If you are not happy with what you are doing for a living, do not be quick to give up as researchers say passion too can be cultivated and you may well enjoy the very job you earlier disliked.
The findings offer assurance to those who have not – or have yet – to find what they are passionate about: If you cannot discover your passion, you can learn to develop it.
“We can choose to change our beliefs or strategies to cultivate passion gradually or seek compatibility from the outset, and be just as effective in the long run at achieving this coveted experience,” said the study’s lead author Patricia Chen, doctoral psychology student at University of Michigan in the US.
The dominant mentality is the belief that passion is attained through finding a fit with the right line of work, or “following one’s passion”.
An alternative mindset is that passion can be cultivated over time as one gains competence in a line of work.
Researchers examined people’s expectations, choices and outcomes associated with each of these two mindsets – termed as the “fit theory” and “develop theory”.
They found that both mentalities are similarly effective at achieving vocational well-being.
People with the fit theory tend to select vocations that they enjoy from the outset – an indication of compatibility that is important to them.
In contrast, people with the develop theory focus on cultivating passion and fit over time.
“Thus, they are more likely to prioritise vocational characteristics other than immediate enjoyment, such as pay,” Chen said.
The findings suggest contrary to popular wisdom, a love-at first-sight experience is not necessary when evaluating a potential job.