I have heard many people wail ”If only I could find my passion, I would be truly happy” Passion is real, and a very strong emotion. But almost everything everyone believes about finding their passion is misinformed. There is a lot of misleading advice to find your passion out there so let’s debunk those myths!
They have everything backwards!
Tip 1: Passion is rooted in success, not the other way round
Imagine you start to learn a language. You find it easy. You realise you’re top of the class and learn faster than your classmates. That thrill you experience is your passion, and that passion makes you work harder, improving your skills, and consolidating your strengths. Very soon you speak that language competently, perhaps even going to that country to become fluent.
Passion is rooted in success.
The nemesis of passion is frustration. If you find something difficult and struggle to succeed, it will be hard to develop a passion for it. It’s normal to be discouraged. You might commit to learning basic skills or to become competent, but you may never feel passionate about that language.
But for some, the perseverance required to gain those skills can contribute to becoming passionate about an activity.
This is why most people get this the wrong way round. They think because we are passionate about something we become good at it. It’s actually finding that you’re good at something which comes first and makes you passionate. If you are passionate about something the chances of becoming excellent are greater.
Tip 2: Passion can come later and change, it’s not always rooted in childhood
Many believe that passions are rooted in childhood. That can be the case for some. Many athletes and artists in particular claim their passion and skill for their sport or craft was evident in kindergarten. But it’s not a universal truism. School curricula are relatively limited and most people don’t discover their passions until later in their careers. They grow up without feeling passionate about anything except recess and vacations.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and quit early if what you do doesn’t excite you. When you love what you do it’s not work.
There are many individuals who developed a passion for something when they were much older. Professor Brian Cox left school to become a successful rock star and only much later returned to university to finish his academic studies and gain a PhD. He is now a high profile scientific broadcaster, passionate about making science accessible to ordinary people.
Tip 3: Passion can be created, it’s not necessarily innate
They are continuous learners, never afraid to experiment and try new things. They synthesise their skills, and it’s that final combo that makes them special and adds the real value. Because passion is rooted in success, the new hybrid you will be the model that gets you the best results.
Sara Blakely probably didn’t give women’s underwear a second thought growing up, and may not have been the best lingerie designer ever. But her determination, combined with her business skills has made her a household name in the world of women’s undies.
Tip 4: Be open to change, passion can change
Times change fast and there are so many new possibilities that weren’t around twenty or even ten years ago that there are many opportunities to try new things and find your passion.
The technical person who found English hard in college or high school can go on to become a successful technology blogger. This new way of communicating to an audience might just hit the sweet spot, with 500 word posts and not a 2000 word dissertation.
Even if we are passionate about something it’s always important to have a Plan B. Sometimes passions have a short shelf life. Athletes in particular retire early or are vulnerable to injury. We can feel passionate about an activity but it may not generate a living revenue, so we need other sources of income. Also occupational roles are increasingly multi-skilled so we need to be more than one trick ponies.
Remember you have the power to create your own future!