“Find your passion,” we’re urged, and everything will fall into place. So we spend our time struggling to hunt down 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 days 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 family and 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.
Maybe you’re looking at how to find your passion because you’re bored in your current job, just starting out, or reinventing yourself. Whatever your reason, finding your passion will make your life more interesting — but you can’t just go looking for a way to make money that will excite you.
Instead, you have to go about things in reverse by figuring out what’s important to you. That thing doesn’t have to be exciting or immediately scream “job opportunity”. In fact, maybe it isn’t something you would ever want to do as a job.
But it does need 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 or don’t see how you possibly could right now. 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.)
Home in on your passion
For now, start homing in on your passion. Take a little while and make a list of the things you like to do. Include things that go on in the world that interest you; topics you like to read, watch, or hear about.
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. 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.
When you find it, write it down.
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, and I am so one of them. If you’re like me, think more practically. Answer this questions instead: what kinds of things do you do even though you don’t have to do them?
Here are a few examples from my life: I’ve always had pets, even though I’m allergic to most animals. Clearly they are more important to me than living life without allergy symptoms. I don’t have to write this blog, but I do it anyway. I’ve written since before I could form real letters, just because I wanted to. I don’t have to paint. It costs me quite a bit of money to do so, but I do it anyway. The list goes on…
What are YOU doing that you don’t have to do? That’s a great way to find your passion. Once you do, maybe you can figure out a way to make money from it. (But if you can’t, so what? At least you’ll be doing things you enjoy.)
Work and income don’t have to spring from passion. You can also just take pride in doing a job well that meets your needs, and find ways to enjoy whatever you’re doing.
One last thing…
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 — even if it doesn’t sound all that appealing. You won’t know whether or not you like it until you give it a try, and you might end up really loving it.