Is Passion Enough?

by Joe Lavelle on August 21, 2011

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I am a strong advocate in the power of positive thinking.  If you approach a new situation or opportunity with an attitude of success and confidence, that will go a long way in helping your dreams become fulfilled (“Act As If”).  If you have a passion for becoming a commercial real estate broker or a teacher or a physicist or even a flying trapeze artist, then go after that goal with faith in yourself and a drive that cannot be easily diminished.  That being said, does there come a time when passion is not enough and opposing voices of common sense need to be heard?

Dr. Patrick Carroll, an assistant professor at Ohio State University at Lima, recently co-authored a study about career dreams.  The article, published in Social Cognition, addresses the idea that sometimes passion is not enough to fuel career dreams and people need to be realistic about the consequences of possible failure.  Is it possible that your parents had a valid point when they warned you against your unyielding insistence on becoming a watercolor artist whose work would one day be featured in the Louvre when you consistently didn’t place in the high school art contest?  Or, do such naysayers have no place in your life as you strive to achieve your professional goals?

I say that we should give our career dreams everything we’ve got through hard work and networking and education.  But, we also should be cognizant of the need to make smart decisions concerning our financial responsibilities and our natural strengths.

What do you think?  Can people become so blinded by passion for a particular career path that they fail to pursue a different option that may prove more successful or perhaps even more fulfilling?  When is it the right time to heed the critics’ warnings?



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