Everyone talks about “finding your passion”. But what does that really mean? We know from last week’s article that passion is important, but is “finding” even the right way to think about it? The answers may surprise you.
It turns out that passion can be found. But you might not be looking for it in the right place, or in the right way. Here’s how to look for your passion in a way that will enable you to actually find it and unlock the true key to happiness in your life.
We talked last week about how passion is like oxygen. How it’s the core energy source of life, and even how it predicts success in business and entrepreneurship.
Now, we’ll discuss how to go about “finding” it. Let’s dive in.
1. Take a step back
The first step to evaluating yourself and start on the path to finding your passions is to get into the right mindset for self-reflection. Many people ask themselves the big question, “what am I passionate about?”, get stuck, and give up there. They get frustrated and go back to what they were doing.
The key to breaking out of this cycle is to get some distance from your day-to-day mindset. Do something different. Gain some perspective. It can help to go for a walk, to go into nature, or just spend some time doing something you wouldn’t usually do—like going for a bike ride, exploring a neighborhood you’ve never seen, or just sitting and thinking for a while.
The key here is to get a little distance on your normal life. Just enough to begin to see it a bit more clearly. That will set you up perfectly for the next step.
2. Understand your life’s magnetic forces
Magnets have two sides: attract and repel. So do you. The next step to finding your passion is to evaluate clearly and dispassionately 1) what sorts of activities, thoughts, and states are you drawn to? and 2) what repels you?
These could be anything. Do you find yourself attracted to comics online? Video game walkthrough videos? Reading about motivation & psychology? Obsessing about your pets? Love watching sports? Instead of thinking about what you should be drawn to, try to objectively discover what you already spend your time doing, and how you feel while doing it or thinking about it. If you look forward to it, that’s a clue.
Now write them down. Make a list with two columns: attract and repel. Set a 5-minute timer and write as many as you can within each category without thinking or evaluating.
When you’re done, look back over your list and cross out the ones you don’t think are really true, circle the important ones, and add or reword any of them you want. This will give you the ingredients for the next step.
3. Categorize your “attracts” and “repels”
Try to link your “attracts” and “repels” into larger categories, linking them to larger trends and themes. Are you always reading comics online? Maybe you’re passionate about art and creative expression, even comedy.
Always watching and following sports? You love the spirit of competition, and feeling a part of a greater whole. You might love analyzing performance metrics and understanding how to optimize performance. You might be passionate about what makes teams work well together versus not.
4. Line up the long- and short-term
If you’ve done all that, you likely have some ideas about what your passion is. But how do you know whether the things you’ve identified are truly worthy of being called your “passion”, or just an unhealthy diversion distracting you from your ultimate goals?
I hate to leave you on a cliffhanger, but that is the subject of next week’s post. Watch for our email next week to learn how to line up the long- and short-term implications of your newfound passion in order to unlock the ultimate happiness in life.