Let’s redefine the term, passion

What is your passion?
As an entrepreneur I have kept looking for THE passion. Because it seems like the best advice for startup founder is “follow your passion”.

This is a hard one for me because I have picked new business idea based on the following criteria.

  1. Money opportunity: An idea can leverage seismic shift like web, mobile, and AI?
  2. My skill: I can develop at least prototype alone
  3. Uniqueness: Idea is not exact copycat
  4. Interesting: I can get excited

The problem is the problems of my business idea scattered around many business domains because I don’t have the singular passion. And I sometimes feel bad and have tried to find the one. But so far I have not find one. That’s why I used to envy people who has a singular passion.

My daughter became 16

She is going to be university student soon. She needs to decide which way to go. She need dad’s advice I believe.

There are so many occupations like software developer, marketer, medical doctor, management, sales, politician … list goes on and on.
I want to be helpful because I love her.

But the problem is I never had a specific occupation. I mean I never worked for an established company.
This is partly because I don’t have a singular passion.

For the sake of my honor, I could become whatever I wanted.
Because I was a pretty smart kid. I didn’t have any weak subject. In terms of test score, I could pass exams of the best university.
Science or social science doesn’t matter. I was good at both.

But this also meant I didn’t have any subject I was especially good at.

I was looking for my passion.

This was one of reasons why I quit the university for a startup which my senior student founded. I was excited, I worked 15 hours a day for 7 days a week. I believed I found my passion.

Boy, I was wrong.

I was excited about the idea of doing startup but I didn’t care much about the problem the company was trying to solve.

So after the startup failed, the same question came to me.

What is my passion?

And unfortunately I didn’t have much options anymore because I quit the university. Especially in Japan, I had no way to come back on elite track.

But thankfully I was poor at that time, I could make me just immerse on making money. I chose web development and later became tech entrepreneur because Internet was just booming and there are many opportunity when you’re on a seismic shift.

I started a tech startup and finally became so so successful.

And the same question came again.

What do you want to do for your life?

I still couldn’t answer the question. After exiting from the company I started, I came to the Silicon Valley because I knew what I didn’t like. I don’t like copycat.

6 years passed but still I couldn’t answer the question.

And one day I watched the video of Stanford D school for life.

The professor said in the video one thing significant.

The data tell us that only 20 % of the population can identify a singular passion.

A lot of carrier guidance start with “hey what is your passion? tell me your passion and I teach you how to get it”.

For most people, this is a pretty distractive question.

What?

We don’t need to have single passion? We can find kind of passions which I can be in flow state naturally.

This is an eye-opener for me.

I’m pretty sure even if you are a one of lucky 20% and have a singular passion, you may not be safe.

Because if your passion is astronaut or baseball player, you have to be top 1% of top 1%. Just smart or good is not enough.

Or if your passion is like acting, music, it’s more like gambling than a job because you need luck to succeed and you can not make any money if you don’t. Smartness and hardworking is merely a part of game. Entrepreneur is similar to this category.

Or if your passion is paleontology, there is no way to make money .

Anyway my point is more than 90% of people can not make a living with the singular passion.

And this is totally okay. Finally I came to feel that way.

Why not redefine the term, passion?

We can consider something which we can work hard with flow state as passion. And we can have multiple passions.

Now I proudly say to my daughter that …

I you have a singular passion, go for it. But you don’t need to feel bad even if you don’t. You may have to pick one for university. At that case you can pick something you don’t hate. You don’t need to stick to it for life. You can do anything you want anytime. But you should pick something you can work hard while having fun.

By the way, in the future your dad may become medical doctor or novelist or even paleontologist. Who knows?

By the way I really appreciate Udacity.

I have learned AI on Udacity. I mean I just completed the AI nano degree course. Now I’m pretty confident that I can use AI for my next startup.

I think I can call startup as my passion because I can work hard for startups with flow state while having fun.

Thanks for reading.

I'm a serial entrepreneur. I enjoy AI, UI, and blockchain. I like history and reading too.