TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What's your excuse for not pursuing your passion?

Mr. Smith talked about all kinds of excuses we are making for not going for it in life. I have many tiered dreams in life, and while some are checked off (like working abroad), others still need to be (like changing the world). I find myself thinking that there are too many gatekeepers in the world and too much potential for environmental destruction (i.e. putting out a certain product), so I am always rethinking my "passion", and hoping that I don't come across something where others or the world have to suffer just because of my own ego / narcissistic need to self-actualize.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 14 2012: My "excuse" is my morals. I have a passion for horses, but I quickly realized that the only way to make a living in the horse industry is by putting the animal's welfare second. I decided not to do that.

    But, IMO, the idea that everyone should pursue their passion is faulty anyway. How many people do you know have a passion for cleaning public toilets? If everyone followed their passion we'd have thousands of rock stars and no janitors. Besides, the way Larry talks you'd think that anyone who isn't following their passion is not contributing to society at all, which isn't true; they may be perfectly good at whatever job they're doing.
    • thumb
      Mar 15 2012: You're right. If we look at following passion as a human-centric, selfish pursuit it's quite liable to be impractical in society (and bad for animals, others, the earth etc.). So, society has thought up numerous ways to pay us to contribute, however un-sexy, or else stuff would never get done. Then people like Larry make this wake-up call to all those who have this "social fatigue" by poking at the individual within us, which we have supposedly left behind. In a way, Larry also quietly necessitates a society that operates on the backs of people with less mobility to pursue their dreams, thereby necessitating an underclass, while those more able can become rock stars (or reality tv stars).

      I believe there are other TED talks which have been trying to newly implant in our minds that our society needs to shift towards compassion, regard for the environment and the future etc. as new social goods. So, one day, our dreams will shift and the goal of having your own reality show, in the Western world, will be seen as dumb.
      • Mar 15 2012: reality tv shows can't seriously be regarded as a passion pursuit. Passion comes from within, to be enjoyed from within.
    • thumb
      Mar 15 2012: I don't think I agree. I am not certain everyone's passion is related to their work. Pursing your passion means you move in the direction of your passion. So for instance, if your passion is your family and they are what is important, it does not matter what your work is. So cleaning toilets and making beds is pursing passion because it gives to the family.

      If you passion is music it does not mean you are a rockstar. You could work in the business but perhaps you work to be able to enjoy your passion.

      But Larry is insightful. Because to get up every day, day after day to go to a job is easier if it somehow contributes to your passion. But your job may or may not BE your passion.
      • thumb
        Mar 15 2012: Hi Linda,
        I agree...passion is not necessarily related to work experience. You say..."pursing your passion means you move in the direction of your passion".....good point! What if, as with me, my passion is life, so that passion is actually moving with me in every moment?

        Funny you mention cleaning toilets...been there done it!!! At the same time I was pursuing an acting career, I also owned and managed 32 rental units. It was not unusual for me to go to the city for acting/modeling jobs, then go back to the country and clean an apartment...including washing toilets....LOL:>)

        I was pampered and paid very well with the acting/modeling, then the next day, I'd be the washer-woman with my hands in the dirt of a trashed apartment. I LOVED and was passionate about it all!!! For me, it was all part of the process of really "living", so I appreciated, and continue to appreciate ALL life experiences. I know I'm weird...can't help myself!!! LOL:>)
        • thumb
          Mar 19 2012: Its not weird at all but a gift which adds another dimension to living..because the ultimate passion IS life and living..it fills us with zest and the good old joie de vivire to every facet of our lives and gives us the confidence to take on challenges when we make our choices:)
      • Mar 15 2012: "I am not certain everyone's passion is related to their work." You're right but Larry is clearly talking about careers.
      • thumb
        Mar 24 2012: Dear Sangita,
        I appreciate your kindness, sensitivity and understanding. As an older adult, I realize that my passion for all aspects of life is not weird, and I was having fun with the idea in the previous comment:>)

        There have been times in my younger days, when my passion, joy and unconditional love for life was thought to be "weird" by some people in my life, and it was challenging for me to understand how they COULD NOT feel passionate about being fully engaged in each and every moment. I still have difficulty understanding why people do not want to embrace life in that way, and it's ok...we all have differences and choices:>)

        I learned, as I traveled the life journey, that my passion for all of life is indeed a gift which adds MANY dimensions to the life adventure, and as you say..."the ultimate passion IS life and living...fills us with zest...impacts every facet of our lives...gives us confidence to face challenges, and remember that we have choices. Thanks for the reminders Sangita:>)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.