mind over matter,

Finding Passion

Mahesh Mahesh Follow Jul 11, 2018 · 2 mins read
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One would think that Jeff Bezos’s passion has always been Amazon and online retail, but turns out his passions are Rockets, space travel and propulsion.

Jeff Bezos talks about his passion

So he did start out doing what he was NOT passionate about, and was able to make more than a living. I am pretty sure he became passionate about Amazon possibly without actively realizing it, otherwise its unlikely Amazon will be at the place where it is today.

Bezos thinks that passion finds you, instead of the other way around. While I think may be he is right about the first half, I think one can still find a passion and become passionate about something that they may not even like to begin with. I think that one can become passionate about anything that they are working on, as long as it is not too boring and allows one to slowly increase expertise in that line of work. You may not be able to become passionate about flipping burgers, but may be able to become passionate about software engineering/machine learning/carpentry or anything else for that matter.

Let’s look at Bezos’s passion of rockets. Most likely, he was not born with a rocket-gene. He probably became interested in rockets because he either read about rockets, or saw something about rockets on the TV or in real life. He may have seen many things, but why did he become so interested in rockets? There can be any number of reasons here. May be someone influential (that can include father/mother/older sibling) was instrumental, or may be he was exposed to a few other things that made it easy for him to understand about rockets easily. Plus, in the case of rockets, they already bring with them a wow effect that makes it easy for anyone to get captivated with them.

Sure, his circumstances made it so that the passion of rockets chose him. But the point is that his passion didn’t come out of nowhere, but actually was something that he developed, without realizing it.

Similarly, it should be possible to develop new passions. You will have to start at the bottom, start exploring the space of the domain that you want to become passionate about, so that you are able to develop good mental representations of the domain and understand the challenges in the domain. It is a slow difficult process, but as you get deeper and deeper into a subject, you will realize that you are more and more interested in it, and will slowly start to develop passion for it.

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Written by Mahesh Follow
I think and read about Technology and the Human Mind. I am currently an ML engineer at Google, but the opinions here are my own and do not reflect that of my employer. Read More »