How many times have you heard that you need to find your passion?
It almost seems as if we need to have a passion for finding our passion.
The problem is that so many of us have no idea what our passion is.
Thinking about that subject may even remind us that we’re stuck in a job we hate and just working for a paycheck. And, we begin to feel depressed and disheartened, until we distract ourselves over some drinks with a friend or an episode of Suits.
The thought of even looking for our passion paralyzes us.
Could the word passion itself be part of the problem?
Many of us may believe that we find what we love to do at first sight. And, after that, we will have this clear and strong understanding of what our passion is. But, is that the way it happens?
We forget that there are many ways of finding love.
Romantic love rarely even happens in an instant. Typically, we meet someone and find them interesting, and we take it from there. As the relationship blossoms, it turns into love. And, as many of those who are in successful, long-term relationships know, love requires constant work to get better, richer.
Could the kind of work we fall in love with also require work?
Angela Duckworth seems to think so. She’s a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the New York Times Best Selling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
In her research, she interviewed various accomplished people from professional musicians to successful business people. Duckworth found that her interviewees didn’t start with one overwhelming passion that struck them instantly. Their passion started with interest. Then they pursued it, and it grew to become the passion that would ultimately lead to their success.
Love may not instantly burst into a roaring fire. But, it does need a spark.
Well, how do you find that spark?
Explore and get out of your comfort zone.
Duckworth in her research discovered that her interviewees just tried different things to find their interest. As they were experimenting and found that something didn’t fit, they just moved on to something else. They did that until they uncovered something that held their interest and was worth pursuing.
When was the last time you just tried something new?
Trying something new is rarely comfortable. You might feel dumb doing it. But getting yourself into unfamiliar territory is an important part of the process. If you’ve been doing the same things year over year and haven’t discovered what your love to do, change is the best possible way to find it.
Doing things that are new and uncomfortable open your mind to possibilities, different worlds, and, even, opportunities.
Read like your success depends on it.
People who are successful often say that they have made reading a habit.
Elon Musk, The Wright Brothers, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet all read regularly and often. Buffet reads about 600–1000 pages per day. Now, you don’t need to go that far, but it should be a habit.
Reading every day will expose you to new ideas and ways of thinking.
To make it a practice requires discipline. You should schedule times to read, and then actually follow through with it. It may not feel fun after several weeks. Life gets in the way but stick with it. Reading the right books will pay dividends as you seek to find your interest. It will also help you even after you’ve found it.
Talk to people who’ve journeyed beyond you.
Surprisingly, people who’ve found success doing what they love are willing to grab a cup of coffee from someone who needs help in their career.
If you’re interested in a certain sector or job, contact someone you know in that field who’s successful and passionate about their work.
Don’t let your shyness get in the way of finding that thing you love.
When you contact this person, be straightforward. Tell them that you want fifteen to thirty minutes of their time to talk to them about their job or career because you’re looking for direction in yours.
And, please, pay for their coffee.
Finding work we love is a journey that requires exploration and work.
It doesn’t just fall in our laps. We need to seek it, and that takes time, energy, and focus.
Let me leave you with this last thought that has always given me the perspective I needed to pursue my passion.
We all die.
Death is the great leveler. You can’t stop it. Money cannot help you here.
All of us have a limited amount of time. We all are finite.
So the question is how do you want to fill your time? Do you want to live a nice comfortable life where you smile and act happy, but deep down inside you’re secretly dissatisfied?
You just clock in and out of work so that you can have a certain lifestyle, go home and do it all over again?
Or, will you pursue the work that you love and die with less regret?