IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SMART
Like most anyone, I can’t count the times I’ve heard the advice, “follow your passion.” Given how many times it’s been repeated though, it’s safe to say that people still cling to that ideal.
Case in point: Gen Z kids who have brushed off the so-called coolness of cynicism and embraced unironic, genuine passion. While they’re well aware of roadblocks, they wear it unashamedly, prioritizing passion (as well as purpose) in work.
“Purpose” pops up several times in Gen Zs’ definition of passion. Call them idealistic or vulnerable to the trap of the tortured artist but in their eyes, the bigger picture has become a priority, and it’s why “purpose” and “passion” are somehow always strung together.
“Pairing passion with purpose is what allows the spark to keep reigniting itself, so that you will never feel that what you are doing is fruitless,” says 19-year-old dancer and choreographer Sofia Tan.
Whether it’s finding purpose through passion or the other way around, it all ends up tied to self-worth. Purpose is the simplest answer to their existence, the mysterious master plan the fates want them to find. And while that’s definitely not a bad thing, it may spark a few misconceptions that are all too familiar.
The myth of being “good” at it
Tying passion to purpose leads to one common feeling—the pressure to be good at that thing because apparently, this is what your whole life will be grounded on.
But what isn’t usually considered is this: Our passions are in constant flux. And since that isn’t supposed to be fixed, we’re going to be bad at it—as expected.
“Passion shouldn’t be equated with success or how ‘good’ you are at it. But this is easier said than done,” says 21-year-old entrepreneur and budding chef Christa Ramos.
“Being the perfectionist that I am, I always thought that maybe I wasn’t worthy of what I was passionate about just because I couldn’t get everything right.”
According to research, this mindset is one of the bigger roadblocks when trying to discover passion in the first place. “It becomes really easy to give ourselves a label of ‘I am just not good at whatever I am trying to do,’” one researcher says. “Then we carry this mindset of learned helplessness with us to adulthood, and if we don’t succeed on our first or second try, we think it’s better to quit.”
So, how do we kick that toxic thought out? For starters, we’ll have to reframe passion—and purpose—as constantly developing things.
This is the case for many jack-of-all-trades Gen Zs, who have become their own sort of purpose-seeking Goldilocks, hopping from one passion to another. “Passion is something you always want to learn from, so the process itself doesn’t really end,” says 20-year-old student leader Sophia Tabanao.
“I used to be so confused as to what I’m particularly passionate about because I like to do many things. I had this mindset that passion is something that defines you. But I realized otherwise because passion changes as you grow,” she says.
What’s “success” anyway?
After redefining passion, we might have to give “success” the same treatment. For Gen Zs, that means going beyond the societal standards of having to turn passion into potential commodities.
“[Society] instills so much worth in productivity that it becomes a prerequisite,” says 19-year-old illustrator Joan Romas. “It’s easy to feel pressured to turn every pursuit into something profitable, especially our passions, and that spills into different concerns that stop the youth from pursuing them.”
To actually change things up, they’ve set their own standards of success. The secret? Look inward, not out. “Success is going to look like different things to different people and even different versions of myself, so I’ve come to evaluate it not by what I see but by what I feel,” says Joan.
“I know that I’m successfully pursuing my passion when I allow myself the time and space to be excited about the creative process instead of solely chasing deadlines and expectations,” she adds.
While a personal purpose and passion can influence other people, it’s also worth considering yourself at the core of it.
“If you seek validation from other people, you will never be content,” Sofia explains. “It’s vital to be kind to yourself and to always remember that you are also a work in progress.”
These days, Gen Zs are pursuing their passions in a big way, connecting to their life’s purpose. Whether it’s for a big community or their close peers, this generation is making an impact through what they love to do. Learn more about following your passions and how to live large and #LiveGiga with Smart Prepaid at www.smart.com.ph/prepaid.
Art by Yel Sayo