It can be so frustrating when people advise you, “Just follow your passion!” Yeah, sure, you’d love to — if only you knew what your passion was or there is another one “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is another college-counseling.
If you are here, then you either there is a chance that you feel like you’re on someone else’s path, or maybe you’re a recent college grad and have no idea what to do next, or maybe you feel creatively blocked and bored with your career, You are not alone.
There are so many people are waiting to find their passion, like you!
The Article, Implicit Theories of Interest — recently performed a study that suggests it might be time to change the way we think about our interests. They argue Passions aren’t “found ” they’re developed.
But in the end, it’s all about MINDSET. Let’s approach the concept in both ways: How can you find them and How to develop them?
- Fixed theory of interests — the idea that core interests are there from birth, just waiting to be discovered
- Growth theory — the idea that interests are something anyone can cultivate over time.
Fixed theory of interests
“Become who you are by learning who you are.” -Ancient Greek poet Pindar
Many of the greatest Masters in history have confessed to experiencing some kind of force or voice or sense of destiny that has guided them forward.
- For Napoleon Bonaparte, it was his “star” that he always felt in ascendance when he made the right move.
- For Socrates, it was his daemon, a voice that he heard, perhaps from the gods, which inevitably spoke to him in the negative — telling him what to avoid.
- For Goethe, he also called it a daemon — a kind of spirit that dwelled within him and compelled him to fulfill his destiny.
- In more modern times, Albert Einstein talked of a kind of inner voice that shaped the direction of his speculations.
- Leonardo da Vinci experienced his own sense of fate/Instinct.
So, If you are like these great minds and If you believe, that you have something just waiting to be discovered or you already know what is your passion and don’t know how to develop it, This is your approach. Let’s break it down.
1. Connect with your inner self.
Ask these questions
- What subject could I read 1000 books about without getting bored?
- What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?
- What would I spend my time doing if I have money to do anything?
Remember what you loved doing as a child. For Marie Curie, it was wandering into her father’s laboratory and being fascinated by his instruments.
Things that transfixed you as a child, that you found most exciting, was not a passing fancy, but a message about what you’re supposed to do. Ask yourself: Is there something you already love doing or deep wonder, gives power, and heightened awareness? Do you have a hobby, or something you loved doing very often, but never considered it as a profession? It can be anything collecting something, making something, creating something or building something…something something….
What would you love to spend hours doing, that you never get enough time to do? That’s a passion, and you probably need to do it more than you are.
Well, get out a sheet of paper, and start writing down what you love doing. You must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it.
2. Work life equilibrium
Legendary neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran was at once a restless and dissatisfied professor of Psychology. What was supposed to be a calling felt like a job. When he began the study of phantom limbs and anomalous brain disorders, he found questions about the brain and consciousness that fascinate him to this day. Find anything that fascinates you, that doesn’t feel like work but a part of life. That makes you want to achieve as bad as you want to breathe.
Too often we make a separation in our lives — there is work and there is life outside work, where we find real pleasure and fulfillment. Work is often seen as a means for making money so we can enjoy that second life that we lead. It shouldn’t feel that way if you find/develop that “passion”.
3. Find a niche
It is never a simple process to find such a niche. It requires patience and a particular strategy.
In the beginning, you choose a field that roughly corresponds to your interests (medicine, electrical engineering). From there you can go in one of two directions.
- The first is the Ramachandran Path: From within your chosen field, you look for side paths that particularly attract you. When it’s possible, you make a move to this narrower field.
- The second is the Matsuoka Path: Once you have mastered your first field (robotics), you look for other subjects or skills that you can conquer (neuroscience), on your own time if necessary. You can now combine this added field of knowledge to the original one, perhaps creating a new field, or at least making novel connections between them.
4. Connect with the larger purpose to your life.
“He who has a why can bear any how.” — Man search for meaning
If you feel connected to something larger than yourself, you’re driven by the very highest level of achievement, greater than the people around you, whether that means God, spirituality, or a set of values you live by. In short, something that will outlast and outlive you. In the Huffington Post Article, Connect to Something Greater Than Yourself, discuss more why and How.
Your passion and life purpose must sync. Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure in life.
Mantras like “find your passion” carry hidden implications, like students who have fixed theories of interest might forgo interesting lectures or opportunities because they don’t align with their previously stated passions. Another reason not to buy into the fixed theory is that it can cause people to give up too easily. If something becomes difficult, it’s easy to assume that it simply must not have been your passion, after all.
For some people Passions are not necessarily inherent, waiting to be found, but rather they are cultivated. How can you develop your passion?
Expose yourself to a number of areas and see connections. If you like tech don’t neglect to read articles on art and science. If you like marketing don’t neglect to read tech and History. Broaden your interest, hobbies, the genre of books you read and allowing for the possibility that your interests could stretch. In simple terms develop the growth mindset, be thirsty for knowledge and self-development.
2. Rely on trial and error more than anything.
Trial and error is a problem-solving method in which multiple attempts are made to reach a solution. Try an approach to learn what you selected, observing if it works and if it doesn’t try a new field. Learns as a result of repeated trials/practice/exercise.
Paul Graham was always fascinated by computers. As a student, he studied both art and computer science, exploring many disparate subjects that innately appealed to him, accumulating various skills in his twenties. He eventually found that he learned by tackling problems, failing, and trying again, not by being taught. That experience eventually leads to the creation of YCombinator, which gives entrepreneurs the support to do what he did. From his story, we understand the primary form of education: learning through trial and error and hands-on practice.
Find few fields you like and try them, read about them if it doesn’t fascinate you try another one.
3. Experience and Explore
According to Oliver Emberton, founder of software start-up Silktide writes on Quora, if you fuse your mediocre skills together, you’ll find your passion.
“Say you’re an average artist, with a decent sense of humor,” he explains. “You won’t have much hope with an art degree, and you can’t study ‘humour’ as a subject. But you could be an awesome cartoonist.
You need to willing to explore and experience new things! “Your true passion is not found overnight but is realized through a series of discoveries of small interests and experience
Charles Darwin was a mediocre student. He scraped by in school, more interested in specimens than classes. When the chance to join an expedition to the Americas came, he wanted to experience and explore. What he saw on that boat lead to his life’s work, and one of the most influential theories of all time.
We are often raised as dependents then given over to teachers. It’s experience and exploration that can transform us and lead us to passsion.
4. Try Visualization
Imagine yourself getting up early, jumping out of bed, excited about going to work. You get dressed quickly, full of enthusiasm about your day. The sun is shining and you take those first steps out of your bedroom. Now work out where you are going and what kind of job follows on from that feeling of anticipation.
Want to Pick your Brain? There is an interesting concept called everything is a remix. It will give you an idea on how to combine your interest.
Note: See your passion hunt as a fun, joyful adventure. Don’t think it as a stressful task to find it soon. Life is all about the wonderful experience.