“‘Follow your passion,’ is probably the worst advice I ever got.”
Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It, gave a TED Talk in 2008 on “his insights and observations about the nature of hard work, and how it’s been unjustifiably degraded in society today.” He then spoke about it on the TED Radio Hour. I find his perspective – which is based on apprenticing 0ver 200 “dirty jobs – really very interesting, thoughtful and provoking. I mostly love his point on the TED Radio Hour when he says, “You don’t follow your passion, you always bring it with you.”
During both his talk and the radio segment he challenges the ideas that we have around “dirty” vs “clean” jobs and why one holds more status than the other. How often do we follow something because we think it is what we are supposed to do, it sounds good or we have convinced ourselves that it is our destined path? Sometimes the things we least expect, can make us the happiest – if we just allow ourselves to do it.
As Mike points out on the radio segment:
I think of all the people I know in my industry [acting/show business], who are around my age who have still followed their passion and they’re struggling. They’re gonna struggle all their life. That’s not really the question, though. The question is – are they happy? And if you are happy following your passion – great. But if you are unhappy and you are just doing it because of inertia, then someone needs to give you a little slap.
I really respect anyone who aims to challenge the status quo and questions things just because they are so. I greatly appreciate that he has devoted a good part of what he does to redefining “success” and giving people reasons to do the same. Listen to what he has to say and tell me what you think…