Tuesday, January 17, 2012

School Your Passion Toward a Real Problem, and Thus Find Happiness

Oliver Segovia has a fine piece on the Harvard Business Review blog with the unfortunate headline "To Find Happiness, Forget Passion."

His main point is that if you want a meaningful life, find a big problem to work on. Since it is a big problem, you will probably find a way to make a living at trying to solve it. And working on something worthwhile is likely to make you happy.

Segovia frames this point with a story of a woman who "followed her passion" into something liberal artsy (subject not specified), who ended up unemployed and depressed. This story, no doubt, is what led the headline writer to say "forget passion."

I think Segovia's point, though, is that working on a big problem that you have an initial interest in tends to engage your passion. Thus, his real message is not "forget passion," but try to school your passion toward something the world can use.

That way does lead to happiness, fulfillment, and probably enough income to live on.

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