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Instead of ‘finding your passion,’ try developing it, Stanford scholars say (stanford.edu)
318 points by mengledowl 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 75 comments

I explore passion because I think there are things more "economical" to be passionate about.

I am now a software developer. When I was in high-school I didn't get the point of computers beyond playing pc games all summer long. I just heard once in a while "if you pick cumputers major you will have a descent job". I was a painter in high-school. I wanted to create amazing and realistic paintings to wow everyone. And I wowed everyone. The passion to wow people was beyond school grades, parties and sleeping hours. After high school I lost my art passion immediately (art is not practical) and explored my passions again. I want to solve real problems and finally got the "purpose" of computers in the world.

I found that I enjoy almost everything I do if stress free. I love working, cleaning, cooking, shopping, fixing, gardening, eating slowly, as long I am not rushing. Cleaning and gardening are great "exercise" you activate a lot of muscles with a reward at the end. Clean house and nice garden. When I do it I try to forget about time which turns it to an ecstasy almost.

There is one thing that is obviously worthy to be passionate about which I am struggeling to crack for years (although improving much).

Passion for people. Many tasks that involve people are often a pain for me. I love people but its hard to "just call someone". Just "invite someone to hang out". Maybe is because "just hangout with someone" is not clearly defined. What is the point? what do we want to talk about? I don't socialize a lot outside of work. Why people prefer video games over socializing? I find this topic facinating...

> Maybe is because "just hangout with someone" is not clearly defined. What is the point? what do we want to talk about? I don't socialize a lot outside of work.

I felt this way for a very long time. Never had many friends growing up for much this reason; it didn't feel rewarding to spend time with anyone except my stepdad (my mentor, because I was always learning with him and he was one of the only people that made me feel safe) and my sports comrades (but only when we were practicing).

In adulthood, though, there's several people I enjoy so much that it seems worth it to spend a fair bit of effort just to be in their presence for some time. We don't even have to do anything particularly interesting. I don't understand why I want to be around them so much, but I do, and I wonder if this is the connection I've been missing the whole time.

The other weekend I took a six hour flight just to go on a hike with some of these people (there's plenty of hiking where I was already) because I missed them so much being away for work. It's like being hungry. Being around them is a dopamine hit.

For a while I only felt this way about a tiny handful of people I met in grad school so it seemed like the same sort of thing where you spend a lot of time and effort at a hobby and then find that you are passionate about it. Spend a lot of time (and college type bonding experiences) with some people and you'll find you're passionate about your friendship. But then in my early thirties I met a couple new friends and the same feeling happened within days of meeting them, so I don't understand the dynamic at all. What makes someone fall in love with their friends?

Apologies for going off on a tangent here. It was a thought provoking comment.

I love hanging around with people who think differently than I do. Bring a different perspective on things. Have good stories to tell, seek deeper theorems on why things are the way they are. The ideas need to have sex in order to birth even greater ideas.

Hikes and long drives are a great way to foster relationships. There is something about being around places that you haven’t been before that provoke new ideas.

> Now if we examine our life, our relationship with another, we shall see that it is a process of isolation. We are really not concerned with another; though we talk a great deal about it, actually we are not concerned. We are related to someone only so long as that relationship gratifies us, so long as it gives us a refuge, so long as it satisfies us. But the moment there is a disturbance in the relationship which produces discomfort in ourselves, we discard that relationship. In other words, there is relationship only so long as we are gratified. This may sound harsh, but if you really examine your life very closely you will see it is a fact; and to avoid a fact is to live in ignorance, which can never produce right relationship. If we look into our lives and observe relationship, we see it is a process of building resistance against another, a wall over which we look and observe the other; but we always retain the wall and remain behind it, whether it be a psychological wall, a material wall, an economic wall or a national wall. So long as we live in isolation, behind a wall, there is no relationship with another; and we live enclosed because it is much more gratifying, we think it is much more secure. The world is so disruptive, there is so much sorrow, so much pain, war, destruction, misery, that we want to escape and live within the walls of security of our own psychological being. So, relationship with most of us is actually a process of isolation, and obviously such relationship builds a society which is also isolating. That is exactly what is happening throughout the world: you remain in your isolation and stretch your hand over the wall, calling it nationalism, brotherhood or what you will, but actually sovereign governments, armies, continue. Still clinging to your own limitations, you think you can create world unity, world peace - which is impossible. So long as you have a frontier, whether national, economic, religious or social, it is an obvious fact that there cannot be peace in the world.

— From The First and Last Freedom by J. Krishnamurti, Chapter 14: Relationship And Isolation

That sounded a little preachy!

I think the greatest value of meeting other people and cultivating friendships is that it provides a mirror that lets us learn more about our own selves, so it is worth doing so, from time to time, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

It is also important to stay away from [toxic people][1].

[1]: https://www.miltonglaser.com/files/Essays-10things-8400.pdf

I love this perspective on passions and finding joy in the practical. As a former smoker, I used to get a nicotine rush while having conversations in person or over the phone (while smoking). Once that went away, 5+ years ago, I found that I enjoyed conversation less and really needed to make an effort to initiate and continue it. That hasn't gone away, so I'm hoping to get some other good perspectives on the later half of your comment.

Elaborating here with following thoughts. The approach I try to apply for "socializing" which I really unsure about - and perhaps that unsureness is exactly the point - is be a little like some machine learning algorithm. When "training set" is scarce and confidence is absolute zero, it still makes a "guess" to train. Another metaphore is playing an insturment. When you play an insturment you don't want to stop and think. Perhaps "socializing" has a unique and varying tempo to it, something between "skimming quickly over a quicksand" and "manueuvering carefully in a minefield". The only key I have to operate is to think that if I make an unwanted impression I can always make up with another impression.

Do you ever get scared you could get "too good" at socializing? To the point of manipulation?

I think if you get to influence people by your charisma, you may fear of misleading them into a bad route and feel responsible. I personally rarely feel this one.

It’s fascinating how similar your experiences are to my own. I wonder how many of us there are.

I’m also in the same place in my life where I’ve realized that I need to develop a passion for people and relationships. I have been out of balance in recent years focusing far too much on my career and technology. I think it’s an easy thing to do and offers a more measurable and explicit reward, so I gravitate toward it.

Some games are very social. I get the chance to meet people playing online games I never would have had the chance to meet, from all over the world. I've spent whole Sunday mornings discussing life, the universe, and everything with people I just met, all while we completely ruin the opposing team.

I've been programming as an adult for something like, 15 years, but I've always had a bit of a difficult balance with formalism and creativity (as well as personal opinion / preference). Have MSc in CS. But I've been hacking away at computers since since I was very young.

I lost something of myself through all my education and in work - namely - be creative. If you grow into that top .1% or whatever, everything becomes 'so serious' in maintaining that position because you effectively become an authority figure in it.

HN recently introduced me to INTERCAL and something just clicked where I was like, this can all be completely ridiculous, AND well done??? It was like all the rules of consistency, analysis relaxed, heavily. I don't have to have a mind that is perfectly structured for all things. I can balance a perspective that is diametrically opposite to all the rules and something can still be built really well.

There's something so serious about programming that has often kept me a neurotic mess about it, always keeping my sense of humor about it cleanly compartmentalized away from my code. I started working on a PhD and the pressure to make everything perfect got to me. I work as a software developer and the pressure to plan code everyone can learn and grow from turned me into an asshole!

There's always plenty of learning to be done but there's not always going to be someone whose going to be able to tell you how to get out of a 'passion rut' for you, and I'd imagine over a lifetime of passion you'd wind up experiencing plateus like that with a fair amount of frequency. Whether you find your passion early or late, maintaining interest for all that time you have can be really tough. It's something people sometimes have to help one another with and sometimes it is something one has to work hard for independently as well.

I really agree with the stress free aspect. My first solution to reduce stress was 'go really slow', tortoise versus the hare mentality. I found myself in a sort of social competition puzzle that wasn't fun and was draining me all of my brain resources automatically, as one side effect. Funny that INTERCAL is that bit of radical novelty dijkstra was talking about, for me. It's just all done the opposite, but for me - it's exactly what my mind and social life turn into when code has to be 'perfect'.

> Maybe is because "just hangout with someone" is not clearly defined. What is the point? what do we want to talk about? I don't socialize a lot outside of work.

I don't socialize much myself either, because sometimes it seems like there is supposed to be a point, but - nitpicking over that mentality in the way one might nitpick over code ... I think that's the wrong way to view relationships.

For those that are interested in this concept, Cal Newport wrote a fantastic book about this concept of developing a passion rather than "finding" it in his book "So Good They Can't Ignore You". Very highly recommend.

Also, it's currently on sale on Kindle (looks like $2.22 on the US store, $2.99 on the Australian store). I'm not sure what I think of the book yet, but people I respect have rated it highly.

Doesn't seem to be on sale for kindle anymore? When I go to the Amazon US it costs $10.52.

Do you have a direct link?

Yup, still showing for sale on Kindle here for $2.22 US, also tried visiting via a US VPN:


But I'm in Australia, so it's possible it's an Australia-only sale, even though I'm looking on the US site.

Edit: Also, here's the direct Amazon Australia link: https://www.amazon.com.au/Good-They-Cant-Ignore-You-ebook/dp...

First link tells me "this item is not available for purchase". From that page I search for the book's title and find the same thing (same product page, with same reviews, etc.) But with a 13.53$ price tag. Infuriating to realise that the price you get is based on who you are somehow.

For statistic purpose, I have it at 8.8$ on .com from France (but in a french Caribbean island, so sometimes IP locations are messed up)

Price at the US link is $13.99. Australia link says they won't sell me the Kindle version.

Same here, located in the US.

Also the work from Angela Lee Duckworth are on this subject.


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance https://g.co/kgs/tprZP4

That is an excellent book, and expounds on the ideas in this article.

Thank you - this sounds like a little gem.

Good article but for much more detailed argument I like Cal Newport’s books like Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You better.

I had a summer job programming in 1970 and really didn’t like it, but I was making something like $5/hour and learned FORTRAN. When I graduated with a BS in Physics and wanted a job I took a scientific programming job. I thought, ‘yuck, oh well.’ Funny thing was, after about 6 months I realized how good I was and that made it fun. I even gave up all free time for 2 years to take undergraduate and graduate CS classes at a local university.

Yes, the better you get at something, the more fun it sometimes is.

I can vouch for this.

I've found that usually when people say they're "passionate" about something, what they're really saying is that they have a deep yearning for the high social status they would attain if they were great at or well-known for that thing.

Also, that they believe their status is higher because they're passionate about that thing, and they wanted to remind you of that.

Half the time it's something they don't even devote very much time to, and aren't even that good at.

That might be why these "follow your passion" speeches are so effective. Everyone in the audience can have a different high-status activity in mind, and the word "passion" is like a global variable that maps straight to whatever every individual believes is the best way to achieve high social status. So you get the whole audience, and everyone can start daydreaming in unison.

> I've found that usually when people say they're "passionate" about something, what they're really saying is that they have a deep yearning for the high social status they would attain if they were great at or well-known for that thing.

This is you projecting your own motivations onto others.

This is you denying innate motivations because you don't consciously think about things that way.

Most everyone would agree that it's not really a passion if you don't devote much time to it.

It makes for a nice aspirational graduation speech, but as many PhDs will attest passion doesn’t matter much if society doesn’t value your passion and you need to put food on the table.

Problem is, "Find and follow your passion" social expectation from very early in life. In reality, 1) "finding passion" early is hard; Before one turns 12, brain is not fully develop to logically understand the true likes then from 13-19 it goes thru a huge amount of hormonal, emotional and physical changes... what's left is an average 19 year old teen with I'm "not sure my major" in college, let alone the passion.... 2) "follow passion", again the twisted notion where one's work should absolutely be their passion too... otherwise it's just a "hobby" and hobbies are supposedly not helpful....

If one finds their likes early, become really good at it and if that skill pay really well... your are top 0.1% in your field.... for the rest... build a skill that lands you a job then experiment with different hobbies... when you find a hobby you really like hopefully by age 30-35... turn that hobby in to passion, you still have 30-40+ year of average lifetime remaining....

Funny, I feel like before 12 is when our brains are free of social constraints and are most free to determine what is enjoyable or not. 5 year olds certainly know what they like.

5 years old largely follow herd - thing becomes interesting the moment multiple other kids have it and cease to he interesting when other kids change interest.

They will start like things because admired adult claims to like them, they will start to hate food because adult or other kids said it is disgusting. If you praise kid during activity, they are significantly more likely to seek that activity later and if you yell at them they will hate the activity itself. Adults are much better at sorting these influences out.

You can easily manipulate pre schoolers to dislike things and while it is a bit harder to make them like things, it is still relatively easy.

And they're virtually guaranteed to grow out of liking those things by next month.

People = Children and Adults below

I think it's a social expectation based on selection bias. i.e. I dont think many people are capable of developing passion. That's not to say the average person doesn't have interests or are uninteresting, but few people go out of their way to focus on something that is internally constructive (autodidact, hobbies, art ) as opposed to externally constructive (e.g. tv, video games, internet). Another way to put it, an artist's distraction is their art.

Im speaking from an armchair, and as someone who discovered my passion at a young age (10). Throughout the following 18 years, I rarely met people who are >= mildly obsessed over something internally constructive (granted, I didnt go to college).

It seems to me a lot of the people making a living out of art or other "commercially challenging" occupations have cultivated a passion for the business part of it as well.

I don't mean that in a cynical sense. If you view business and making money as a "necessary evil", a taint on the face of your pure artistry, then you're probably going to be miserable trying to make a living. I prefer to think about it as finding a way to create value for others through what you like to do.

The flip side though is that the business minded artists often produce the most banal work. James Patterson has made 700 million dollars over a decade from his writing and cowriting. His books dominate the shelves, but as art they barely rise to pulp status. Yet his latest novel is cowritten with ex-president Bill Clinton.

He's created value, of course. But what he does isn't art, its mass production of kitsch on an industrial scale.

Yup. And see the terrible situations is all and every vocational and artistic occupations. Competition is so fierce that almost everyone has to work basically for free and sustain themselves by doing menial job on the side. You could argue that most of them would be better finding a life occupation they're at least merely interested in instead, but providing decent living, and keeping their passion as a hobby. (I've been a professional musician many years ago, merely scraping by from gig to gig with some piano teaching).

I can't help but wonder if a planned economy would be better, someone who said "you're good enough, pursue this we will support you economically", or said "sorry you didn't make the cut you'll have to develop a passion for something else".

Look at other planned economies. They're horrible. No single group can predict the future.

What people need to do is think like responsibly put limits on their adventures. These are grown ass men and women. They are responsible for themselves and if they choose to risk it all on a passion, they have nobody to blame, especially when the money is constantly telling to do something else.

I'm not necessarily an advocate of planned economy (or actually, economy in general; the system I'm looking for has been aptly described as "the end of economy") but what you're saying completely misses the point of what GP was trying to say.

These people are responsible for themselves, and they want to follow a passion, to pursue it, despite there not being very much money in it. The money is constantly telling them to do something else, you are correct. But do we really want a society structured around what money tells people to do? Doesn't that seem even a little dystopian? I heard the phrase a while ago: "a dystopia without a despot".

You say that they have nobody to blame - but that's exactly what's wrong. Why should they have to blame themselves for following their scientific, artistic, philosophical or religious passions? Should they have to "choose to risk it all"? These are the questions that need answering, because I'm not convinced that people need to be considering artistic passions as a risk at all.

I don't think there's a solution to this problem so long as the market decides whether your passion is worthy of you being allowed to survive or not.

Money is societies way of telling people what they want. A person need not serve society, and society need not always be rational. However just with personal transactions if you want something you have to give something in return.

A person can eschew the pursuit of money but aside from basic support I don't think society needs to reward them for expressly disavowing its desires.

Because then someone or group of someone has a bais towards what are good passions and what are bad passions.

Investors have a hard enough time guessing which ideas will work out, why would people with no skin in the game know any better?

But there is already a group of people with a bias holding the purse strings. Their bias is towards profitability in every single undertaking they support. If they were replaced with planners - and let's leave aside the question of whether this is practically achievable - we could dispense with that bias. The planners would have their own biases, of course, but it is not clear to me that their biases are worse than the current ones. I suspect they might be better.

You seem to be using the phrase "no skin in the game" to mean "no exposure to financial risk". I would argue for a more expansive definition. A planner, as a member of society, does have skin in the game, as they have in interest in the overall proper functioning of that society and the happiness of its members.

And by "work out" you seem to mean "generate a desired level of financial return". I'm sure you can see how once you free yourself from that definition, the range of things it might seem worthwhile taking a punt on grows much larger. If Johnny wants to spend his life building pasta looms for preparing elaborate lasagnes, the potential upside is probably not very apparent, but the downside is small too and can be justified as an investment in making the society a more interesting place where people can pursue their niche interests.

I completely disagree with this idea, but down-voting it is kinda lame. A little more openness to different ideas would be a good thing here (and everywhere).

Would you like to be told to develop a passion for cleaning toilets?

Tax optimization works too: https://youtu.be/Bz2-49q6DOI

Isn’t this how seeking investment works?

Not at all, because you have to justify the financial upside of your venture and then the investors decide if the return they expect fits within the parameters they have already agreed on for managing their portfolio.

It is more akin to applying for a grant or residency as an artist or for research funding as a scientist. You still have to argue why there is some upside to the work you intend to undertake, but the upside may not be in the form of profit for the investor.

This might start well, but what happens when the environment changes? Maybe that musicians music doesn't pan out, maybe we thought bread would be a more popular export so we have too many bakers. Are we going to jerk people around to follow the command economy, or are we going to simply get outcompeted by capitalism in the global market place?

What exactly do you mean by "outcompeted" here?

I mean, are we going to create suboptimal products and services, ceding economic growth to other nations.

Most nations are not optimal, and cede all kinds of economic growth to other nations. Why is this a problem?

It's not a problem until there are the equivalent of bread lines (relative difficulties in providing basic goods and services) or other countries get the equivalent of the iPhone (superior goods and services that are affordable for other countries' population but not ours). And yes, this is speaking from a patriotic/state-ist view point.

In my highly subjective view artists are expecting to get paid for something that most of us have the capability to participate in with reasonable results given a similar investment of effort; in other words, most artists differ from the general population not in artistic aptitude, but rather in the desire to be an artist. I would love to sit around and play with ideas for a living, but it doesn't pay the bills in my occupation.

Relatively speaking, the majority of people have the capability to do almost anything. It's only a matter of time and resources.

Natural abilities and genetics can accelerate the learning process, yes, but accelerated mastery is really only an advantage if you're trying to master as many things as possible within your lifespan, or you're working under some other deadline.

What I'm saying here is that artists can probably develop software just as well as anyone else here if they're willing to put in the time and resources.

This has been personally true for me; I began my career as an artist. I've known a few others to do similarly. Most of the people who do coding schools come from other backgrounds, and you can say what you want about coding school grads, but I've met very few who I felt could not become good programmers someday. As you say, some people have a longer, harder path than others, but at the end of the day, the brain is pretty plastic.

Here's where we perhaps differ - I don't think most art being made today passes the test of requiring skills that take significant time to develop. A load of bricks on the floor? A woman knitting using wool pulled from her vagina and dyed with her menstrual blood? When art is purely about crazy ideas then I don't think artists have any special monopoly. If we were talking about the type of artist that has honed their skills over thousands of hours of painting, for example, I would agree that significant investment of time develops tangible skills, but this type of approach is hugely unfashionable I believe, with practitioners viewed scornfully as technicians rather than 'proper' artists.

The scorn of traditional art from conceptual art even spawned a reactionary traditionalist movement, the Stuckists.

As I understand their argument, you're supposed to choose something that can put food on the table, then work really hard at it. Once you're really good at it, you'll be passionate about it.

This is in contrast to the idea that there is something out there that you'll love doing all the time. That's a terrible idea, because you'll always hit rough spots and have to do a lot of things you hate, leading to frustration.

Which is where ability to develop passion or find it at difference places becomes great. You can find passion to something else, something that you can live on.

What happened with the tech industry is that venture capitalists generated so much hype around tech startups that it attracted a huge amount of people who were only passionate about money. Thanks to their fake smiles, polished looks, well tuned voices and flashy, well-rehearsed pitches, these people were more successful in the industry (on average) than people who were actually passionate about the actual technology.

Passionate people were essentially forced to work for the snake oil salesmen whose only passions in life are money and self-aggrandizement.

I think this process also works in successful companies, to their detriment. Google, for example, is wildly successful and people who work their make a lot of money, so it attracts people whose main motivation is to make a lot of money (personally).

So you mean the tech industry ended up just joining ordinary unregulated free market capitalism?

Sounds sub-optimal, a pain point, like something ripe for disruption.

True. At least passion should be complemented with a good exit plan.

That's why I studied Computer Science instead of 'Game Design' in college. I've been designing and making games for most of my life in some form or another (currently board and card games, previously video games) in my spare time, and spent some time in the video game industry, but I got burned out after 4 years and then was able to get a much higher paying job by going back to the corporate world.

The coding problems I solve while coding feels similar (wrestling file formats and external frameworks, optimizing bottlenecks, automating routine processes, recording various data about users and what they do in the system, and debugging hairy multithreaded procedures exists in both industries), and overtime is much less common.

But even though what I work on now gets used by major corporations and assist hundreds of thousands of people, it's hard for me to feel passionate about complex Insurance Policy objects or setting up phone systems so people can get annoyed when a robotic voice is programmed to ignore them as they jab the 0 key or say "customer service" sixteen times because they want to skip the automated process and talk to a human.

And corporate development has its own share of problems, things that are completely out of your control often times, because the directives come down from on high.

And despite there being hundreds of different industries I could work for as a software developer, I imagine I'll still encounter a lot of the same frustrations, just with the veneer of a new problem domain. Past experience shows that learning that new problem domain will carry me and keep me interested in the job for the first year, but after that starts to fade. I suppose I could hop from job to job, but I'm getting older and getting more tied down (i.e. I just bought a house, planning a wedding right now, etc.)

So what do you do when you get burned out by your exit plan?

You may want to consider contract work, where you can work on projects in multiple industries. If you get bored with a project, you just need to ride it out for a few months until something fresh comes along. Gaps between work are a great time to recharge. Of course, contracting comes with downsides like having to deal with crappy expensive health insurance, assuming you are in the US.

Have you considered a craft? Carpentry, say?

"Follow your passion" is the answer to a specific outlier problem; when people find themselves in a place that doesn't resonate with their passions at all (or to large degree), with dire effects on their psyche and well-being.

It doesn't apply to everyone, most eventually find a reasonable balance in my experience, but some people need that impetus ("follow your passion") to leave a for them toxic situation.

What I'm finding instead is that, in some sub-fields, psychology isn't developed enough to give life advice that's not going to be contradicted later, no matter if it's Stanford scholars or not.

Not really:

3. Find a job you love. Cuban says there's an easy way to tell if you've found a job that can help you build a career.

"If it matters how much you get paid, you are not in a job you really love," he writes. This doesn't mean that you should not strive to make as much money as possible, but you need to prioritize your passion over your paycheck if you want to put yourself on a rewarding career path that allows you to thrive.

"If you love what you do so much that you are willing to continue to live like a student in order to be able to stay in the job, you have found your calling," Cuban writes.

4. Be the best you can be. Once you've found your calling, whatever it is, you should have only one goal, Cuban says: "to be the best in the world at it."

Hmm. What if I live like a student because I am slightly lazy, I have modest needs, and I'm paralyzed by fear and self-doubt?

"Being narrowly focused on one area could prevent individuals from developing knowledge in other areas that could be important to their field at a later time"

When I try something new I alwayd remember this.

Sometimes doing things you like can feel like a waste of time because we always hear we need to be productive.

> And the idea that passions are found fully formed implies that the number of interests a person has is limited.

Never met someone whose passion was "found fully formed" though...

Either way if you want to make a living out of your interest you need to develop your passion/talent. Passion alone will get you nowhere without (years of) training. Use common sense.

I think finding your passion is as much as finding what you are not passionate about. Its the reason why I like trying out so many things - I want to find what I truly don't enjoy.

When I was in school, I did 2 years of research. Some of it was photovoltaics research (solar cells) and I also did some shape memory alloys research used in space-grade actuators.

I found myself not enjoying it at all.

On my metallurgical project, I would go to the lab, have to handle the most monotonous task just to test one sample. One sample took 100 hours to prepare and had very little tolerance for error. The equipment I used was kind of outdated as well. I spent several hours everyday grinding a titanium billet the size of a miniature 1/2" knife so I could check its hardness and elasticity before I loaded it into the scanning electron microscope. I lost my samples quite a few times so I had to start over by creating a new billet in the arc furnace. In the end, the data I got had too much noise and basically didn't equate to enough to publish a paper. I still defended my thesis anyhow though. I did learn alot along the way spending hours reading graduate level papers. The research might have helped understand actuation failure for space grade components. But really I felt like I was crawling at a snails pacing with the work I did. I enjoy doing things for myself first and foremost.

I find what I am most passionate about really boils down to things I did as a kid. I used to make my own modded starcraft maps in elementary school. I would download a popular map, throw it in the editor, add new logic, so I could make a game either (1) more interesting or (2) add cheats and exploits for myself. It was fun. I also built my own computer as a kid too - debugging hardware was always painful, but the moment it clicked it felt so satisfying.

Other ways I find things I am and am not passionate about. I subscribe to about 800 things on youtube that I find fascinating. Most of it is related to a combination of math, computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering. Personally I have a serious deficit knowledge on all 4 of them, but I am always learning new things everyday. I still suck at math though and I can't seem to understand how to do mathmatical induction and/or proofs though.

I spent a lot of my freetime programming because this is the easiest subject to pick up of the ones mentioned above. Its also profitable. I think its okay to be passionate about more than one thing so long as it falls under the same umbrella of things you want to do - building cool stuff. And that its okay to not spend as much time workong on them due to time constraints. I also am pretty good at welding (200+ hours) and 3D modeling as well, among other things.

Ultimately my dream is to become a 10x engineer. Someone who is so good at building anything with their mind and hands that I could create new works of art. I take inspiration from a variety of leaders in those industries - from all age groups.

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