For those who are trying to find their passion
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked.”
Many people are having difficulty with “finding their passion in life”, and I think that this is the result of the misconceptions they have about how this process works. In this article I want to share some ideas that helped me to understand what I want out of life.
You don’t find your passion, you create it
People often think that there’s a magic “right” job waiting for them, and that if they find it, they’ll immediately recognize that this is what they were meant to do. Their problem is that they’re trying to judge all things in the abstract before they do them. That’s a mistake. It’s hard to predict what you’ll eventually love before doing it.
Trying to “find” your passion implies that in life there exists some preexisting purpose, and all you need to do is discover it. That is not true.
Feeling of passion is not where you start looking for your path, many people who love what they do started doing it without passion, and you are not supposed to be feeling exceptionally passionate about any activity when you begin learning. You do not have to be born with talents or passions, you can develop them.
There’s no inborn connection between you and some activity. You weren’t “destined” to do anything, you can do whatever you want. You pick a direction in life, make choices, set goals, pursue them, and as you go further on your path, you develop your skills and passions along the way.
Don’t start with passion, start with values
If you don’t feel passionate about anything — you don’t need to look for an activity that makes you feel excited right now, instead — understand what you value in life, and pursue activities that allow you to maximize your values.
What impact do you want to make on the world? What kind of skills would you like to develop? What do you want to create? What do you want to be good at?
You don’t have to know the ultimate answer for your life to start acting, all you need is a direction
Right now you may not have the necessary experience and information to make the perfect choice and set the best long term goals, but it’s okay not to know your ultimate destination when you begin walking your path.
Don’t think about your goals as a lighthouse in the distance that you must travel towards, instead — think of them as a compass. Just pick the general direction you want to walk towards, and then correct the course as you go.
Make the best choice you can using the information that you have, and roll with it. Each step forward that you take enables you to see what’s in front of you more clearly, which enables you to make more accurate decisions. So make a decision now, you can always change your mind later.
Passion is a side effect of mastery
Don’t follow your passion, become very good at something instead, and passion will follow you.
Being excited about some activity is a side effect of being good at it. Adopt the Craftsman mindset — move your focus away from finding the right work and towards mastering your craft, and the passion will follow.
What one man can do another man can do. There’s no gene for being a great writer, doctor, artist, pilot, or whatever. If some activity works for someone else — then it can work for you too, you can develop your passion just like any other skill.
Passion is not some mystical power that only chosen ones possess, it’s just that passionate people are doing(maybe unconsciously) something right. If you haven’t “found your passion” yet it simply means that for now you haven’t found the right ingredients.
If somebody does something and really enjoys it — it means that you can replicate it and enjoy this thing as well. Try to understand what passionate people do right, and then consciously practice it.
You don’t have to feel passion 100% of the time.
Emotions are inconsistent and unreliable. When you don’t feel like doing your chosen work, instead of questioning whether or not you have “passion”, trust the decisions that you’ve made and keep working on your skill. If it is something you care about getting good at — just practice, and as you get better, you will feel passionate about it more often.
Align your current emotions with the goals that you’ve proactively set, not the other way around.