in place a little bit. Shanghai is a great city and it’s easy to get giddy, eating at fancy restaurants, going to rooftop lounges, whiling away time in one of MANY shopping emporiums, pretty much pretending you’re not a student, because you don’t live like one.
But this morning I felt guilty all this morning to motivate me to focus on why I’m here. To ease up my father, and to become self sufficient. And everything else will take care of itself after that.
Finally, I want to take an opportunity to thank my father. No one can convince me that there is any better father ANYWHERE in the world. I’m sure your fathers are all lovely but there is no one like Ossie. He has a warmth that radiates off him that everyone realizes immediately (ask my roommates here in Shanghai who loved him after meeting him like once) and we are more than father and daughter we are a team. And he is as supportive to each of us his children as he is to me. I watched him rush to my sister’s side when she was battling cancer the same we he rushed to mine when I was in New Jersey trying to fight off the worst. flu. of. life. I feel like my other siblings’ needs supersede my own at this point and I want him to be able to better cater to them while I cater to him. So after this year is over it’s payback time to Ossie lol. Thank You. I love you so much.