“What’s your passion?”
“What excites you?”
“What would you jump out of bed to do every morning?”
“What would you do if you even if you didn’t need the money?”
These questions can be good, meaningful and inspiring, if you have answers to them. If you don’t, they are annoying and can leave you feeling quite directionless and deflated about your life.
There are a lot of connotations attached to ‘finding your passion’ which make it seem harder than it is. I consider myself someone who has always been very clear on my life passions. That doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, but it does give my life direction, meaning and excitement – and that’s never a bad thing.
If you feel unsure about what spurs you on at a deeper level, maybe these common misconceptions are clouding your view:
Misconception 1: Your passion must be your job and vice versa
‘What’s your passion?’ usually comes up in conversation when someone doesn’t know what they want to do with their life. So, what it really means is: ‘what’s your passion that you could get paid to do every day for the rest of your life which would sustain you and your family until you die and leave behind a decent inheritance?’.
This, is a totally different question to ‘what’s your passion?’!
And so, our logical minds quickly conclude that our passion to travel the world will not sustain us financially, we therefore scrap that passion and declare ‘I don’t know what my passion is’. Which is a lie. You do know what your passion is – it’s to travel the world. What you don’t know (yet) is how it might sustain you financially.
But also, who said we HAVE to make our passion into our job?! It could be that making your passion the source of your income might suck all of the fun out it for you. Just because you love something, doesn’t mean it HAS to become your daily work. Just a thought.
Misconception 2: You must find the ONE thing you are here to do
When I was a kid I was super passionate about being an archaeologist or an astronomer. I realise now that what this means is I’d like to go into a Pyramid for a little nosy around, and I’d like to buy a telescope.
When I went to University I studied Biochemistry and Neurobiology and then I went into Business and Social Science. Later, I worked as a Project Manager for some years and then as a Management Consultant.
Now I’m writing blogs, making videos and drawing stickman cartoons to teach people about spiritual, emotional, psychological health and well-being.
EVERY single one of those things listed above was/ is my passion.
Who came up with this idea that one passion must last you a life time?! Why can’t we just enjoy what enthuses us right now and maybe multiple things can enthuse us at once?
Remove this idea that there’s one thing you are meant to do. Don’t limit your thinking with this lie! For some people it may apply but we are changing, growing and exploring new things all the time, so stay open to new things at any time.
That thing you will enjoy most in life? You might not even know it exists yet.
Misconception 3: You know yourself and there’s nothing that excites you
You think you know yourself, but often what you ‘know’ is simply an accumulation of beliefs you’ve been fed since birth. Let’s call that ‘you’. But that’s not ‘You’.
So ‘you’ are looking for the things that ‘you’ have been told to seek in order to be happy. Financial and material wealth, a certain type of relationship, marriage, kids, a fancy house, a prestigious high ranking job, designer clothes, a nice holiday twice a year. But even when you gain these things, you wouldn’t say you are ‘passionate’ about them. They don’t light fire in your belly and so still you wander around thinking ‘what’s my passion’?
Underneath all this is the real You. Beyond all conditioning, this You knows unequivocally what it likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams and it holds limitless potential. This ‘You’ knows that your passion is not a high ranking career in Finance, and it tells you that every day when it knots your stomach up each morning before work.
It also knows that what actually strikes fire in your belly is writing a novel, raising your children, or learning to play an instrument. These are your passions. But you’ve become ‘deadened’ to this real You because you were conditioned to ignore it at such an early age. You don’t know yourself and as a result, you don’t get a sense of these passions that are stirring within You and so you simply declare ‘I don’t know what my passion is’. This is a lie. You do know, you just aren’t paying attention.
Misconception 4: My passion has to be a grand gesture
This is similar to the first item. By thinking that ‘my passion’ HAS to be ‘my job’ we immediately take lots of things we are passionate about and decide they are no longer passions, because they are not what we do for income. And then we declare that we are passionless.
Cooking is a passion. Nurturing a relationship is a passion. Raising children is a passion. Making money is a passion. Exercising is a passion. Loving your pet is a passion. Meeting new people is a passion. Watching films is a passion. Collecting stamps is a passion. Looking after needy people is a passion.
YOU decide what things are your passions by the simple definition of what makes you feel love and excitement inside. You’d be surprised what passions you have when you start looking at this in a new light.
Passion does not HAVE to be a grand gesture that changes the world, and it does not HAVE to be anything to do with your daily job.
Misconception 5: Passions are ‘things’
Nope – they are THEMES.
Remember that stuff listed that I have done so far in my life? They might seem unrelated but they carry the THEMES of my passions:
– exploring life and its meaning
– emotional intelligence and understanding of human psychology, physiology and behaviour
– helping and leading teams of people to achieve things
– training and coaching other people to develop new skills
– presenting complex information in simpler and creative ways
So forget ‘things’ and find your themes. A hairdresser is not just a hairdresser, their theme is one of beautifying people and making them feel good. A chef doesn’t just cook food, they have a theme of creativity, nurturing people and giving people enjoyment through their food.
Your life runs on themes which can manifest in many ways. By finding your passionate themes, you open yourself up to many more options of ‘things’ you can do.
The only important thing is to feel your passions and live them as much as you can – because these are the sources of true alignment and joy. We are here to creatively express ourselves and these unique expressions are usually held in our passions. That’s why it feels crappy when you think you don’t have any passions, or you have one but you don’t act on it. Denying or suppressing your passions in any way is the opposite of joy.
So follow only ONE rule when thinking about your passion(s) – that it excites you, inspires you and makes you feel good. When you look at it like that, I bet you have loads of passions. And if you practise them as often as possible, you’d be surprised what avenues may open up to make them a bigger part of your life.