What is “Passion”?
I am often asked, “How do people find their passion?”
In order to discuss a thing intelligently, we must all be working from the same, or a similar definition. Passion is defined as an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling of conviction.”
That is how the dictionary defines it, but in reality, it is much harder to define “passion” because it is a feeling that no words can fully encompass or adequately describe.
The history of the word passion gives it a better understanding that makes anyone who has ever found their passion smile and nod in agreement, like it is a secret acknowledgement of what it truly means to live for something.
The word passion comes from the Latin word passio, which means “suffering.” Yes! People certainly suffer for their passions! Some suffer a great deal, and this is part of the reason why finding your passion, and pursuing it, is so important to your life. After all, almost anything that is worthwhile has some pain attached to it.
But the pain and suffering that may stem from a passion is nothing compared with the stress and emptiness caused by leading a passion-less life. Without that creative release, life can become stagnant, unfulfilling and seem futile, or even meaningless.
Other people may find it difficult to understand your passion, and this is often because their focus is on things like safety, stability, security, status, and the opinions of others because their decisions tend to be ruled by fear. Their primary goal in life is to avoid pain, bypass failure and simply stick to what they know. So, to these people, it appears that your passions are pulling you away from “sensible” life decisions.
Everyone knows that good growth and success can only happen when we make short-term sacrifices to overcome the life’s obstacles and beat the odds. And once you make the choice to step out of your protective shell and work with intensity, then you are ready to discover and pursue your deepest passion.
How Do I Find My Passion?
Almost everything I teach as a writer, coach or teacher involves writing and list-making. Find a quiet space without distractions, and let your imagination run loose. Do not make any editorial corrections during the exercise. Do not make any judgments, like “that will be too hard.” Just start writing.
1. Make a list of your favorite hobbies. Write down your favorite activities and pastimes, even if it is something from your childhood. You may already be spending time on your passion without even realizing it.
2. Explore a new hobby. Stop limiting yourself to what you know. If you cannot think of one, try getting involved with hobbies that your friends and family enjoy. This will lead you to discover new joys you may have never considered.
Several years ago, I was seized by the notion that I wanted to learn to throw pottery. I had no previous experience, and had long been discouraged by others that my artistic talents were sorely lacking. I did some research, found a coupon for a beginner’s class, and excelled. I even became a member of the local art guild.
3. Make a list of your talents. These do not have to be related to a specific job. Just allow the pen to flow freely on the paper. You may discover a passion hidden in one of your talents.
4. Ask people who care about you. Sometimes other people can see what makes you happy better than you can.
5. Look at the long-term interests in your life. Are there themes or events in your life that always seem to pop up? Examine those and see if you can uncover your life’s passion.
For me, this is writing. I have always written, but have only recently discovered that it is both a talent (a work-in-progress) and a passion.
6. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes people mistake their passion for something they are already talented at doing instead of something they really want to be doing. Do something you love, not just the things you already know that you are adept at.
Step out of the safety zone. You will amaze yourself!
7. Make a list of things that always seem to come up in your conversations. If you constantly turn your talk toward a particular subject, this may be something you should actively be pursuing.
8. Get involved. Find ways to get involved in your community. Playing recreational sports and engaging in activities at the local community center can be a great way to meet new and interesting people. We can learn a lot from others through conversation and circumstance.
9. Help others. Forget about yourself a bit and try serving others in your community. Kindness and charity can unlock your real passions in life.
I have had several opportunities to do medical mission work in Haiti. Going on the first was an unusual thing for me, but it is something I hope to do many more times. It was a thrill to be of service to people who needed what little I had to offer.
10. Find a mentor. If you can find someone willing to show you the ropes, you will have a unique insider’s perspective and a confidant. Plus, you will have help circumventing a lot of the initial learning curve.
What is your passion? How did you find yours?