Mash's Musings

Stick to one club

Published Apr. 5, 2021

Stick to one club. Passion stems from honing a skill.

Through most of my schooling, I was almost never involved in extracurricular activities. Growing up, I chalked this up to my parents' haughty attitude towards such things and the constant refrain that studying was all that mattered. But reflecting on my previous post, I realize that there was more at play.

There was a steady stream of trying out what was "cool" or "strategic" such as basketball, Model UN, DECA, or FSAE but then dropping out after the first couple weeks when the novelty wore off and I realized that I wasn't very good. People talked about finding your passion and so I surmised that because I was not passionate about these activities, I should drop them. What nobody told me was that passion is found by building competency and not the other way around. By quitting everything which I didn't naturally excel at, I kept eluding the very thing I was chasing. It was not until starting a full-time job, in which quitting wasn't really an option, that I started to see the joy of developing a craft, regardless of what that craft is. Suddenly I found myself interested in things I'd never thought about in my life such as graphic design, public speaking, and data analysis.

We often poke fun at "sellout" careers such as accountant or management consultant. "Who ever grows up wanting to be an accountant?", we jest. Now don't get me wrong, having met plenty of accountants and consultants, I can confirm that there are no shortage of sellouts and people "playing it safe". But what's missed is the large number of people who found their passion as they honed their craft, something that those repeating the tired trope likely have not experienced.

The hidden beauty of a club or profession is the sense of community that comes from surrounding yourself with people dedicated to honing the same craft. Through competition and camaraderie, the spark of passion grows into a flame. Seeming trivialities such as accounting exams or tech conferences become rites of passage and hotbeds of learning. So much depth becomes available in the simple exercise of coming to terms with your own incompetence. Stick to one club. Passion stems from honing a skill.