Pursue your passion. It sounds great, but many wonder how. There’s the assumption: don’t you know what your passion is?
In some, soundbites like this cause hopelessness. Maybe you feel left out. After all, it’s easy to look at someone else and think they’ve got everything figured out. This can lead you to wonder what’s wrong with you and believe you’re defective.
You’re not defective. Many people struggle with this issue. It’s a common problem, that many people want to fix. Living for your passion brings a sense of purpose into life, it makes us feel grounded.
To pursue your passion, you must first know what your passion is. And that’s what the advice overlooks: How do I find my passion?
It’s not as obvious as it seems.
If you want to enrich your life and find purpose, then passion is vital to your success. This article is a starting point for how to find your passion and pursue it. To be successful, this requires thoughtfulness and reflection.
Time to get started down this road of opportunity!
How do I find my passion?
The word “passion” sounds like a whirlwind of excitement. There’s a spark of joy in every aspect of life, a special energy.
By expecting this all the time you’ll be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong—passionate people do have an optimistic energy, but it’s not all fun and games. It takes long-term commitment.
Pursuing your passion is life-changing. It’s an exciting experience that brings joy and purpose into our lives. But by and large, your everyday is still an everyday life.
There are things you love’ll doing and things you hate. You still have to do the required work—which isn’t all easy. Passion is wonderful, but it’s not enough. Without motivation, tenacity, and patience, you won’t get anywhere.
The truth is, there’s a lot of frustration and disappointment in this pursuit. By overcoming these hardships, though, this path is all the more fulfilling.
Passions don’t just happen, they’re sustained. It requires a lot of time and energy. It’s a lot of work! The difference is in how you experience life.
The energy, joy, and excitement are there, but in a more subdued way. Instead of a combustion engine powering you through life, it’s as a bright candle that guides your epic journey. A state of heightened excitement is impossible to sustain for anyone.
Passion requires action
A passion is a way of being—a way of living.
It isn’t so much what you do, but how and why you do it.
It’s something you love, so you force yourself to do it even when you don’t want to.
Passion is a vote for how you want to live. By seeing your passion pathway, it brings you closer to your dreams. In pursuing your passion, you’ll help shape the world into one you want to live in.
Perception plays a huge role in your success. As I mentioned, passions aren’t all fun and joy. There’re many difficult tasks. When you have to do something you don’t like doing, see it as an opportunity. By doing this action, you’re moving towards living how you want. It takes patience to get there.
You learn to enjoy them, not because they’re enjoyable, but because they take you one step closer to your goal.
Enjoying something is not enough either. Passions flourish under your attention.
You can’t have a passion without doing it.
Characteristics of passion
To find your passion, you need a bit of clarity in your life. In understanding yourself and knowing what you want, you can identify your passions.
Identifying a passion can be difficult. At first, it’s usually fun and easy. When it gets harder and the excitement fades, you keep doing it. A passion doesn’t become a passion until you put in the hard work. It takes dedication.
Someone is passionate about the guitar not because they love it more than others or have a special skill. It’s because that person makes a decision: this is important to me.
You have to decide something is worth it! Put it in the center of your life: talk about it, read about it, listen to it. A passion is something you think and talk about all the time.
This is especially obvious when passions are born of extreme situations and hardship. Sometimes we discover a passion by unfortunate chance because we feel like it’s the only thing we can do. Even in this case, it’s a choice. It’s a decision to change something instead of waiting for someone to come fix everything.
Most of all, your passion takes you towards your life goals, not away. Passions allow you to live how you want and be who you want to be.
A Passion is
Passions Help you
Don’t wait for your passion to come out of hiding and smack you on the head. It might never happen. If it does, you might not even realize your passion is there because you won’t know what to look for.
To find your passion, you have to be proactive! Passions are as much about discovery and realization as knowing.
Luckily, the first few steps are the easiest part!
Get to know yourself
Surprisingly, many people don’t know themselves very well. Take some time to sit alone with yourself and think about what you want in life.
It’s important to take this step seriously and discover who you are. If you have a habit of spending quality time with yourself, then this process will be simpler. If you don’t then be prepared to be surprised by many things about who you are and what you like!
A lot of times, we start off knowing ourselves well. Especially when we’re younger and have a lot of time to think and dream, we have a good idea of who we are.
As people age and change, life gets busier. By focusing on surviving instead of living, we lose touch with ourselves. We forget who we are and what we want out of life.
You probably already have passions just waiting for some extra attention to really bloom!
Pay Attention to what you don't like
What you don’t like is also important in finding your passion. These are areas we need to pay special attention to. Otherwise, these obstacles will prevent us from pursuing our passion.
Look at things you don't like
Example: I don't like Exercise
This is a pretty exciting process, I think. You can find ways to improve and move forward instead of feeling like you don’t know what to do anymore.
There’s always going to be things you don’t like in life. But not doing something just because we don’t like it is not always a good solution.
Figure out what you know what you need to work on and how you can do it. By finding a path forward you’re empowering yourself. This skill is essential for pursuing your passion. You’ll always have roadblocks in your future.
Look back at hobbies you started and wish you would have continued. Why did you stop?
Pay attention to negative beliefs that trap you. Don’t be afraid or feel guilty over them, though. These are opportunities. If you see an area of weakness, rest assured: there are ways to improve.
If you’ve always wanted to take dance, but you believe you’re clumsy you might not try. If you see dance as a way to improve your self-awareness, then there’s even more reason to try!
Look for skills you can develop. Instead of writing off avenues, believe in yourself and persevere! There are ways to overcome even the most severe limitations.
Think about what Interests You
Make a list of anything and everything that interests you. No matter how tiny or silly that interest may be. These are great areas to investigate! Don’t judge yourself.
Cast a wide net and see what turns up. It doesn’t matter if you’ve tried it or not. You need to know what you like! Think about entertainment, study, food, relationships. People you admire or things that just look like fun.
Use a pen and paper for list. Writing things down helps you think carefully. It’s a different brain process than typing. Writing is a wonderful way to allow your mind to go wherever wander and skip around. It’s okay to be messy in this process!
List every single thing you can possibly think of. It’s best to be specific, but it’s more important to keep up with all your thoughts than getting stuck on the details. You can always return and expand on a topic.
Try to spread this out over a few days or even a week. In the first sitting, you’ll probably have a long list but it’s easy to forget something. As you go through your day or week, you’ll notice things you forgot to write down.
When you’re satisfied with your list, take time to go through it and decide which stick out the most. It may help to assign interests a value to find patterns in what you like.
Rate your interests on a scale from 1 to 5
Recognizing patterns will help you understand why you like something. You might notice that your interests involve community. Maybe your interests are related to education. Or you might find you like having a lot of independence.
By recognizing what’s important in your life, you can bring together your areas of interest. Your passion must align with your interests and values. This process helps you recognize what’s holding you back and where you need to improve.
If you wrote down a lot of general topics, now’s the time to refine them. Break down broad interests like painting, drawing, music, and literature. Think about what, specifically, you like about this.
You can write down however many qualities you want. This shouldn’t be too difficult, so pay attention to the details. Think about what activities you like and why you like doing them.
If you have a long list, you might want to just stick with a few of your highest rated interests. You can do more if you’d like though!
Visualize your dreams
Visualization is a simple yet overlooked tool. It’s important to picture yourself living in certain ways and doing certain things.
This helps you understand how you want to live and what you want to do every day. Think in verbs—think about doing. Without time travel visualization helps us imagine our lives and daily activities.
Once you’ve identified the most interesting topics on your list, start visualizing. Simulate this life in your mind. Not only the big accomplishments but what you do every day.
Read blogs or watch YouTube videos on the topic. Learn from the experience of others. You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to decide if it’s something you like.
A good sign you’re on the right track is if learning about your topic is interesting. This is not just a step to find your passion, this is about developing your passion. Learning more about your passion IS PART OF pursuing it!
In this case, let’s say you’ve decided winemaking ranks high on your list of interests. Gather some information about what it’s like. What’s the process? How easy is it? How expensive is it? How much time does it take?
Imagine your life
Now that you know the basics, take a few minutes to sit back and imagine an appealing future.
Going back to the winemaking, you might do something like this:
You’ve bought a plot of land with a vineyard and an orchard so you can grow fruit. You spend a good amount of time walking around in the summer and fall checking the growth. You study irrigation, pollination, insecticides, and fungicides.
Picking the fruit and making the wine requires physical labor. It’s a long process that requires patience. You won’t know for months if your wine is any good or not. There’s always the threat of drought and flooding which may impact your wine quality.
You network and attend events, talk about wine, and read about wine. Self-promotion requires building relationships with local restaurant owners, liquor stores, or grocery stores. A self-run business means you develop marketing skills and have well-designed labels.
Figuring out the details on selling wine in your state and across state lines is important. If you want to export wine, that’s another area requiring expertise.
Then you have to ask yourself, is this a life I can learn to enjoy? What parts am I attracted to? What parts will be difficult?
It’s helpful to understand what you’re getting into before you do it.
Then you have to ask yourself, is this a life I can learn to enjoy? What parts am I attracted to? What parts will be difficult?
You’ll never understand what it’s like until you do it. So it’s helpful to understand what you’re getting into before you do it.
Gage your Curiosity
Passions can develop from both new and old interests. What’s most important than time is intensity. Do you love learning everything about this topic and talk about it all the time?
If there is something you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to doing it, maybe it’s time to start. Sustained curiosity is a good sign. Even if you’ve just discovered it, this can lead to a long-term passion if you treat it like one.
Temper your expectations. Remember, many people who live for their passions don’t enjoy every single thing involved.
By recognizing that some parts you don’t like are necessary, it’s easier to do them. There are skills you can develop to get better. But everything’s going to come with tasks you’d rather not do. These aspects move you towards your life goals, though.
Expect many unforeseen problems. When you find them, work to solve them. In this process, you’ll also discover many wonderful experiences—things you never dreamed of in the first place!
There’s no way around it: dreams require sacrifice. These difficulties build character and add value to your life. So you decide what you’re willing to try and how far you want to go.
Experiment with yourself
This is the one step in finding your passion you can’t skirt. You have to experiment. Gathering information and visualizing are all well and good, but they’re not worth much by themselves. Experience is the best teacher, and the best way to understand yourself!
This is especially important if you have a few interests that you’re curious about. This helps you understand what it is you like. In doing it, you’ll discover so much about yourself!
This is not about elimination. You can always have more than one passion and do more than one thing.
Passion is a glamorous word, but the path is not an easy one. Expect road bumps and failures. These are important learning experiences.
Key ingredients in passion are your blood, sweat, and tears. It’s about sticking with it and working toward your goal. Challenge yourself and overcoming your frustrations and setbacks.
You’re building the kind of life you want to live. A life full of passion is not about feeling good all the time, it’s about living a life you’re proud of! It takes patience and realizing that you’re making your future by living in the present.
If you’re looking for an easy life, pursuing your passion is not for you. If it following your passion were easy, everyone would be doing it.
To pursue your passion, you must endure.
Figure out they why
So pick something and try it out. It’s fine you don’t like it, so long as you try it. Before you quit, find out WHY you don’t like it.
If you quit things because it gets hard, then this is a pattern that holds you back in life. Everything’s going to be hard at some point.
To fix any problem, you have to recognize what it is. If you’re procrastinating, there are ways to solve it. If you’re a perfectionist, then aim for “good enough” or 80% perfect.
If you don’t know your problems, you can’t make anything better. Be honest and be kind to yourself when figuring this out. It’s okay to struggle because you want to get better.
Look out for the lull in excitement. After a few months, when it’s not new and exciting, there’ll be a slight dip in engagement. This is normal.
Everyone has ups and downs with their passions. Fulfillment comes from the long-term effort of pursuing your passion. It’s in the living and the doing.
As you develop patience, you’ll find satisfaction in your pursuit. This teaches you to enjoy the process. As you experiment, you’ll be surprised at what you discover about yourself.
Keeping an open mind is important to notice life’s little joys. At first, you might think your passion is something like cooking. Then one day, you may realize that what you really enjoy is bringing people together.
Seize your courage
If you’re getting by, surviving, and going with the flow, it’s safe and easy. To live for yourself instead of taking the path of least resistance is a huge change. Change brings uncertainty.
It takes a great deal of courage to devote your life to something you love. Your emotional investment raises the stakes. It makes failure scarier. It makes people laughing at you more painful. It makes success so much more wonderful.
There are many reasons to be anxious. Sometimes we’re afraid of what others will think. Sometimes, taking responsibility for our own lives—admitting and correcting mistakes—is difficult. Many times, fear stems from lies we tell ourselves.
Negative beliefs that hold us back
If these thoughts are familiar, stop telling them to yourself!
I know what it’s like thinking thoughts like this. It makes everything seem impossible. It’s a terrible place to be and damages you, your life, and your relationships.
We tell ourselves this to protect us from pain and disappointment. While it may help in the short-term, this goes on to affect our entire lives. In doing this you create long-term suffering. There’s no way to prevent pain. Instead, we need to learn resilience. It’s not easy, but it’s important.
This is about you exploring and living your life. Your talents and skills grow as you use them. In declining to pursue your passion, you’re depriving the world of your unique gifts.
Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back!
The point of trying
Everyone wants to win the gold medal. In a race, there’s only one gold medalist. Wanting the gold medal and aiming for it is great, but don’t judge yourself by your results. Judge yourself by your efforts.
There are always more races—more opportunities. Seek those opportunities!
Focus on being the best runner YOU can be, and don’t get trapped by being the gold medalist. Race because you love running, not because you want to be the winner.
Goals are ways to measure where we are and figure out which way we want to go. But a goal, in and of itself, is not a standard to measure your worth.
Your definition of success matters. If your definition of success is too narrow, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Pursue your passion for yourself—not for external rewards. Rely on intrinsic motivation instead of seeking fame or recognition. Everything else, while it might be nice, is extra.
The truth is, no one’s going to be as passionate about what you do as you are. We yearn for our hard work to be recognized. But depending on others for appreciation creates disempowerment.
Hopefully, friends and family support you, they may be happy and excited for you, it’s YOUR passion, not theirs. You need to courage to try, even if you feel like no one believes in you. Because on your journey, you never know which lives you’ll touch in meaningful ways.
Pursuit is a way of living. It’s a verb. It’s something you do every single day. Passions are worth fighting for!
Think of how you want to live—the verbs you want in your life—and aim for living that way.
Persist in your efforts
Pursing your passion is as much about the journey as the end results. We can’t get everything we want, not all the time.
There will be a time when you fail. It’s going to hurt. In pursuing your passion, you open yourself up to immense pain. That’s just how life is. Things won’t go how you want all the time.
Life will never be easy. But some people feel more fulfilled than others. Passions are about fulfillment, not about goals. It’s about how we live and who we are.
Focus on living rather than achieving. What kind of person do you want to be? How do you want to impact the world? If one path is closed, use your creativity and figure out what else you can do. Pursing your passion is about being proactive.
Some people get lucky right off. Some people don’t. Even if it doesn’t work the first time, look and learn from your experiences.
Passionate, successful people share the same trait: they keep trying. Expect things to go wrong, expect people to mistreat you, laugh, and make fun of what you’re doing. Hopefully, it’ll never happen.
Unfortunately, people like to tear each other down rather than build each other up. It’s easier for people to laugh and be jealous of a wholehearted attempt than for them to face their fears.
Don’t give up. Acknowledge tough realities while reaching for your dreams. Even if it seems hopeless, look for how you can pursue your passion within your limitations. Nothing’s perfect, it never will be. Do what you can when you can.
Reflect on your Progress
Even after starting down the path of pursuit, doesn’t mean you can relax. Keep reflecting on what you’re doing and why.
Living for your passions is an on-going process. It’s easy to get distracted and lose your way if you’re not paying attention.
On your journey, new opportunities open to you—those you never knew existed. That’s why you need to pause every now and then to make sure you’re on the right track.
Clarity helps you find your passion and stay on the right path.
Take time to think about who you want to be and how you want to live. Check in to make sure that your path gets you closer to your life goals.
Something might happen, or you uncover something new. Life experiences change our perspective. Unforeseen events or disasters may turn up new passions.
Passions are not just something we find once and carry with us. They’re evolving facets of our lives influenced by thought and actions. As we grow and change, so do our passions reflect these experiences.
If we no longer give them time and energy, they’ll wither.
So pay attention to what you love and why you love doing it! Continue to explore and try new things. Frequently stop to ask yourself, how do I want to live?
Develop your passions, evaluate them, and seek to find new ones. By embracing your passions, you’ll find purpose. With this purpose, you can change your life—and the world—in meaningful ways.