Follow Your Passion or Pursue Your Vision?

You often hear the advice that you should follow your passion and the money will follow. You shouldn’t follow your passion, but you should pursue your vision. Pursuing your vision is more sustainable, and gives you more clear action steps when you are wondering what to do next.

The advice to follow your passion is good. If you are going to do work, you have to choose work that you will energize you even when things aren’t that fun. Passion is the emotion that keeps you going when you need a rush of excitement. Unfortunately, passion is just that: an emotion. Even though passion is a “Strong and barely controllable emotion” the truth is sometimes it won’t be there. You won’t be able to summon the emotion.

A vision, on the other hand, can be persistent at all times. A vision is a picture of a future that looks different than today. You can work towards a vision whether or not you are feeling any passion for your work. Having a clear picture of a new future also gives you a roadmap for your most important work. If your different future is a world where there is no hunger, you will only work on projects that seek to eliminate hunger. They may be short-term, or long-term projects, but you won’t be working on a project to develop a rocket-ship unless it will somehow contribute to eliminating hunger.

I have been passionate about a lot of things. To become even more effective, I need to have a vision of a different future world. Then I need to work towards it. My passion will often give me the energy to do my work, but when the enthusiasm wanes, the vision will still be there, and I can still work towards it. My vision will help me change the world because it paints a picture of the new world.