A lot of people go through their lives -or most of their lives- without ever even knowing what they’re truly passionate about. I honestly think that happens more often than we’d like to admit. See, the truth is that many of us live our lives mirroring and encompassing the passions and desires of others, on an endless mission to live up to the expectations of everyone around us but our own.
It’s not a bad thing to take the advice of others, or follow the footsteps of those we admire, but how often do we step back and think: “What do I really want?” Without any outside influences. Without predisposed beliefs or conditioning we’ve made up in our minds over the course of our lives. Not very often. And that’s exactly how we end up living on “autopilot”. Going through the motions, and getting through each day doing what, at this point, we think we're just “supposed” to be doing. Sticking around people that society has placed around us, getting educations or careers that their parents imposed on us (even if it was with good intentions), working jobs that are “comfortable” and simply pay the bills.
As humans, our brains are programmed to “protect” us from anything and everything that seems like it can harm us. Failure, rejection, - basically all of the stepping stones towards success - our mind has pretty much taken it upon itself to avoid these things for us, a lot of the time without us even consciously knowing it.
Anything outside of our comfort zone is presumed to be dangerous, so it becomes easy - and pretty much second nature - for us to run away from these things. But guess what? That space of not being comfortable, of fear, of vulnerability, that’s usually where we have to go to find what we’re truly passionate about, and to do that every day. And we have to trust that we’ll be okay on the other side of it.
Even if it’s uncertain, even if you don’t even know where to start, when you’re doing what you’re passionate about and living your purpose, everything else falls into place.
So, how do you find your passion? This is where some good old self-reflecting comes in. Nobody else can give you the answer for this one, it’s up to you to decide. All I can give you are some tips you can use along the way:
1) Ask yourself. Literally.
I’m a big believer that we have all the answers we seek somewhere within us, sometimes we just need to do a little digging. Personally, when I have an inner question or decision to make, I take some time to meditate and then write down every thought I have in a stream of consciousness, clearing my mind and basically talking it out with myself, repeating the question until I come up with an answer. Believe it or not, this works for me everytime and I trust whatever my intuition tells me.
You can apply this method however you see fit, whether you literally sit down for a few minutes and ask yourself “What am I passionate about”, or write down a list of things you enjoy doing in general. The key to this step is taking time to be with yourself, without any outside influence, without expectations, without attachment to outcome, and simply observe.
2) Do you have any hobbies?
Hobbies are usually the things we do for pure enjoyment, but haven’t taken seriously enough to dedicate our lives to, but maybe it’s as simple as that for you. Do you have any hobbies or pastimes that bring you joy or ignite that spark in you, but you’ve never thought of as a realistic possibility, so you’ve always just sweeped it to the side? Imagine you could do this every day of your life and be fulfilled and financially secure, simply by doing that thing. Would you do it? If the answer is yes, you’re already a step ahead!
I’m not saying to quit your day job just yet, but start by shifting your perspective, and know that you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, and anything you tell yourself otherwise is just an excuse. Even if you think your hobby is the most random and outlandish thing, trust me, there’s someone out there that will resonate with you and what you do, and you can turn it into a living. Think about it like this: if kids these days make livings lip-syncing on the internet, you can make a living doing something you enjoy, literally whatever that is. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
3) What’s something you’re interested in, in general?
What kinds of books or magazines do you read? What do you love to learn about or talk about? What sparks an interest in you? Anything and everything, make a list.
4) What gets you out of bed in the morning?
This may seem cliche, but the reality is that when you know your purpose, and when you do what you’re passionate about, it becomes exciting to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t dwell on the alarm clock going off. You don’t hit the snooze button 100 times. You look forward to another day of doing what you love.
So ask yourself, all other factors aside, what’s something you could do everyday that will make you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Is it writing? Drawing? Cooking? Being Outdoors? Making videos? Anything that may be, write it down, and expand on that idea.
5) Take action.
After you’ve done all of that of self-talk and evaluating, it’s time to get out of your head. Don’t get too caught up on thinking about it, the key is actually doing. Make a commitment to yourself. This is your life and it's up to you how you spend it, so you have to make yourself a priority and take consistent action towards what you’re passionate about, whatever it may be. Even if it’s just a hobby or a side-hustle at first, take that action and make time for it every single day. Do the research, make a plan, take the steps.
When you give energy to something, that energy will be reciprocated. Put in the time, effort, and most importantly love. Make it a point to do everything with love. When you live a life of love, your life will love you back.