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Stop searching for your passion | Terri Trespicio | TEDxKC

Stop searching for your passion | Terri Trespicio | TEDxKC


Translator: Angelina Babinova
Reviewer: Aari Lemmik The day I got laid off from my job at Martha Stewart, I was relieved. (Laughter) I loved the job, I really did. But the relationship was over and I didn’t know how to end it and then it broke up with me. Don’t you love it when that happens? At the time I’ve been also
hosting a radio show for the Martha Stewart brand on Sirius XM. And then not long after
that got cancelled, too. On the day of my last show I got onto the elevator at the 36th floor and as it started to drop, I started to cry. Every floor took me further
and further from what I had been: a magazine editor, a radio host, the person with the cool job
to talk about at parties. You know. And honestly I had no idea
what I was going to do. And quite frankly
no one was looking for me. So, I did what anyone would do
in that situation. I was making some phone calls: “Hey, what are you up to? Did I mention I’m available?” I needed to get paid
to do something, right. I mean I live in New York City. If you’re not paid to do something, you’re not going to be there very long. But this idea that I had to know
what I suppose to do now, right. I’m supposed to pursue this passion. It’s just bugged me. It always had. And that’s because
it’s a dangerously limiting idea at the heart of everything we believe about success and life in general. And it’s that you have one
singular passion and your job is to find it and to pursue it
to the exclusion of all else. And if you do that everything will fall into place and if you don’t you failed. The pressure starts really young and it goes your whole life, but it’s perhaps most pronounced
when you’re graduating from school, right. After this, “Wow, the world’s at your feet!
What are you going to do now?” And it’s so intimidating, it’s like picking a major for life. You know, I had a hard enough time
picking a major for four years and I changed that once, if not twice. I mean it was like just intimidating,
right? And this compelling I mean this really, you know, forceful cultural imperative
to choose your passion, it’s stressful to me, but it’s not just me, it’s everyone I talk to agrees with me. The woman who sold me this dress. I told her what I needed the dress for,
what I was talking about and she said, “Oh my gosh, I really need to hear this talk,
because I just graduate from school. My friends and I we don’t know
what we’re passionate about, we don’t know what we supposed to do.” I’m leery of passion for a few reasons. But one of them is
that passion is not a plan, it’s a feeling. And feelings change. They do. You can be passionate about
a person one day, a job, and then not passionate the next. We know this
and yet we continue to use passion as the yardstick to judge everything by, instead of seeing passion
for what it really is: the fire that ignites
when you start rubbing sticks together. Anyway, I was such a mess
when I was in my twenties, such a mess. I was anxious and depressed
and had no life to speak of, I was temping to keep my options open, and I was sitting around at night
in my underwear watching Seinfeld reruns. Actually I still do that, that’s not
the worst thing in the world to do. It’s fine. But I called my mother every night crying and I was turning away
perfectly good full-time jobs. Why? Because I was afraid. I was sure that I would pick
the wrong one and get on the wrong train
headed to the wrong future. My mother begged me, she said,
“Please, take a job, any job. You’re not going to be stuck,
you’re stuck now! You don’t create your life first,
and then live it. You create it by living it,
not agonizing about it.” She’s right, she’s always right. And so I took a full-time job
as an assistant at a management consulting firm,
where I knew nothing about nothing. Okay. Zero. Except I knew I had a reason to get up
in the morning, get showered, leave the house, people who were waiting
for me when I got there and I got a paycheck every two weeks. And that is as good a reason
to take a job as any. Did I know that I want to be
an office administrator for the rest of my life?
No! I had no idea! Truly! But this idea that
everything you’re supposed to do should fit into this passion vertical
is unrealistic. And I’ll say it – elitist. You show me someone
who washes windows for a living and I will bet you a million dollars it’s not because
he has a passion for clean glass. One of my favourite columns is a piece
by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. He wrote a piece in The Wall Street Journal
a few years ago, about how he failed his way to success. And one of his jobs was
a commercial loan officer. And he was taught specifically: “Do not loan money
to someone following their passion.” (Laughter) No, loan it to someone
who wants to start a business, the more boring, the better. (Laughter) Adam says that in his life
success fueled passion more than passion fueled success. When I got my first job
as a magazine editor, in publishing, I was thrilled. But I had to take pretty big pay cut, because at the time I’d been
a catalogue copywriter at a wig company. (Laughter) Laugh if you will, clearly you are
and many, many people did. But wigs paid. So I had to figure out a way
to make some money. A friend of mine invited me
to a jewelry party I said, “What is a jewelry party?” She said, “It’s like Tupperware
but with bracelets.” I said, “Okay, got it, got it.” I went and I had the best time. I was there hanging out,
trying on jewelry, the salespersons having a great time and I was like, “That’s a job. I could… I could do that.” I mean, really, she seems
to be having a great time. Now, I had no background in sales, unless you count Girl Scouts,
and I was terrible. And I had no passion for jewelry. I mean, honestly, my earrings
cost 20 $. Combined, all of them. And yet I was like, “I think I can sling
silver jewelry to suburban moms drinking daiquiris. Yes, I could do that.” And so I did it, I signed up,
I became a Silpada Designs rep. And I… Listen to me, I was not
setting a world on fire right away. Really.
I was so awkward and afraid of selling. And then I got better, I got better, I started making some money, I started getting
really passionate about it. Not just because of the money,
but because what I realized was
people wanted the stuff. They were happy to pay for it. I sold so much jewelry that year
I won a free trip to Saint Thomas. (Laughter) It’s true. I eventually let my jewelry business go,
because my career path shifted. But I was so glad that I did that. Because it planted an entrepreneurial
seed I didn’t know was there. And that bears fruit to this day. Now as you know an entire
cottage industry has sprung up around helping people
find their passions, right. Books, coaching, webinars, whatever. And their hearts in the right place,
it’s great, I’m all about self-discovery. Okay. But when you ask someone,
or you’re asked like, “What’s your passion?” It’s triggering. It’s like, “Oh my god, I have to
came out with a good answer for this.” One of my friends in her mid-forties
and she’s looking what’s her life going to be now. And she’s like,
“I don’t know what I’m passionate about.” And she’s legitimately
concerned about this. She’s ready to hire a team of people. It’s like,
why are we worrying about this? You know why, because she thinks
something wrong with her. I thought something was wrong with me
when I was in the seventh grade and everyone was really into like the rock-bands and their actors and they would carve the names
of those bands in a tables in a library. And I never carved anything, because
I couldn’t think of anything to carve. I mean I liked Bon Jovi
as much as the next girl, but not enough to deface
school propriety, you know. (Laughter) It’s probably why
I don’t have any tattoos either. I’m assuming that’s why. I was really boring,
I thought something was wrong with me. But that’s the fear, isn’t it? That when someone asks you
at a party, on a date, at a job interview, “What are you passionate about?” That you’re not going to have
this wow compelling answer. And that means that you’re
not interesting, or ambitious, or that you don’t have
a singular obsession or scary talent that you hiding. And that your life isn’t worth living. And it’s not true. Passion is not a job, a sport, or a hobby. It is the full force of your attention and energy that you give to
whatever is right in front of you. And if you’re so busy looking for this
passion, you could miss opportunities
that change your life. You could also miss out on a great love. Because that’s what happens
when you have tunnel vision, trying to find the One. We all think we know
the kind of person we are and the kind of person we could love. But sometimes we’re wrong. Blissfully wrong. And sometimes you don’t know
what you’re going to do next, right? I mean, I don’t. I love not knowing what I’m going
to be doing five years from now or I will be into. And that’s okay, it’s okay not to know. You know why? Because the most fulfilling
relationships, the most fulfilling careers are those that still have the power
to surprise you. And as for the things you know
you want to do. You want to write a book,
you want to start a business, you want to change careers. Great! But if you’re sitting around waiting
for passion to show up and take it, you’re going to be waiting a long time. So don’t wait. Instead, spend your time and attention solving your favourite problems. Look for problems that need solving. Be useful, generous. People will thank you, and hug you
and pay you for it and that’s where passion is. Where your energy and effort
meets someone else’s need. That’s when you realize: passion lives, and realizing what you have to contribute. Why do you think when we’re asking people
what they’re passionate about, they say, “Helping other people.”? So don’t wait. Listen to my mother. Just start doing. Because to live a life
full of meaning and value you don’t follow you passion,
your passion follows you. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Stop searching for your passion | Terri Trespicio | TEDxKC”

  1. I know I fit this mold lol. I think my fear comes from judgment of society looking at constant career shifts as “you’re unstable” rather than “I’m trying everything to see what sticks”

    You can learn a lot about yourself doing this, and your disposition for certain careers. Just can’t be fearful of the judgment. It’s your life just be happy doing you.

  2. This sounds like a recipe for an aimless life. What's wrong with setting yourself a goal/target and incrementally taking steps towards that goal/passion? Sure along the way you will most probably learn a bit more about yourself and aim for something else but that's still gotta be better than aimlessly taking up an offer merely because it's available. Give yourself a goal and then break that goal down into small chunks and aim to be a little closer to that goal every day/week/year. Look at who you were yesterday as a yardstick , not to someone else. Aim high. It's not the goal that matters, it's the journey towards that goal that gives your life meaning and purpose.

  3. Decent talk but aren't examples selective and relative? How about the exceptions, the actors who followed their passions and are now whom we watch on the big screen?

  4. Passion fuels inovation. Music, poems, great works of art are passion driven. We need to change the way we think about value. Our economic system dampens passion and inovation and replaces it with not being homless.

  5. this is what people without talent would say. stop looking for 'career' I would say, and look for passion into your heart. anyway, TED is not to be trusted. not going to answer potential attacks on that statement.

  6. what does this have to do with Technology, Engineering and Design, the x in TEDx really opened doors for a lot of bs, Martha Stewart brand, wtf?

  7. “We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I'm going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.” Stephen Fry

  8. Thank God I watched this video. Now I know I am not the only one confused about this "following your passion" thing. This idea of following your passion is really confusing to me on many ways.

  9. Find a way to support yourself, and do so with integrity and enthusiasm. Be happy in your work, as much as you can. Save your "passion" (whatever that means) for when you're off the clock. That's what hobbies are for.

  10. it is really about being passionate TO BE passionate in general! it is a needed hormone! Remember we all love to meet interesting people ,but are we interesting one ! We want to have good friends, are we that good friend> If not then be it. If it is hard for you, than you are not genuine about the whole thing.

  11. Most people have never heard that question before…what is your passion? Blue collar folks spend their lives concerned with the basics. Its a luxurious question.

  12. I'm having a mental breakdown after not following my passion for 3 weeks and i think i may commit suicide if it continues with other job opportunities.

  13. I clean windows for a living. Its not my passion. But who wants their passion to be their occupation anyways? Sound like a trap to me.

  14. Right I'm 18 and this really speaks to how I feel right now… Just lost… just lost! I have no idea what I wanna do. I work right now… but I'm not sure where I belong.

  15. 🥺💛Thank you , all my thinking these days what my passion ?.. i feel stress because of that .. and in fact i didn’t focus for any thing on my hand

  16. Been following her advice my whole life. Hasn't worked out for me.

    I'm finally at the point where I'm willing to stop playing it safe and just go after what I really want.

  17. So true! Terrific talk. I've been bugged by the "What's your passion" line of inquiry for a long time. In my non-work time, I am involved in several volunteer activities focused on humans, animals, and social structures (politics, governance, etc.) and am an activist for social justice. I also work for a paycheck. I have lots of interests and continue to develop new ones. Asking someone what their passion is strikes me as a lazy and superficial attempt to "brand" and categorize people instead to spending time talking to them and figuring out what their values and interests are. Terri Trespicio did a terrific job of distilling that idea in this talk.

  18. @Terri Trespicio

    If this concept of passion is true, it leaves me thinking about how well the educational structure is really armed; If the key to feeling passionate is through acting, and the school intends to get only good grades in things that MUST MATTER US ACCORDING TO A GROUP, then we may have been educated that we have to make us passionate about what others impose on us.

    And with all the people who hate their job, I would say that we have been very good at learning it.

    Personal idea as a conclusion: the school should be purely diverse acts to find out how we like to help and be useful.

  19. The One is the worst thing romance writers ever came up with. Utter and total BS. Just like the other piece of terrible relationship advice: ALWAYS BE TRUTHFUL. Which so many folks think means dumping all the ugliness you walk around with all over the 'people you love'.

  20. Very interesting talk, makes very good sense, just start doing, my mother says the same thing.

    Oh, yeah and the stupidest questing in job interview, where do you see yourself in 5 years, some day I'm gonna just say, "Hopefully still breathing, taking care of dog and my garden". OH.

  21. I've spent like 15 years of my life trying to find a passion. Waste of time indeed. I could have enjoyed more the jobs I had. Now I try to make drumming my passion, but I don't get the fulfillment I thought I would.

  22. I've known my passion since I was 14 and went for it. Still doing it today at 54 and not regretting a thing. This advice doesn't necessarily apply to all.

  23. My passion is to make things better. Always loved taking tests to see what else I needed to learn to get better scores… Err, also electronics, robotics, IoT, control theory, hardware development, so my problem is just the opposite – I can`t seem to focus…

  24. Because I could never pick what I was most passionate about, I chose to be a teacher…best decision I ever made!! This job has given me the opportunity to pursue so many avenues, create landscapes for opportunities for others, who in turn have been teaching me so much more!! I don't get much pay, but I have the time of my life every single day with people who are so wonderful to be around!

  25. Very simply put, very straightforward points, and yet so much value in these words 🙂 Great talk! Also, Terri is a beautiful lady 😍

  26. I've just found my passion. Her name is Terri Trespicio. I rate this as one of the best TED talks along with Sir Ken Robinson's on creativity and education. Inspirational!

  27. Yes, you might be boring. And that’s completely OK!
    You might not be passionate. And that’s ok too!
    However, we all come with inner fire that ignites our souls yet we may or may not know what it is, that we may or may not find it in eventually. But passion is 100% worth your effort looking for at least once in life. If you happen to be one search for it, don’t be discouraged by others who may not know how it feels to have that fire within. You give yourself the permission to launch full force for it. And I wish you my best!

  28. Thanks all in the comments section, I could gather within a minute what the video spanning 10 minutes was all about. This time a helpful bunch of comments!

  29. This speech had some great points. She implores us to seek out problems to solve versus following "passion," an emotion.

    Although eloquent and appreciated, this speech mirrors in spirit Cal Newport's, "So Good They Can't Ignore You." She even touches on Cal's idea of focusing on contributing value versus taking value. Along that line, the speech also suffers the same logical flaws: 1) It treats passion and experimentation as mutually exclusive concepts; 2) fails to differentiate passion versus intrinsic interest, which if lacking, could possibly doom the effort from the start.

    The slogan, "success fuels passion more than passion fuels success," is cute but assumes millions of people haven't become successful after following their passion. Why can't people follow their passion in a pragmatic way?

  30. Thank you for this! "you don't follow your passion, your passion follows you". I heard in some interview that a study showed that people who are more fulfilled are not the people who started working in his passion generally, but people who started working in "whatever" and they discovered that they are good at it

  31. I took a retail job last year just to help pay for college. It was my first job ever, I came in with no experience of sales or distribution. I hadn't even expected to make it past the holiday season. It wasn't something I expected myself to really love yet within a year , I got promoted (with way higher pay than I exected), many "Employee of the Month" rewards, have been recommended to work with other stores, and regularly shake the hand and am on a first-name basis with the District Manager.
    It was originally just a job for the holidays but in less than a year I excelled and realized this job is absolutely amazing.
    It wasn't at all what I expected to be doing with my life but in this moment I love it!

  32. Should I go to college? to learn how to make good music if I'm so passionate about it. I also own two keyboards instruments

  33. I needed this ,thank you god, thank you for making me realize that I can choose a carrier without having passion for it, all my life I live in depression as I am preparing for Civil services but not giving 100% just because I'm not passionate, not serious or not giving attention to it…now I will do my work with all my energy ,no more excuses..

  34. this woman is awesome. when she said passion is a feeling and that feelings change. I understood that 100% & I just like how she made everything so simple without all those big words & stuff. u r an your calling for sure. keep up the great work

  35. you can always answer to the question "what is it you are passionate about ?" by saying "is it necessary ?"

  36. She misses the point. She isn’t defining passion correctly. We have a whole host of skills and strengths, and fears, and weaknesses. Passion is that inner drive that employs our strengths to achieve our goals and fulfill our purpose. Marry your passion (which is not singular in dimension, but is distinct) with your skills gifted by God and you will find an occupation – and yes this will change over time with experience and maturity. A job is what you do to make money, but an occupation is what you love to do that happens to make you a living. She is compelling, but not correct. Too bad because she has a passion for motivating people.

  37. Слишком большой выбор. Человек теряется. Нужен ли выбор человеку?

  38. I do understand where she is coming from, but everyone has a different opinion about passion. For me, living life and just trying things can help you discover something you never knew you were good at and that you enjoy. Having passion to me means knowing your gift. For example talented singers, sure they are passionate, but passion alone isn't enough, they have talent. I was always a talented boxer, but didn't follow through, so now I am investing in my talent. 3 years ago, I quit my IT job to become a bike courier, I got tired of IT I couldn't see myself stuck in an office job, so I tried being a courier and after 3 years I become a professional, I discovered a new talent I never knew I had and I love it, I started a bike messenger business and now building a bike messenger/cycling fashion brand as well.

  39. Oh dear! Don't know what will happen at interviews if I said I didn't know where I'd be standing 10 years from now… I like this talk! Like barrier breakers!

  40. there is a BALANCE! in life everything is POSSIBLE.. just need to have the right attitude for everything.. whether you are passionate about it or not.

  41. Idk after being in a job that i didn't enjoy and not knowing what my passion was then discovering my passion and getting paid for it i will never work in a job that i dont enjoy ever again

  42. I literally cried in relief after watching this. What a rut I've been caught up in, not feeling like I belong or not feeling like I'm doing enough. I always thought if I could just find "my passion" I could practice and make money and be great but years have passed and I'm still in the same spot as when I started: frantically searching and waiting. It's time to start doing more and paying closer attention to the sparks of joy I get when doing things that drive me harder into positivity and effort than any other feelings possible. Thank you for your TED Talk!!!!

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