“I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.”― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Passion. It’s an exciting word. It gives you a sense of happiness, freedom, source of power, and a purpose of life. It feels like your life will be much more beautiful if you have a passion to be excited for. When you think of someone who achieved success you would say that he already discovered his passion, so he can be successful.
All the thoughts are correct.
Most of us who are ever exposed to this passion concept are trying to discover what is our true passion or passions. We believe that it is the purpose, the reason that we exist in this world. Knowing our part means we will know the place that is the fittest for us.
In this information age where everything is instant, we expect that some day our passion will suddenly appear in a flash, and we will know what to do. Then we will quit our job to pursue our passion. It doesn’t matter what people say, because we feel like we discovered the answer already, and feel there won’t be obstacles big enough to block our advance. We feel we will be strong enough to push through everything.
I’m sorry, but that’s not following your passion. That’s setting up yourself to failure, regret, and despair. Passion do not appear in a flash, or like being given an order from your boss. It has to be discovered.
Discovering means that there are efforts to be put on finding something worthwhile. After all, Christopher Columbus discovered America by making an effort of sailing to the west. America did not suddenly appear to him. And it took him quite a while to sail to find the new continent with all his crews.
Discovering your passion will take quite a long time. It requires lots of questions to ask yourself, and noticing on what you do easily in terms of skill and willpower to do it.
But, what questions you should ask yourself? Good question, since only correct questions will produce correct answers. And so, here are the questions you should ask yourselves.
Notice Your Interests
Do you talk about it all the time?
Maybe you are very good at the work you do now. But, you would prefer to talk about other things like for example, running. You talk about running to the people close to you. You share your improvements, things that might make you run faster or longer, upcoming competitions, etc.
They don’t really care about what you are saying, and you don’t care if they really listen to you or not. They would say that you won’t shut up about it, and they associate you with running. That is a good indicator that running might be your passion.
Do you have something that feels like this?
What things do you think about or do in your spare time?
There will be times when you are working or resting, you mind will wander. Other than bills, schedules or work, what do you think about? Try to be aware and take note of your thoughts.
I’m sure at least once in your entire life, there are things you really want to know, and you act on it. If you like to cook and you don’t realise it drives you, you might randomly browse the internet or experimenting new recipes in the kitchen. Maybe you should check your internet browser history some time. And see the things you browse frequently.
Notice them, it might be your hidden passion.
Do you have fun when you talk about / think / do it?
A part of passion is that you have fun with it. Sure, there will be some difficulties and setbacks when you decide you need to improve. But you almost always can overcome it. You do it because it invigorates you. There is no pain. Oh wait, there is actually. You feel pain or uneasiness when you cannot do it.
For you, it’s like playing. You don’t need to exert much willpower to do it. Because you do it naturally, it’s part of you. Lastly, when you have fun, time flies fast.
Do you feel a strong desire to improve at it?
You have been doing a new activity for some time and you really enjoy it. The usual routine you do feels too easy. You want more challenge, probably a bit of competition to see how good you are. You start to google the topic, start following some YouTube or Instagram figure that you feel are more experienced, maybe also start consulting them.
In other words, you want to improve your game and get serious about it. Maybe sometimes you don’t realise it, but it indicates you have chosen the activity as a way to show who you truly are. Should you continue this path, the people around you will associate the activity to you.
If you reach this point, then another door in the path of finding your passion has opened. Awesome! This is not an easy door to find, since the first requirement is to have fun first. And relatively there’s not many things you find to be fun.
Be Very, Very Honest
Are you really honest to yourself?
Let’s face it, sometimes we think we know it when actually we don’t. Been there myself. The first indicator is what you say does not match what you truly feel. And the second one is that you might not do much of the work yet. The third one is simply you don’t feel the fun when you do it.
It might seem obvious, but it might not. Once, I deluded myself to think that I’m an entrepreneur, that I want to create a business. Why? Because the idea of generating an unlimited income seems very cool and logical. Long story short, I didn’t put a lot of work, I was impatient, I felt burden when doing it, and ultimately I did not have fun. I felt an unexplained (at that time) pain in my chest whenever people asked me what do I do. I lied to myself to look cool. Obviously, I failed. I didn’t have the power to keep the facade.
I hope that you don’t find yourself in my position. The feelings of not being good enough and despair are quite difficult to overcome. It would take quite long. But if you do, it’s totally okay to step back and admit the lie to yourself. It’s okay to start again with another thing. No one would really care. Keep on trying new things. You will surprise yourself, in a good way.
Can you do it consistently?
The path to greatness is about consistency. It’s better to work a bit slower, but produce consistent results. Consistently improve yourself every day little by little. Eventually you will reach Rome. It does not matter if the next step is smaller than the previous step. What matters is that you keep moving forward.
As an indicator, I would say 90 days is a good benchmark to say “I’m consistent at doing this.” without feeling guilty because of lying to yourself. In other words, you can start to say it’s your passion when you already make it a habit.
Does it feel heavy?
If you just very recently trying to do it, the answer is obvious: You are not used to it yet, therefore you cannot say that it’s not your passion. Because it’s way too soon. Be patient, give it more time.
If the heaviness lingers on after some weeks, it could be two things: it’s too much for you for now, or you really don’t like it. Try reduce the load for maybe just two weeks. If it still does, then you can say it’s not your thing. Then, you have to move on and find the next thing that could be your passion.
Have you asked others on what things that gets you excited?
You are not the one who knows yourself the best. It’s actually the people who knows you. They would notice whatever you do, talk, and your behaviour towards something. Ask someone who you meet in a rather daily basis. Your coworker perhaps.
Ask them what activity that you do well, very excited to do whenever the chance comes. Let them tell you about the activity which is usually initiated by you only and the others would follow your lead. Ask what activity that is already associated to you.
You’ll be surprised to hear their answers.
Does the activity you do would benefit others?
The last question. This is the very last question to answer in your journey to find your passion. You have fun with it, improve as you go, and you feel fulfilled. And it should benefit others. Why? Because, by that time you would be the expert already. People will look up to you and set yourself to be an example.
Let’s say you discover a passion in teaching. Teaching would benefit your students to learn something new. And in the process, you would become much better at teaching, not just teaching about knowledge, but maybe about life also. The students would look up to you, inspired by you to study hard to become a teacher who is as good as you. And they would teach their own students, and the process would continue larger and larger.
You could be a hero who inspires people by doing the best thing you do, lighting up the flames of people with the same purpose as you. Which in turn would also spread the flames of more people.
Discovering your passion will take some time and patience. It is not easy, and it won’t show up in your mind suddenly like a flash of thunder. Be proactive in your search of your own passion. Ask yourself the questions. Always do your best in everything you do. Once you discover it through the process, you will have a very strong power to live your life.
I hope you find these questions useful. And I hope you discover your own passions fast, as there are people waiting to be inspired by you.
Take it as your code to live, to live your life!
“The saddest people I’ve ever met in life are the ones who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any happiness is only temporary, because there’s nothing to make it last.”― Nicholas Sparks, Dear John