- Reuben Rapose
I bet a lot of us have been at the receiving end of the phrase “Follow your Passion” at some point in our lives. But often, people don’t talk about how to do that. People automatically spit out the cliché because it’s so widespread in our society.
Mantras like ‘follow your passion’ carry hidden implications…they imply that once an interest resonates, pursuing it will be easy. But, according to research that mindset makes it more likely people will surrender their newfound “passion” on encountering challenges.
And the idea that passions are found fully formed implies that the number of interests a person has is limited. This can cause people to narrow their focus and neglect other areas.
Let’s break down and simplify this cliché.
1. Passion is not Inspiration!
The first thing we need to understand about passion is that passion is more about strategy than inspiration. People usually think along the lines of just waking up one day and randomly knowing their purpose. This law of attraction logic most likely won’t work in regard to finding our passions. Most of us find our passions in life through experimentation. It takes a bit of effort and self-analysis.
And if you noticed I said PASSIONS, as in plural. I’m pointing that out because that’s another common misconception about passion. That we can only have one almighty singular passion in life. It’s mostly because of the influence of TV and society we think of passion as this singular thing. But it’s not.
We can have several passions simultaneously. For instance, I myself love writing, love playing the drums, love writing code and love hitting the gym.
Most of us can have more than one passion. We aren’t bound to only one interest in life.
2. Passion is the automatic output of persistent curiosity and a hunger for knowledge
The eventual outcome of persistent curiosity or a hunger for knowledge is discovering your passion. It may take months, even years to arrive on your “passion” but the path won’t ever seem overwhelming if you enjoy every step of the process.
Learn to follow your curiosity not your passion.
3. Passion is automatic on the path to mastery
On the path to mastering anything we become passionate about that subject in general.
The main point with this is to choose not only to become good at something, but to also aim high because if we want to become a master at something we can’t do that without aiming high or without following our curiosity.
For example, not only do you want to write a book, you want to write a book that makes the best seller’s list. Not only do you want to open a restaurant; you want to be the best restaurant within 50 miles.
4. Passion isn’t a starting point, it’s a conclusion
Meaning — we don’t start with passion, but we can end with it.
We often start with a curiosity, which leads us to explore a new subject and eventually gain Mastery in that subject which is a fundamental part of passion.
How do you discover your Passions?
If we’re not finding the answer after doing some self-reflection, we can dedicate some time to becoming better at the things we find interesting that we also know the world values. We can even go as far as increasing the list of things we find interesting by trying new things. Some we may like, some we may not. If it is not the right choice for you, you will know shortly after starting. But if we keep doing it, as time goes on that list of things we find interesting to do will increase and will start giving us clarity and defining our passions.
Curiosity is a magnet that helps us find our Passions. Curiosity along with a Passion for something is a beautiful marriage made in heaven.
Don’t over analyse or over think this part. Just google a list of hobbies and pick out a few that interest you, that you’re curious about and focus on one of them at a time to try out.
Dopamine is an Indicator to discover your Passions
Now if you’re discovering that you’re not interested in anything then it’s likely your dopamine responses are off. Dopamine levels can have a lot more to do with your passions than we would think on the surface.
Paint a picture of yourself driving on a road leading you to your passion. Your dopamine levels being off will make that road foggy. The more cheap dopamine spikes we get from things like TV, video games, social media, high sugar foods, and other crap that throws our dopamine responses off — The thicker that fog will be and the harder it will be to see the road we’re on. Then because the fog can become so thick we might miss an intersecting road that we’re supposed to turn down on or a road that just peaked our interest and would have been worth taking a detour on.
In order to be passionate about things we need to let go of as many unnecessary dopamine spikes related to instant gratification as we can.
Our dopamine responses have to come from what we create, not what we consume.
This is very important. With our dopamine responses in check we naturally seek out more dopamine responses through our creations and the work we put into our life. We’ll get our dopamine responses from earned activity like exercising, choosing the right foods to eat, completing tasks, and going for goals. Every instant high dopamine spike activity we let go of will make our road to passion clearer.
YOU are your biggest hurdle, get over yourself
Finding your passion will take some effort and this is exactly why the biggest block to most of us finding our passions is ourselves. Thinking we will just wake one day and suddenly know our purpose is wishful thinking at best. And when nothing comes to us, we tend to ask others what they think we should choose to do for our passion, defeating the whole concept of passion all together. This decision must be on our terms. Not what our mother or father thinks we should do and certainly not what some online blog tells you to do. We can take suggestions, but the endgame of our life has to be a result of our own choices.
Thanks for reading!
If you liked this article, feel free to checkout Seeking Within— a weekly newsletter covering a wide range of topics exploring the belief that Most Answers We Seek Lie Within Us.