“Follow your true passion,” they said.
“It will be fun,” they said.
Perhaps the biggest misconception people have about finding their so-called “passion” in life is that they expect it to be something that they’re just naturally good at doing.
We look at successful celebrities, athletes, musicians, business owners, politics and other public figures who we admire for being so good at what they do, and it’s hard not to assume that what they do so well comes effortlessly and they were simply just born to do it.
The rest of us kind of get stuck in a whirlwind of various areas of interests throughout our lifetimes, picking up new hobbies and forgetting about old ones as we grow up.
That kid in third grade who was totally obsessed with bugs may have actually grown up to become an entomologist — but maybe you quit piano lessons at age 8, got distracted by the appeal of rugby rather than continuing on with soccer practice, quit rugby later on in high school, switched majors three times in university, and have had fifteen different jobs since you entered the workforce.
Welcome to the club.
The fact is, there are a lot of people who feel like hopelessly confused passion-less quitters, and you’re not alone.
There are so many areas of interest to discover and explore throughout life, and we only have 24 hours in a day.
It’s easy to lose interest, get distracted, or simply make the excuse that there’s not enough time in the day to keep exploring a particular hobby.
As a result, so many of us find ourselves working really unfulfilling jobs and living a life that lacks meaning or purpose, all because we could never find something we were naturally passionate about and committed to doing.
The word ‘passion’ can be defined as: strong and barely controllable emotion.
When you think of what the word “passion” really means, your mind might automatically start rushing through a bunch of old hobbies and interests that you really enjoy either now or at some other previous point in your life.
Well, hey, it works for some people, like really successful people who seem to have been forever blessed with good fortune and giftedness, but what about the rest of us?
Here’s something to consider: instead of trying to find passion in things that make you happy, try to find passion in something you have always struggled with.
Great passion can be found in something you’ve previously struggled with, and have learned (or are currently learning) to overcome.
Think about your life and all the hurdles you’ve been able to get past.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the hurdle.
All that matters is that it evoked some sense of emotion inside of you that was strong enough to motivate you to figure out how to fix whatever was wrong in your life.
Focusing on a past struggle may not sound like the sexiest way to find your passion, but it can work, and it’s a great method for those who are lost and have trouble committing to an area of interest.
Some of the most passionate and successful people in the world have had to endure some very harsh and emotionally painful past events before they were ever able to pick themselves up, get their lives back on track, and start inspiring people suffering from something similar to do the same.
Take a look at these 23 successful people who failed at first, but became inspirational role models to millions of people around the world.
Ask yourself, which past or current events in your life affected you in a negative or emotional way, and what did you do to feel empowered and get through it?
I’m not saying that you have be Oprah or a former heroine addict transformed into everyone’s favourite high school guidance counselor or something.
Maybe you’ve had your heart broken one too many times, and you’re learning how to trust people again.
You could find passion in your suffering, and share with others who are struggling with the same problem to do the same.
Maybe you could write a book, or speak at an event.
Or maybe you were teased as a child for being overweight, and as an adult, you make an effort to regularly get to the gym and eat right.
Maybe you could take inspiration from your own weight loss struggle to get involved with organizations focused on bullying or eating disorders, or you could even go a step further by pursing a career in nutrition or personal training.
You don’t have to be naturally good or “gifted” at whatever you want your passion to be.
It’s important to recognize that your passion isn’t something that necessarily has to come effortlessly to you.
You don’t even need to be good at it.
Heck, you can even be terrible at it.
That’s what the journey of learning is for.
Remember, nobody’s born perfect.
As long as you can find something that really triggers your emotions and ideally can be used to represent a story in your life, you can learn to master almost anything — no matter how old or how young you may be.
So, what’s your story or struggle?
Identify it, don’t fear it, and think about how so many other people could probably benefit from what you’ve learned to achieve or overcome.
Photo via Gaby Av
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