Young professionals are frequently asked “What are you interested in?” as they apply for many job opportunities in search of an eventual career.
It’s the wrong question to define whether or not an individual is driven to achieve.
An interest is “the state of learning or wanting to know about something…”
It’s an intellectual curiosity; something you find interesting in the moment and want to know more about; it “tickles your fancy”.
An interest can be casual, reflecting some topic or factoid you stumbled on this week and is likely to disappear soon thereafter. You may find the peacock spider interesting but it’s unlikely you will do anything more than admire it (or quiver if you have arachnophobia as I do) and move on. A casual interest such as this will likely not influence your career choices.
Passion, on the other hand, is “a strong and barely controllable emotion” that is stimulated by an object, experience or topic.
You may not even understand why you are experiencing the emotional rush; you just find it exciting. You give in to it.
Successful careers are mostly built on the backs of passion, not interests.
Whereas interest and logic are passively content to merely witness an idea or concept and want to learn more about it, “the barely controllable emotion” ignites a fire in your belly and drives you to do something. It results in an overwhelming desire to ACT.
Passion shouts “WOW! Look at that! I’m pumped. Let’s do it.”
It is an emotional outpouring of energy.
Finding the right career path is a tiring journey; you need all the energy you can muster. If you’re not up for it every moment of every day, you simply won’t make the progress you need to arrive at your destination.
Passionate individuals advance because they are “always-on” to constantly innovate and deliver results.
A healthy inquisitive intellect is, of course, the table stakes for being in the game of earning a successful career.
But it won’t win it.
Look beyond what you are merely interested in to find what you are wildly passionate about.