Don’t Pursue Your Passion.

Unintentionally, we are damning our children.

All of us are guilty.

We as Fathers, Mothers and Educators are teaching our children to pursue their passion. We advise our youngsters to search for something they are passionate about and then find a way to make their passion their life’s work. This sounds good, but this message is fundamentally wrong. Let me explain why.

In 2015, 150 ninth grade students in Little Rock, Arkansas were given a sheet of paper. On this paper was the definition for passion and one question.

  • Passion- A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything. (
  • In one word, what is your passion? __________________


There was no dialogue or explanation. The students could not ask any questions and there was absolutely no prompting.

The following list represents the top 10 answers to the above question. The answers are in ranking order.

  1. Music
  2. Social Media (Snapchat -34 | Instagram – 17)
  3. Fashion
  4. Sports
  5. Shoes
  6. Video Games
  7. Family
  8. YouTube
  9. Weed
  10. Drawing / Art

The students’ answers are not passions. These are hobbies.

Do we really want our children to be so invested in their hobbies?

Do we want our children to make a committed effort to transform their hobbies into careers?

Don’t misunderstand me. Some of our children will become professional musicians, professional social media experts, fashion designers, professional athletes, video game designers and professional gamers, Youtube Videographers, Legal Marijuana Entrepreneurs, and Professional Cartoonists, Illustrators and Artists. However, these professions make up less than 5% of the world’s workforce – combined! All of our children can’t make it in these fields – it’s mathematically impossible!

So what is the answer? What do we tell our children?

We all want our children to achieve greatness. However, we must put our children on the right path.

We must raise our children to be intelligent, hard working, and well disciplined. We must push our children to read more and play less. We must push our children to do more math and do less socializing. We must make our children work. We must teach our children to work hard! Any child that reads at a high level, is good at math, and has an outstanding work ethic, is a child that can become anything they put their minds to! This brings me back to “passion.”

Our goal as parents and educators is to raise intelligent, hardworking and well-disciplined children. These children, because they are so well equipped – can then pick a career and life that sounds interesting. And because they are more intelligent, harder working, and more disciplined than their peers – they will win. Winning gives birth to passion.

Getting good at something and working hard to develop a craft, builds passion. Putting in the work and becoming great at something makes us passionate.

Passion cannot be pursued.

Passion is built as we experience success and as we dedicate our lives to a cause or our life’s work. And to sustain this success requires intelligent decision making, hard work, and discipline.

Success is what produces passion.

Passion can’t be pursued. This is not a game of “tag” – we can’t chase passion. Passion is a by-product of success. Passion must be created. Passion must be built.


Maurice Guest Jr., is an education administrator in Little Rock, Arkansas.



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