General Question

Nimis's avatar

Would you rather have talent or passion?

Asked by Nimis (13245points) January 21st, 2009

Whenever someone asks about how to choose a career,
people like to tell them to just choose something that
they like and that they’re good at. Too bad it’s rarely that clear cut.

What if they weren’t the same thing?

Which would you rather be:
Really good at what you do and not hate it terribly?
Or really passionate about something and not suck at it entirely?
The obvious advice being: Don’t do something you hate or suck at.

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29 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

Id rather have a passion for what im doing. Sure ill be kinda crappy at first, but i know if i have that passion for it, i will gain the skill and knowledge to have talent in that field, it just takes some patience and practice.

cordovanessa's avatar

I would rather be passionate at what I do because then I would want to learn more and would strive to get better at it and with talent, you could get bored and not feel like you have to work at it which would be bad because you wouldnt truly advance at all, so i think that having a passion for what you do is best!

dlm812's avatar

Passion. It is the essence of life. It makes going to work everyday effortless. It makes the future seem obtainable. Passion is caring. Talent, while it can produce infinite opportunities… doesn’t mean happiness. Passion does.

ark_a_dong's avatar

Well, if you’re passionate about something then you’re bound to get good at it, at least in my experience. So I would choose a career I have passion for.

tennesseejac's avatar

but if I were talented enough to make tons of money (like a pro athlete) then I would stick it out for awhile.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I would rather have talent; I’m able to get passionate about just about anything. Everything is interesting to me.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s pretty sad to have a passionate desire to achieve something for which you just don’t have what it takes. I see a lot of that among would-be writers, and I suspect that the arts and athletics are full of such hopeless hopefuls. I think I’d rather be assured of the talent, which can’t be pumped up artificially, than the passion, which can.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’d rather have passion. I need the “get-up and go” that passion provides to get up and go right now with my work.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I definitely want the passion because then I can fully immerse myself in whatever is driving me. If I hate anything that bad (especially a career), I’ll never feel good about myself and I’ll never be happy with my efforts.

Siren's avatar

Passion…which is the road I’ve taken. Actually, it’s love/hate right now.

Siren's avatar

By the way, great question Nimis.

dlm812's avatar

@Siren Isn’t everything in life a love/hate relationship? ;)

Siren's avatar

@dim812: Not necessarily, in my opinion. Nothing has to be polarized.

Siren's avatar

Or else, we’d all be on prozac, right? ;)

dlm812's avatar

Maybe it’s just me then… I just try to embrace the love more than the hate. I may in fact need prozac later in life though.

onesecondregrets's avatar

Without passion, talent is a waste. I would rather have passion for something.

fireside's avatar

Don’t do something you hate or suck at.

St.George's avatar

Passion for sure. You can always become better at something through practice.

…and in the awesome words of Bongwater: Talent made me love you. Talent made me lie. Talent comes uninvited, and leaves you alone to die.

Aethelwine's avatar


augustlan's avatar

One of my favorite jobs in my life was one I was woefully under-qualified for. It left me in tears on the drive home many, many times. It was also absolutely exhilerating! I’m going to have to go with passion based on that experience.

simpleD's avatar

Passion gives life meaning. It’s not always happiness. It frequently leads to tears. But in either direction, it makes us know that we are alive—human. Possessing the greatest skills to accomplish tasks, without passion, leaves us empty.

Jeruba's avatar

I am actually amazed at the trend of the answers here. The question was about talent, not skills, and not about happiness or the meaning of life. Is there a belief that art and craft are one, that there is no such thing as innate ability, that anything can be learned, that all you have to do is want something badly enough? (Just ask Hillary.)

On the whole I think people tend to become passionate about something they are good at. First comes the native ability, then the passion, then the training of the ability with skill and craft and technique. Doing what you do well feels great. Having to do or persistently trying to do something you know you are not gifted at, no matter how badly you may want it, is a form of torture. And thinking you are good at something when you really are not (I see this a lot among the writers too) can make you ridiculous and tragic at the same time. Passion cannot save you from grief.

And there is a long, long gap between passion and indifference. Caring is common, but true passion is rare.

Maybe the split here is along age-and-experience lines?

augustlan's avatar

I think it’s all about how it makes you feel. Many of us take our talents for granted, and are not very excited about them. For instance, I am often told that I make the best sandwiches you could ever have at home. I say thanks and move on. It doesn’t seem to me that it takes any talent to do so, and certainly no passion on my part. Could I build a passionate career out of that? Probably so, but it does not interest me in the least! I am a mediocre artist, and am never happier than when I am creating art. I would love to have a creative career, but at the moment I make more practical choices. My passion is relegated to hobby status. Such is real life :(

Jeruba's avatar

Look at this question for a real-world example. Does that affect anyone’s answer at all?

augustlan's avatar

That was an interesting (and kind of sad) question, Jeruba. I pretty much answered the same as my last few sentences above.

adreamofautumn's avatar

Passion. You can LEARN to be good at things, you need passion to make it worth it.

tara3845's avatar

I’ve had unhappy talent…give me passion any day!

1000oceans's avatar

passion for sure, because with passion a skill becomes a talent

the average person possesses roughly 500 to 700 different skills and abilities, such as writing, being able to play the drums or keep a beat on guitar, catching frogs..but, what matters most is where your passion is. With passion, a skill or ability because your very own talent in which no one else can compare

so this being, you wouldn’t suck entirely becuase no one else would compare to it…

that is… if one is doing something they are passionate about

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