“Find your passion” is bad advice, say Yale and Stanford psychologists.
Instead, stay curious. Stay flexible. Look for opportunities for personal growth.
O’Keefe warns that the directive to “find your passion” suggests a passive process. Telling people to develop their passion, however, suggests an active one that depends on us—and allows that it can be challenging to pursue. This, the psychologist says, “is a realistic way of thinking.”
Instead of looking for a magic bullet, that one thing you must be meant to do even though you don’t know what it is yet, it can be more productive to perceive interests flexibly, as potentially endless. A growth mindset, rather than a fixed sense that there’s one interest you should pursue single-mindedly, improves the chances of finding your passion—and having the will to master it. This approach will also inform your work by providing additional perspectives gleaned through multiple interests, O’Keefe tells Quartz.