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How to follow your passion without falling for crappy cliché advice

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Pursuing one’s passion is always a hot topic of discussion. But, are the clichés involved misleading?

starting a business

When you bid adieu to 9-to-5

We’ve all been subjected to cliché advice when it comes to the idea of pursuing your passion. Janelle Quibuyen recently published an article about the reactions she received after quitting her full-time, salaried job to pursue a freelance career in graphic design.

She found that most people praised her for her courage and made statements along the lines of, “I wish I could be my own boss.” Quibuyen explains that pursuing her passion is nothing like the simple cliché that people think it is.

Cliché #1

And, I would have to agree with her on this. People assume that if you are going to go the route of pursuing a passion, you have to disregard everything unrelated and give nothing less than 110 percent to your passion.

Now, don’t get me wrong, tenacity is a huge part of accomplishing your goals.

What I’m encouraging is that you be smart with pursuing your passion.

So, ya wanna be a (insert passion here)?

For the sake of this article, let’s use the example of “pursuing one’s passion” to mean becoming a successful actor. Everyone knows you can’t just wake up one day and become an Oscar-winning actor (except for Meryl Streep, I’m pretty sure she came into this world carrying one of those gold guys.)

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Obviously, if you want to be an actor, you have to be taking steps toward making that dream a reality. You need to take classes, build a network, get headshots, and be trying to find auditions.

Be smart

The common misconception is that you have to be living and breathing this goal. This gives the idea that you mustn’t do anything other than acting-related activities. Again, good to have goals, but how will this support you?

You need to also be working to provide for yourself and to continue to support this journey. The pursuing your passion cliché leads one to believe that they cannot achieve their goal without dropping everything else.

Always, above everything else, make sure that you’re making smart choices that will help take care of you.

There is no shame in working somewhere unrelated to your passion in order to have it be means to an end.

Why is it always a matter of creativity?

Another thing that bothers me about this “pursuing your passion” fantasy is that everyone assumes that a passion cannot be found in a 9-to-5 office. While I personally cannot relate to this notion, I know plenty of people who work “typical,” not-as-creative jobs and are completely passionate about them.

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This fantasy gives the idea that people with creative passions and prowess are on a higher level than those who enjoy crafting spreadsheets and crunching numbers.

Again, untrue.

Be true, but be cautious

Even though this may sound cliché, never be embarrassed about what you’re passionate about. Everyone is wired differently, and the idea that everyone has the means to just drop everything in order to pursue what they want is just ridiculous.


Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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