The summer is a time of heartsearching. Same old job – maybe it’s time to do something different. Didn’t get the exam results you hoped for – time for a change of direction.
When I was at an American university, each year the head of undergraduate studies would give the same address to the entering class: ‘find your passion.’ It gave the impression the faculty offered a beauty parade and the students surveyed the catwalk and eventually decided – ‘That’s the one for me.’
But a new study casts doubt on all this. ‘A growth mindset, rather than a fixed sense that there’s one interest you should pursue single-mindedly, improves the chances of finding your passion—and having the will to master it,’ says the study. It goes on, ‘People who perceive of themselves as works in progress, who believe in the possibilities of development rather than the fact that we’re all born with inherent fixed traits, tend to be happier, more motivated, and more successful.’
If you’ve come to believe that you have a passion – but you’ve not yet discovered it, the danger is you can become passive, waiting for the magic moment when it comes along and does all the work for you. You can also become despondent if you feel you’ve ‘missed your moment,’ if you get into assuming there’s only one passion for you. ‘A fixed theory, more than a growth theory, leads people to anticipate that a passion will provide limitless motivation and that pursuing it will not be difficult.’
It’s similar with vocation. We make a mistake when we talk of vocation as a fixed thing. With a growth mindset we realise our vocation develops and changes through our lives. The best may well be yet to come – but only if we allow our souls to grow.
God’s passion is us. There’s no doubt about that. But maybe God has a growth mindset too. Maybe the more God gets to know us – the more challenging we turn out to be – the more interesting we are to God. Maybe God looks at us, and smiles and says, ‘The best is yet to come.’