A lot of people seem to have a hard time finding something to be passionate about. They think that if they just wait long enough something will eventually come along. But I think this is the wrong approach. Finding your greatest passions requires you to be a lot more active.
In fact, I think you can build up as many passions in your life as you want. I’ve always found it funny that people seem to limit themselves to just one or two. Personally speaking, I have several. All it takes is the right steps to make it happen.
Build a Passion
Obviously the first thing you need is to find something you’re interested in becoming passionate about. This could be anything like surfing, traveling, chess, reading, movies; the list could go on. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried it before, you can still make it work.
You can try this with something you don’t like, but really why would you waste your time on something you hate? The point of having a passion is for it to enhance your life and make it better. Don’t try and force something that doesn’t really fit.
These steps are here to integrate this passion into your life. As you go through each step, the goal is to make your choice something you do more, understand in a deeper way and genuinely care about. And really, that’s what a passion is.
Here are the four steps:
1. Start doing it
You can’t be passionate about something without actually doing it. So you need to try it out right away. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not, just do it.
The good thing about starting it right away is that you get a feel for what the activity is all about. If you’ve never tried it before, you might have pre-conceived notions. So instead of seeing it for what it might be, you see it for what it really is.
Once you’ve tried it a few times, you can decide if it really is something that’s right for you. I’d only give up on it if you really dislike it. It’s natural to not be too excited about something the first few times so you really need to keep going as long as you’re having fun.
Make time for your new passion and do it on a regular basis. As soon as you’ve made it a regular part of your routine, move on to step two.
2. Learn everything about it
A big part of becoming passionate about something is learning everything about it. This will increase your knowledge and understanding of the activity in a very deep way. As you learn, you integrate the activity into who you are and make it a general part of your life.
No matter what activity it is you’re trying to become passionate about, there are always books websites, videos or magazines to read and explore. Just about everything from rock climbing to chess has videos and magazines. Check them out and absorb as much of the content as you can.
Learn the lingo and history about the activity. Figure out if there are any notable people associated with it. For example, there are notable mountain climbers, surfers, travelers, writers and chess players. Whatever passion you’re pursuing, there is probably someone famous for doing it.
3. Become obsessed
If you’ve made this activity something you regularly do and learn about, you’ll eventually find that you become a little obsessed with it. You’ll naturally start to think about it all the time. You might start to talk about it to people you know and even make friends with people who have that same interest.
I consider this the key moment when turning something into a passion becomes much easier. Because you’ve started to think about it more, you’re more intrinsically motivated to seek it out and make it a part of your life. Once you’ve reached this point, the next step becomes much easier.
4. Integrate it into your life
The final step is to integrate your passion into your life. At this point it’s become a part of who you are. If you’ve integrated it fully enough, this passion will probably be something people associate with you.
Just make sure that it doesn’t take over who you are. Your passion should be enhancing your life and bringing you a lot of joy. Keep it all balanced. Your passions should always be something that makes your life better; not something that takes over your life. I know too many people who have had their passions take over their lives and it isn’t a good thing.
Finding Your Passion
I consider myself very fortunate to have found so many passions in my life. And I attribute that to the approach I take to getting them. You don’t get more passions by finding them; you get more passions by integrating them into your life. It can be a simple, but effective change.
Finding passions in life is important. They’re what make you excited about waking up in the morning and are the foundation of a well-lived life. Think of this quote by T. Alan Armstrong, “If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived?”
photo credit: Frank Wuestefeld