“Find your passion,” we’re urged, and everything will fall into place. So we spend our time struggling to find that passion as if it were some sort of elusive beast lurking deep in the jungle. The reality is, your passion is often right in front of you.
You just can’t see it, because it’s covered up with ordinary.
You spend your day going to work, doing what needs to be done around the house, and then relaxing for a bit in front of the computer, TV, or with friends. If you want to find your passion, you’ve got to open your eyes to what you believe in.
How to find your passion
Too many people confuse figuring out what gets them excited with finding a source of income that they will be thrilled by. You have to go about it in reverse by figuring out what is important to you.
And that doesn’t have to be exciting, or something that immediately screams “job opportunity”. In fact, maybe it’s not something you would ever want to do as a job. It just has to be something that you believe in, or enjoy doing so much that you do it anyway — even if you’re not making a dime from it.
And that’s exactly where you start. Make a list of the things you like to do, and the things that go on in the world that interest you.
Narrow it down
Maybe you watched a show on TV years ago about children starving in Africa, and it keeps coming to mind. Well, why does it keep coming to mind? Be honest with yourself, and don’t just go with the obvious.
Is it the raw beauty of Africa itself, the desire to help children, wanting to stamp out hunger, the film work of the documentary, your anger at corruption, anger at the way we waste the world’s resources, a wish to change the world?
Your gut will know the answer. It’s up to you not to immediate discard it.
Note that “knowing the answer” doesn’t mean “knowing how to make money from my passion”. In fact, maybe you won’t make money from it. (I doubt that, but by putting the idea of making money from it aside, you’ll open yourself up to more possibilities. Worry about that part later.)
What if you still don’t know?
First off, try going about it indirectly. If someone were to ask me what I was passionate about, I’d probably stare at them blankly. Some people just don’t respond well when put on the spot. If you’re one of them, think more practically. Answer this instead: what kinds of things do I do even though I don’t have to?
For example, I have pets. I don’t have to have them, and in fact I’m allergic to most animals. Clearly they are important to me. I don’t have to write this blog, but I do it anyway. In fact, I’ve written since before I could form real letters. I don’t have to paint. In fact, it costs me quite a bit of money to do so. What are you doing that you don’t have to do? That’s a great way to find your passion.
If the things you do every day are just ways to fill time, stop doing them so much. Spend one day a week trying new things at random. Go for a walk. Go to the zoo. Stop by a nursing home and visit with the sick or the elderly. Volunteer on a political campaign. Just do something that you’ve never done before. You won’t know whether or not you like it until you give it a try.
Keep the immediate goal in mind
Maybe you’re looking at how to find your passion because you’re bored in your current job, but finding a job that you love isn’t the immediate goal. Instead, it’s learning something about yourself — and then not throwing out what you discover.
Just look for your passion right in front of you, and trust that doing something with it will come later.Posted in Motivation on 02.15.12 with 6 comments.