When it comes to the question of how to find your passion, the answers are anything but simple. The truth is — finding a passion is an uphill battle.
When you meet someone who is clearly passionate about their work, hobbies, or simply the topic of conversation, do you feel that little ping of jealousy? I know I did.
Dozens of TV shows and movies taunted me by showing these incredibly successful people who were, against all odds, following their passions all the way to a neat happy end. But, in reality, life doesn’t work like that for most people. No, most of them (myself included) have no idea what their passion is.
I had a seemingly carefree life. I didn’t have to find my way around or over many obstacles to achieve something (or anything, really). So, I recognize that I’m privileged. However, I also had no idea what my passion in life was. I finished school, found a job, and… lived.
I wasn’t particularly passionate about anything. Sure, I liked my job, but it was a means to an end. When I finally grew tired of living like that, I sat down and tried to figure out the elusive question of my passion.
How to Find Your Passion — Round One
1. What Does Passion Mean to You?
Before figuring out how to find your passion, you first must determine what passion actually is. Not everyone sees things in the same way as you do. Therefore, you can’t really rely on other people’s definitions of fascination, happiness, and joy.
Some people are passionate about saving the world. Of course, they can’t achieve that, but they’re excited about trying. You might think that the only passions worth mentioning are the ones that better the world. Why pursue a passion if it doesn’t help those in need, right?
While being passionate about that is admirable, it’s quite alright to be excited about anything. What’s more, everything and anything can better the world.
Maybe your passion is gardening. Sure, it won’t help the homeless as much as volunteering at the shelter will, but it will make the world just a teeny bit more beautiful. And isn’t that marvelous?
2. What Do You Really Want Out of Life?
This is the core question that will help you find your passion. What do you want? What is it that would make getting up in the morning a joy instead of a chore?
You probably already know what you should do. Get a job, pay taxes, contribute to society, make your parents proud, etc. But I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about wants. What do you have a burning desire for? If there were no societal (or parental) expectations, what would you be filling your time with?
If you say, “Watching Netflix,” imagine doing that for months. Sounds boring, right? Now think about your answer again. What is it that you really want?
3. What Made You Feel Free and Carefree
If you don’t have an answer to the previous question — don’t worry. Not many people do. So, here’s another inquiry that will further the pursuit of your true passion — what made you happy as a child?
Surely some activities made you feel free and content. Maybe you liked collecting rocks, or you were extremely interested in dinosaurs? Perhaps you loved writing down stories you made up or were content to spend hours coloring and painting?
All these memories could help you find your passion. If they don’t, think about your past self. Think about that little kid that had their entire life in front of them. What would they say to you? How would they advise you to fill your time?
How to Find Your Passion — Round Two
4. Which Skills Come to You Naturally
Some people are incredibly skilled at a few particular things, while others have more than a few skills but fall on the “moderately adept” side of the skill scale. Ask yourself what your strong suits are.
Your skills don’t have to be life-changing. Not everyone can do a running double stitch on an open heart. It’s OK to have “mundane” skills. Maybe you make a mean lasagna, or you can solve riddles and puzzles quickly.
Either way, recognizing all your skills can help you find your passion. It’s quite logical to extrapolate your passion from things you’re good at (or at least be passionate about them).
5. What Is Your Biggest Achievement
If you don’t think you’re particularly skilled at anything (which probably isn’t true), turn the question upside-down and ask yourself what your most significant achievement is.
People’s achievements are rarely a consequence of circumstance. Sure, you might have had more luck than you were hoping for when you achieved something. However, success came to you mainly because of your actions and skills. Think about which know-how got you your most significant achievement, and see if that’s something that you can turn into a passion.
6. What Are Your Interests
Before you proclaim that you don’t have any hobbies, take a breath and hear me out. Everyone has interests. Surely you have something that you find intriguing or entertaining. Even if you don’t pursue those thoughts into actions, those things are still your interests.
Let me make it a bit clearer. Perhaps you think that painting is quite captivating, but you’ve never picked up a painting brush. That’s fine; painting still counts as an interest.
So, consider all your interests and decide which of them are worth spending time on. Perhaps one or more of them can morph into a passion.
How to Find Your Passion — Round Three
7. What Do Your Friends and Family Turn to You for Help
This question is quite similar to the one about skills. It’s a more complicated question, sure. However, ironically, it’s also easier to answer. If you aren’t sure what skills you actually have, this question will help.
If all your friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances turn to you when they need help with a particular matter (or a few), you can confidently say, ‘That’s one of my skills!’
Once you figure out what that is, consider if that’s perhaps your true passion. After all, many people are passionate about helping others in one way or another. So why not turn your particular brand of helpfulness into a passion?
8. What Activities Consume You
Is there an activity that consumes you so much that it makes you forget about everything else? And I do mean everything else — even basic needs such as eating and peeing!
If your answer is “Yes!” then you’ve already found your passion, you just didn’t label it as such. It takes a lot to make people forget to pee.
If there’s an activity that makes you lose track of time or a topic that you could talk about for hours, then that’s your passion. Now, don’t get discouraged if you can only think of a few instances where you lost track of time. What’s more, don’t get disheartened either if those instances were a happenstance of different activities that are in no way connected.
Because here’s the secret — they probably are connected! You just have to think about the essential skills that were the core of those activities. Perhaps it was creating or solving problems, or something else entirely! Either way, when you figure that out, you’ll probably be able to answer the question of how to find your passion.
9. What Would You Do If There Were No Obstacles Before You?
Imagine that you have all the money in the world. Even better, you have enough that you don’t have to think about expenses, bills, mortgages, and loans. If that was the case, how would you spend your time?
Maybe you’d illustrate children’s books? Or, perhaps you’d write them? Or you’d have a huge garden full of exotic flowers or a winery with bottles of glorious red and delightful white? Whatever it is, chances are — it’s your passion.
A Few Parting Words
Many people already know their passions but are so unsure about pursuing them that they forget about them. If that’s the case with you, consider what it is that’s stopping you from following your passion. Maybe your passion wouldn’t provide a sustainable income? Or it would make the society around you baffled?
If that’s the case, think about how you can fix these issues. Maybe you won’t be able to pursue your passion full-time, but surely you can carve out a part of your day (or week or even month) for your passion?
Once you figure out how to find your passion, finding the courage to make it a part of your life is the next huge step. Don’t let yourself live a passionless life. Find it now, and pursue it all the way to your own happy end.