“Just follow your passion”
That’s a statement that the majority of us hear a lot. While it may be easy for some to discover what they’re passionate about in their career, the rest of us may have difficulties in this area.
At times, finding your passion can be as confusing as it is motivating. We may look at our life and identify many areas of interest and things that we’re really good at, but is it enough for us to label them as passion?
To discuss more on this topic, we turn to four professionals, all at the top of their respective fields in Myanmar:
- Martin Pun is a veteran businessman in insurance, banking, hotel management, CSR and branding.
- Emilie has had extensive experience working with the Dutch Government and European Union, prior to establishing Doh Eain in Yangon.
- Bradley serves as the Myanmar Country Manager of Insitor Management, a venture capital firm that invests in social enterprises
- Nyi Nyein Aye worked for 20 years at the UN Secretariat and recently founded a FinTech company called Thitsaworks
The four came together for an exclusive panel session at the Career Gallery event organized by Wynee and YUMEC, and shared their incredible journey with the young Myanmar talents. We have distilled their insights into 4 great tips on how you can find your passion and make positive impacts on your career:
1. We Usually Have More than One Passion
It is a myth that each of us is bound to follow a singular pathway towards our ideal passion. The truth is, passion comes in a variety of colours, with different degrees of intensity and certainly at different ages – it is whatever satisfies our souls. Some career paths actually demand multiple passions and skillsets, and it is important that we embrace all of them.
Otherwise, in the event we decide to explore a single profession as a passion, it is still possible to cater to other areas of passion as a “chicken soup for the soul”. It is not uncommon, however, for people to discover new passions at a later stage in life.
In summary, you should avoid narrowing your view to only having a single passion and single out your other areas of interest, as it is better for us to view passion in a holistic manner.
2. Sunk Cost Fallacy – Notice the ‘Click
Speaking of multiple passions, there could be a time in your career when your current role doesn’t appeal to you as much anymore. In the event it happens, it is crucial to notice that ‘click’ as soon as possible to prevent yourself from being subjected to – what psychologists describe as – the Sunk Cost Fallacy: a condition where you lose your rational judgement due the reluctance to abandon previous investments.
Suppose you are now in your junior year at university, and you become deeply passionate about an entirely different field. However you still continue with your degree anyway (even though you know you will not be pursuing this path upon graduation) simply because you are not willing to waste the years already invested to begin a new degree that interests you – the sunk cost. It is important for us to think rationally and always weight the opportunity costs of all scenarios to make more informed decisions.
3. We Tend to Overestimate Ourselves
To make a decision of a life-long career is huge – we will spend the next 40 to 50 years with that profession. Yet, we are expected to make a decisions that may impact our career from a very young age – such as selecting our courses in university and subjects in high school.
Emilie studied anthropology and wrote a book about this by interviewing her peers and older generations. She concluded that we often overestimate our ability to make that decision when we haven’t seen or experienced enough of the world.
This does not suggest that we should look down on the career choices you already made, but instead, we should validate ourselves if we feel like we’ve made the wrong one. It is completely reasonable if you haven’t made up your mind yet; you just need to experience more.
4. Attempt to View the Big Picture
Change is the only constant in this world, and we may draw our passion and motivation from the national and global revolutions. Until the early 2000s, when Myanmar was still under isolation, drinking water was traditionally available in all corners of the streets in earthen pots; they were graceful and of true Myanmar essence. When plastic water bottles were introduced, there was strong resistance by the public against the new thing. Several years went by, and they are now the socially and economically accepted norms. These days, similar changes are being accelerated by rapid digitization of the technology and globalization.
Someone took the first step and introduced those water bottles to the Myanmar market. Today, every one of us has the opportunity to bring about positive impacts to our society – one must only know where and when to act.
Finding your passion is easier said than done. It is an adventure of experiencing first hand and being unafraid to change. There is no magic recipe to figure out what your passions are, and it is important to note that there is no final destination either. Always be true to yourself and your passion will follow you.
Disclaimer: This is an Opinion Article and it only reflects the views of the author and not the company or institution that may be associated with the Author. This article also does not have any intention to undermine or attack certain individuals or parties.
Written by: Phyo Thura Htay
Phyo is a Content Curator at Aseanite and a Central Executive at Yangon Technological University Students’ Union. He studied political economy at the University of Hong Kong and is interested in ASEAN affairs. He has interned for Schlumberger and Siam Cement Group as a chemical engineering student, and is a 2017 fellow of Young Sustainable Impact, a startup incubator based in Oslo.
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