Passion is the new buzzword that gets tossed around a lot these days: Follow your passion. Do what you love. Earn a living by doing what you are passionate about.
Whether you make a career out of it or pursue it as a hobby, your passion should be something that adds positivity, enjoyment and a sense of purpose to your life. The time you spend doing what you love should be worth it.
So how do you discover your passion?
More often than not, your passion is usually right there in front of you, but you just tend to ignore it. With crammed schedules, emotional baggage and cluttered spaces, it is often easy to get bogged down by day-to-day priorities and practical implications instead of following your heart.
Many times, even if you know what your passion is, you may not be ready to accept it or are afraid of giving it a try. Other times, it’s the endless chatter in your mind that lets you talk yourself out of whatever your heart is yearning for. You need to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence in order to follow your passion.
For example: If it’s painting that you are interested in, your mind may tell you that art is for young people or you have to be financially stable to become an artist.
Following your passion doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. Your passion can be a hobby, something that gives you relief from your daily grind and helps you relax.
Here are some tips to help you find your passion in life. It will be well worth the effort.
- Spend some time in a quiet place. Meditation or simply spending some time in a quiet room will help cut out the noise and clutter in your mind. The peace and quiet will better allow you to ask questions and find their answers. This way you can find your passion in life.
- Pick five interests and focus on them. Cut out things that take up most of your time. You might have a lot to get done, but take time to focus on your top five interests. Become deeply engaged in those areas.
- Keep a close watch on things that make you lose track of time. Keep doing things that interest you, but start to notice which activities you enjoy more than others. Is there any activity that you get so engaged in that time seems to pass in the blink of an eye?
- What is your ideal self? You might have an ideal self in your imagination. This self can be a musician, an author, a public speaker or a chef – whoever you wish to be. Identify activities that are closely associated to the self in your imagination.
- Reflect on your past. Set aside time every day to reflect on experiences and people who have affected you in the past. Make a list of major events in your past – places or environments visited, achievements and failures, and so on. Write down how they affected your life.
- Identify people who are where you want to be. Study people who are successful in your area of passion. Observe their actions and study what they do or have done to be successful. Emulate them.
- Revisit your childhood. Prepare a catalogue of activities that you enjoyed doing as a child. Would you enjoy doing them now as well? The answer to this question can help you find your passion.
- Identify things you love. Make a list of everything you are good at and enjoy doing. Everything that gives a sense of purpose to your life.
- Consider things you’re average at or do well enough. You do not have to choose just one interest. You could choose multiple interests. For instance: If you have good writing skills and enough knowledge about politics, you could be a political writer. Successful people are not defined by a single skill. You can be a fusion of skills. You can weave all your interests together and find something that you do uniquely well enough.
- Things that you read about obsessively. Is it sports, art or culture that you read about obsessively whenever you can get your hands on something about it? Or is it politics or health books? Clues to your life’s passion might be hidden in the answers to these questions.
- Recognize things you tend to do to stop being bored. Is it exercising, spiritualism, writing or music? What do you choose to do most often when you are bored?
- Look for things that can make you talk incessantly. What are some things that you could talk about for hours? Is it music, automobiles or politics? You may notice that after you’ve been talking about it for a while, you feel energetic and super-charged up.
- Things that you can do happily for no money. Ask yourself what you would do for free just because you enjoy it so much.
- Things that make you jealous about others. Are there people who do things that annoy you? Look at the real reason behind that annoyance. They might be doing things that you wished you could. List out such people, then look at the work they do and try doing those things to find your passion.
- Find things you would love doing if you could start your life or career all over again. If given a chance to rewind your life and start all over again, what would be your career choice or what are the activities that you would want to be associated with? The answer to this question will probably help you find your passion.
- Seek out things that you are ready to spend time learning more about. Whether it’s volunteering, part-time work, interning or mentoring, attending seminars and events, connecting with people in your area of passion – what is it that you wouldn’t mind spending your time studying?
- Think of things you would do if you had all that you need. Ask yourself, ‘If I was financially secure, how would I spend my time?’
- What are the things that your family or friends know you for. Do people approach you for advice on gardening or health tips? Do people know you for your computer skills? Try to think of things that people rely on you for when they need help.
- What would you want to be remembered for once you die? If there are just a few things that you wanted people to remember about you after you die, what would it be?
- Be flexible with your interests. You do not always have to be logical when following your interests. Stay flexible and open in your approach. Go after what excites you, as you never know where your new interest might take you.
- Do not worry about the future, think of the present. Does thinking about the future stop you from taking action to find your passion? Does it raise doubts in your mind? Focus on the present and practise powerful self-talk for motivation.
- Declutter. An overload of things and unnecessary clutter drains energy out of you that could be put to use doing creative activities that could lead you to your passion. Throw away things that you no longer use and that only serve as a distraction.
- Make a creativity board. Get a large poster board and put quotes, sayings, poems, inspirational messages and images on it. Place it where you will see it every day. When you surround yourself with things that remind you of what you want to become, your awareness and passion grows.
- Talk to the elderly. They have been there and done it. Seek advice on how they found their life’s passion.
- Seek support. Make sure to seek support from people who might actually help you find your passion.
- Do research. Research industries and people that interest you. It can sometimes take time, but the things or people you relate to can lead you to your passion.
- Fight your fears. Your ideal self might be a writer, but you may feel uncomfortable or scared to follow that path. Your preconceived notions, opinions of others and fear of the unknown can hold you back from finding and following your passion. Ask yourself, ‘What exactly is holding me back and what is getting in the way of becoming my authentic self?’
- Challenge your assumptions. Most assumptions are untrue. Don’t let assumptions like, ‘I will never be able to make the money I’m making now if I follow my passion,’ or ‘Everyone will think I am crazy if I quit my job to follow my dreams,’ stop you from doing what you actually want to do.
- Do not contradict your principles and values. Know what your life principles and values are and what you cannot compromise. Avoid making decisions that contradict these values. If you love spending time with your kids, do not take on work that leaves you little time to be with your children. It will eventually make you unhappy and unsatisfied.
- Learn new things. Find something interesting and learn everything about it. Whether it’s a new language or a new skill – enjoy any activity that involves research and learning. Whatever piques your interest, immerse yourself in it. It might expose you to new ideas and people. Do not stick to one hobby or skill – try different things. You never know what may lead you to your passion.
- Hang out with people who share your interests. Be around people engaged in your areas of interest. You’ll learn more about it from them. Plus, social engagements revolving around your interests will stimulate your passion.
- Ongoing engagement with your interest. When you frequently engage with your interest, it becomes more interesting and may evolve into a passion.
- Say ‘yes’ to things that intrigue you. Attend classes and join groups related to things that intrigue you but you don’t know much about. As you learn more, you’ll know whether it is something you want to pursue further
- Do not follow someone else’s dream. Do not do things because your parents, friends or colleagues want you to. Do what comes as easily to you as breathing, but you find that other struggle with it.
- Know that it will take time and money. Following your life’s passion may require you to make short-term sacrifices. You may need to earn extra money, you may have to get some training, and you may have to offer free services in the area of your passion to make sure that you really love doing it. You will also have to learn how to gain self-discipline to achieve your goals.
- Enjoy the journey. View the entire process of discovering your passions as an adventure. See challenges as opportunities. The process might help you explore more about yourself and what you want in your life.