As explained by famed psychologist and researcher Robert Vallerand after his decade long dedication in the study of psychology of Passion:
” Passion is a strong inclination towards an activity that has these three qualities.
1.It is something we enjoy.
2.It is something we value.
3.It is something we can dedicate ourselves to.
Now, although we know what passion is,struggles to find out what we actually love is often quite obvious.There are several reasons behind why we are mostly unable to find our passion.
1.We are afraid to pursue what we love.
2.We are interested in multiple fields and unable to choose one as a career.
3.External forces (i.e. society,peer pressure) shape what we think we should do(often termed as ‘shoulding’).
4.We are afraid to explore new fields of haven’t explored enough.
So have you identified why you couldn’t find your passion till date?Now before you move into how you can actually ‘find’ passion,let’s have a look into what researchers say about ‘finding’ passion.In 2018
Stanford psychologists Carol Dweck,Gregory Walton and former Stanford Postdoctoral fellow Paul O’Keefe,after several studies, led to the conclusion :”The belief that interests arrive fully formed and must simply be ‘found’ can lead people to limit their pursuit of new fields and give up when they encounter challenges”.Walton further explains : “If you’re overly narrow and committed to one area that could prevent you from developing interests and expertise that you need to do that bridging work”.
Therefore if you are still considering finding passion ,lets change the mindset to developing one.Consider that even after finding what you truly love you’ll have to work for it and chasing it won’t be smooth.You should not retreat when you encounter inevitable challenges.So with that on mind let’s get to know how you can identify the field you’re ‘most inclined to.
Ways to Find Passion:
Write down the answers to the following questions in your journal.We can easily ignore our intuitions but while journaling we are bound to face them.Make sure you’re being absolutely honest with yourself.Remember whatever the end result of the self reflection is ,you don’t need to ashamed of it.
A. What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
B.What do you do most of the time?
C.What can you do for 5 years without being paid?
D.What do you spend your money on the most?
E.What makes you lose track of time?
F.Who is your professional hero?
G.What is something which someone else does that thrills you?
H.What do you want to get better at?
There are numerous other questions but these are the questions which have benefitted me personally.
2.Remember what you loved when you were a child:
There are things that we still remember doing as a child.But later on we abandoned them considering them too be too impractical to execute or to achieve financial freedom.Instead of ignoring it,set aside an hour for the task and when you’re over with it reflect how did you enjoy it.If you did enjoy,consider doing it in regular intervals for an hour or so.
If you remember something to be appealing at some point of time and now you don’t feel the same way ,try rembering which part of it you actually enjoyed.Maybe you wanted to become a doctor because you loved serving others and not because you wanted to know about human body and operate on it.You can try community work to feel the same way and consider it as a passion.
3.Ask your friends for feedback:
Sometimes we are not the best judges of ourselves.Consider if you’re friends complement you over anything which comes naturally to you.Maybe they complement your fashion sense,artwork,your sense of humor.Try something out of it.Write articles on fashion trends,share artwork on social media,create a meme page on Facebook.You may fall in love with these works and find a passion out of it.
4.Don’t presume that your passion should be your job:
Many a times we ignore our passion because we’re afraid it won’t be a financially wise decision.Therefore we drain ourselves in jobs that we don’t love and regret for the passion we couldn’t pursue.In such situation,allot few hours in a day for your passion.
After a strenuous project reward yourself with some time conducting the things you love.This may turn into something productive and entrepreneurial in future.On the other hand,some people feel devasted when they try to turn their passion into profession.Maybe turning something they love into a means of earning contradicts with their values.They end up frustrated and not reaching the money goals.Thus,it’s not necessary to turn passions into profession.Let it make you feel alive whenever you pursue it and give you a sense of satisfaction and add meaning to your life.
5.Combine your talents:
If you are interested in multiple fields and struggle to start off with a particular field(often termed as ‘paradox of choice’), this tip might be helpful for you.According to Oliver cemberton,the CEO of Silktide ,”even if we have mediocre skills,we can fuse these skills and find our passion.Most successful people are a fusion of skills,often not even exceptional skills,but they’ve made their fusion exceptional”.As an example,Apple CEO Steve Jobs combined his technological, entrepreneurial and marketing skills to live his dreams.It didn’t require him to be excellent in specifically one field, but the fusion was excellent.
6.Start with whatever skills you have:
“Pick something you have an interest in and then go full-bore and try to get as good as you possibly can at it.”
You might think that you don’t have any skills to start off with.Consider author Cal Newport’s suggestion in such case:”Pick something you have an interest in and then go full-bore and try to get as good as you possibly can at it.”And that’s the ultimate suggestion you can possibly use in reality.I personally found this to be way more helpful to focus on a particular field.Mark Cubin, owner of Dallas Maverick states:
“Let me make this as clear as possible:
1.When you work hard at something you become good at it.
2.When you become good at doing something,you’ll enjoy it more.
3.When you enjoy something,their is a very good chance you’ll become passionate or more passionate about it.
4.When you’re good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it,good things happen.”
7.Work in alignment with your values:
Sometimes when we work for something we don’t believe in,we end up frustrated.For example,if we support the cause of saving environment,we can’t work for a company which works in a way that causes harm to the environment.Therefore it is necessary that we understand what are the things that make us feel ‘right’ .
Ikigai is a Japanese concept which stands for ‘a reason to live’.According to the concept we need to answer four questions:
•What do you love?
•What are you good at?
•What does the world need?
•What can you get paid for?
We need to find balance amidst this four areas for a fulfilling life.
Gour Gopal Das,in his book Life’s Amazing Secrets has attached a Ven Diagram of Ikigai.I have attached the same for your clear understanding.
9.Start with a logistically feasible activity:
Trust me I’m not suggesting to not dream bigger.But it is always better to start with small steps.So,for example,if you want to start a business which needs huge capital,it will be unwise of you to take loans or borrow money if you have no money to invest initially.Because any business need constant investment of money for ultimate growth.Instead you can take a job,save money for future investment and when time is right (you have enough money to start a business as well as manage expenses when there is no source of income),you can gradually invest your money into your dream business and leave the job.
10.High Potential for Positive Reinforcement:
We need to choose an activity which provides us lot more than just pleasure.’Do what you love the most’ doesn’t help in such case.Maybe you love painting because of the pleasure of creating something new or creating the colour pallette.This will give you a short term mental stimulation.This stimulation might not be enough to paint everyday and create a passion out of it.It might only remain as a hobby.Now, you decide to show these paintings to others and others encourage you to create paintings for them and even offer you monetary rewards.This might turn you up since now painting not only gives you pleasure,but also rewards you with appreciation and money.Therefore,painting can turn into your passion since it has a long term positive reinforcement on you.
After trying all of these steps if you still feel confused about your passion,you should better explore different fields to find a new passion.Try out something that you think you’re terrible at.Have deep conversations with people,attend different workshops.You can also create a vision board or dream board where you can stick inspiring quotes,pictures.These are the best for visual thinkers.You can otherwise create virtual vision board on Pinterest although I’ll never prefer the former.
Always remember everyone has something unique in them to offer to the world.Therefore never give up hope thinking you’re average and might never succeed in any field.Explore things and work hard.Let me know in the comment section what your passion is and how you found it.