This TED talk by Larry Smith breaks down the excuses people make to not pursue their passions. And no matter how many times people tell that you have to pursue your passions, you will hear it again and again, and yet you will decide not to do it.

Here are some of the key points from the talk:

1) “I’m not weird”

There is a general impression that people who pursue their passions are somewhat obsessive or strange. Or they could be geniuses at what they do. And that you are not any of these. While you were growing up, many people told you along the way to “fit in”, and reminded you to do be normal and do normal things.

2) “Working hard will give me a great career”

Most people think the best strategy to a good career is to work really hard. So if you work really REALLY hard you will have a great career. It seems to make sense mathematically for most people. But he says the world will give you the opportunity to work really really hard, but are you sure that’s going to give you a great career?

3) Passion is not the same as interest

Many people have many interest. And to find what your true passion is, you need to be able explore these various interests and not settle for one straight away. You need alternatives. You need to find the highest expression of your talent.

4) People are afraid

Many people are afraid to try. They don’t want to fail and be made to look ridiculous. And then go through life with the phrase “if only” in their minds.

So these are some of my key takeaways from the talk. There is another school of thought that believes being good in something or success or a mastery of a skill will lead to passion, and I will write about this in a separate article. Of course, you should always do things responsibly, make sure you find a balanced approach, that you are going to be okay with finances and your family etc. But if you have all these things covered, go out there and do what you believe in and enjoy the journey!



Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.