[Campus Commentary]Discover your passion; success will follow

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[Campus Commentary]Discover your passion; success will follow

Well-known chief executives visit college campuses, give a speech for an hour or two, and leave a tremendous impact on the students who hear them. Among their many important messages about life, careers and values, a central theme is that passion should be the sole motivator and ultimately, the force that makes one’s life extraordinary. But that is hardly true.
Education diminishes passion: From elementary to high school, bright young dreams are sacrificed for the urgent goal of qualifying to enter a prestigious university. Passion dissipates while stress builds up. Overwhelming competition and anxiety about taking entrance exams focus zealous young minds on nothing but test results. Even after this fierce competition, hectic university life awaits them.
Today, university students are too busy to think of passion. They have to raise their Toiec and Toefl scores. They have to raise their GPA well above 4.0. They also have to work part-time jobs to pay for living expenses and skyrocketing tuition fees. Some might say these activities are all part of a passionate life. But they may be just confused between a merely busy life and a passionate life.
Where, then, does the value of passion stand in our pursuit of success? How much worth does passion have in this competitive world? Could it be attractive at all?
Illusions of success: University students perceive success and passion as two incompatible concepts. In planning their careers, they choose either to go after success, or to go after passion. But not both. Passion is often belittled as an “interest” or a “hobby” which should be discouraged for more profitable and promising activities that will lead to success.
As the unemployment rate soars and the competition gets fiercer, the meaning of success has become even narrower these days.
You want a job with a good paycheck, and one that will last, too. The growing number of public-exam takers is an obvious sign of the growing anxieties of young intellectuals. Hence, finding a passion might sound idealistic at best, or an illusion.
Passion, then success: An enjoyable and sustainable success can only stem from passion.
Passion and success are so deeply interwoven that without one you can’t have the other.
Enjoying what you do must be the starting point of your career, which will differentiate and strengthen your competitiveness throughout your life.
After all, passion is not a thing that can be owned, but a being that is in you.
It persists no matter what situation or condition you are in. This is why you must find your passion before anything else.
Once you find your passion, your life becomes simple, focused and thus powerful, because you only have to delve into your passion.
This will eventually lead you to a successful life, a sustainable one and, most importantly, an enjoyable one.
It’s never too late to find out what your passion is.
Passion is not a grandiose theme, but an illumination of your inner self. It stems from within you.
After all, passion cannot be fostered or trained. It can only be discovered.

*The writer is a senior at Yonsei University and a former editor-in-chief of The Yonsei Annals, the school’s English news magazine.

by Yoo Sung-jee
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