Find your passion. Follow your passion. Work at your passion. Want to know the secret to success? That’s it. That’s all. It’s all about passion. Simple, right? For some, maybe.
I swear to God, if I hear one more person tell me that all I need to do is just do what I’m passionate about, they might just find out how passionate I can be! I know that’s the key. Anyone with half a brain knows that’s the key. You don’t have to be particularly spiritual or intuitive or anything else to understand this. It’s pretty logical really. But knowing it and being able to identify it are two very different things.
Most people, at some point in their lives, will probably get around to working out what they’re passionate about. For some, it might come early on as they start thinking about their university education or their career options. For many others it comes as part of that oh-so-scary Mid Life Crisis. For the unlucky ones, the quest to discover their true passion may come much later in life, when it’s too late to do much about it. So, don’t let this be you.
Nowhere to Hide
My favourite question to ask people is, ‘If I gave you $500 million today, what would you be doing 18 months from now?’ By then you would’ve had time to go on a crazy spending spree and buy a Ferrari and a few houses and some boats. And you should still have enough money left to never have to work again. So now, what gets you out of bed? What are you going to do with your days if you don’t have to go to work? If you can answer that question, you are probably a long way towards identifying your passion. Too often people hide behind the very real issue of a lack of financial freedom. But once you remove that for them, there’s nowhere to hide. Now they need to confront the question. And for many, like me, it’s not easily answered.
Lately I’ve been asking myself why I’m finding it so hard to identify things that I am truly passionate about. I think it’s because maybe I’ve set the bar too high for passion. I have known people who get super excited about protecting the environment. So much so that I can literally see their pupils dilate as they talk about it. I have seen people physically shudder when they tell me about the long history animal testing in the cosmetic industry. And I have seen people who positively glow when they are in their work setting. They love their job that much. I want that level of emotion. Anything less must mean I’m not really passionate about it after all.
Passion by Degrees
Can there really be degrees of passion? I guess so. Is it possible that you and I can both be passionate about the same thing, yet one of us can be more passionate than the other? I think so. We all have different levels of response to emotional stimuli. Each of us processes and responds to that stimuli in our own unique way. So, trying to grade degrees of passion across individuals is probably a pointless exercise. Comparisons don’t matter in this case. Human nature suggests that we’ll probably make those comparisons anyway though.
If you still haven’t worked out what you are truly passionate about, don’t despair. Just keep searching and remain open to the possibilities. You already have a pre-conceived ideas about what it should be, but maybe it’s something completely different. Start with something you simply like to do in your free time. That’s as good a place as any to start. You may think you’re not really passionate about it, but the more you do it, the more you learn, you may well develop a passion for it.
It doesn’t have to happen today. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. And it doesn’t need to be the same level of passion as you have seen from others around you. Remember, we’re talking about your passion. Nobody else’s.