When students enter college, many are told it’s an arena “to find your passion” — that in classroom lectures, late-night debates with roommates, student clubs and/or literature, you will unearth the thing — your career, your calling, an area that will sustain your mind and soul.
It’s just waiting to be discovered, that thing you can explore with boundless motivation.
But perhaps that’s poor advice, at least according to psychologists from Stanford University and Yale-NUS College, in Singapore.
Passions are not necessarily inherent, waiting to be found, but rather they are cultivated, the researchers argue in a new paper to be published in the journal Psychological Science.
How students are taught this lesson can affect how they learn, because those who believe the old adage — that passions are “fixed” — tend to give up on new interests when they get too difficult to learn, the study suggests.
“It’s the idea of broadening the possibility of having more interests, allowing for the possibility that your interests could stretch,” said Carol Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford and one of the paper’s authors. “And especially in higher education, that’s the time when you can readily expose yourself to a number of areas and see connections.”
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