Why Trying to “Find Your Passion” is a Waste of Time
Sorry to be a downer, but I’m just going to say it: most of us will never “find our passion”. We won’t suddenly receive our calling after years of waiting for it to find us. We won’t finally discover what we were put on Earth to do, embrace it with everything we have, and forget what life was even like before we had our blessed epiphany. (“Finally! My patience has paid off! It has come to me! I will be forever fulfilled!”)
To be fair, we all know a rare few who do seem lucky enough to have had this happen to them. They discover a new hobby and realize they actually want to build their life around it. They’ve had a decades-long itch to pursue a different career path, and when they finally take the risk, it was the best thing they ever did. There are even some people who have somehow known “their passion” since they were a kid. These people do exist, but they are the exception.
My question is: Why do we think our passion is one thing? One goal, one love, one purpose? I’m often guilty of having this view too, but I realized recently that the harsh truth is it can very often be an excuse and a protective shield. I can’t possibly live a full and rewarding life if the universe is still withholding my passion, right? Isn’t it a waste of time to invest emotionally and financially in self-improvement if I don’t know what area I’m meant to be focusing on? Why risk showing my soul to the universe, putting my ego on the line, or making mistakes if my passion hasn’t come to me yet?
All wrong. (But you kind of know that already…)
Instead, let’s ponder David Brooks’ recent piece about living a life of passion. It made me realize that it’s just as important (preferable?) to live passionately as it is to find our passion. It’s more important to have a passionate mindset and a passionate approach to life than it is to live a potentially passive existence for decades, while patiently waiting for something to hit us and give us permission to embrace life. Especially for those of us who aim to “find our passion” so we can make the world a better place or improve others’ lives, let’s admit there’s an opportunity to do that now — like, every single day — by living passionately.
So why don’t we live passionately? It requires getting over our fears. Ah, those pesky crippling fears.
I suspect that by viewing “our passion” as one single monumental thing out there in the universe that we might never find, we’re subconsciously putting it out of our grasp and giving ourselves an ‘out’ from having to face our fears of failure or missteps. I think we know 99.9% of us will never be “lucky” enough to find our passion, so we view it as a needle in a haystack and largely out of our control. The truth is, though, we’re not unhappy and unfulfilled because our passion hasn’t presented itself. We’re not where we want to be because of FEAR. For me, I know that’s true.
Let’s make 2017 the year we get over that fear. (And the year is half over, so giddy up.) Let’s stop prioritizing “finding our passion” and instead realize the beauty of LIVING WITH PASSION. It’s not a second-best scenario. It’s a BETTER scenario, because if we can find the nerve (the hard part!), we can start right now — right this minute — instead of waiting for the universe.
At the end of that David Brooks article I mentioned, he asks “who would you be and what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Let’s think about that, then get our badass passionate selves in order and get started. Today.