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If you’re waiting to stumble upon your passion, don’t hold your breath – a new study says you have to develop it




A job seeker holds employment papers as she attends the Choice Career Fair on November 7, 2013 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
A job seeker holds employment papers as she attends the Choice Career Fair on November 7, 2013 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Students are often told that if they choose a job they love, they’ll “never have to work a day” in their lives.

Though that concept is full of good intentions, it can lead to some unrealistic expectations for young professionals.

A new joint study from psychology professors at Yale-NUS College in Singapore and Stanford suggests that students who believe their passions are predetermined are less likely to explore subjects outside of their identified core interests – and in doing so, fail to notice a different field of study that may intersect or overlap with those interests. It also can lead some students to give up on a subject they had interest in as soon as the going gets tough, believing that if it were truly their passion, their motivation and interest would never wane.

The researchers argue this train of thought is detrimental to students who assume they’re missing a major epiphany to point them in the right direction, because in reality, interests can be cultivated over time and often include elements of less desirable work.

AirTalk wants to hear from you. What is your experience with “finding your passion”? Did you think you had one and then decide otherwise after learning more? Are you still looking for it? And what role has it played in your career, if any? Call us at 866-893-5722.

Guest:

Gregory M. Walton, co-author of the study “Implicit theories of interest: Finding your passion or developing it?”, forthcoming in journal, “Psychological Science”; associate professor of psychology at Stanford University