Nowadays most people sit around and wait as if their passion is just going to present itself in a box in front of them one day. Or they dabble in a few things here and there and realize that they aren’t passionate anymore after the first setback.
Here’s the thing:
You won’t only have one passion in life. Passions come and go all the time. You can have multiple passions at the same time.
What is a passion anyway? To me, it’s just something that you really enjoy doing and makes you happy. You wake up and most days you’re eager to work on your passion.
The paradox is that at the same time, it’s probably the thing that you get the most anxious about, or procrastinate the most about because you’re afraid to discover the one thing you love and then having the painful realization that you suck at it.
There’s a great quote by legendary acting coach Larry Moss that epitomizes why so many people are afraid of “finding their passion”:
“Being an adult means to be able to challenge yourself with the confidence that even if you fail you still have value. It’s a terrible burden to believe that if you try and fail, then you’re worthless. That’s not true. If you try and you fail, you learn something.”
Even in my own life, I am so often afraid to go 100% and devote myself to something, only to end up realizing that I’m just not that good, and eventually giving up. It’s oftentimes the fear of heartbreak that holds us back from achieving our full potential.
However, I have also realized that unless you go 100% and devote yourself to something, you will never become great.
The middle ground that I have found is that even if I do go 100% and end up failing, I did not waste my time. I learned so many things along the way that have led me to newer, better passions that have led to great success.
So just relax, don’t put so much pressure on yourself to find the one thing that is your passion in all of life. Be passionate about everything you do, give it your all, and then you’ll start to gravitate towards certain passions that you like more than the others. You will suffer setbacks, and challenges will present themselves as you get better at something. These setbacks are necessary tests that you must endure. The closer you get to becoming great at something, the more vigorous the challenges will be to try to get you to quit.
It’s the feeling of overcoming difficult challenges that makes you more passionate about something because you realize that you’re actually quite good at it and succeeded when others gave up. Your confidence will start to build as you get better and better until one day you find yourself happy to commit more and more time doing something that you really deeply enjoy.
Next step… you can start to discover ways to turn your passion into a career as I outline here in my other post: “What To Do After Graduating College.”
To find your passion, just start putting yourself in more rooms with more people, saying YES to more things that come your way. Fill up your schedule. Say Yes to more things until you have to say No because you’d rather put that time towards a different Yes.
Don’t be afraid to fail, but also don’t be afraid to succeed. Just stop thinking so much, and commit to action.
With that I leave you with a quote for action:
“We like to pretend it is hard to follow our heart’s dreams. The truth is, it is difficult to avoid walking through the many doors that will open. Turn aside your dream and it will come back to you again. Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.“ — Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
What if you’re too old to run after your passion? That you think it’s better to settle on what you have and die with it.
Well that depends on how old you are. Let’s say you’re 40. You have half of your life left. I don’t think there is really ever a “too old.” Furthermore, you’ll have more than just one passion in life. I’m sure by the time I’m 40, my passions will change and I’ll be trying completely new things that I’m interested in.
Interesting insight, Dominic. I just recently turned 30 and currently work part time while I ‘figure things out’, all after the last 5-6 years going through accounting to client side project management and now consultancy project management. I have an idea to start my apparel company that specialises in shorts but am grappling with the fact I have no background in fashion. How do you push through those ceilings that sometimes engulf you when you want to start out on your own?
I guess the main thing that jumps out to me is the background in fashion. Fashion itself is so so broad.
Are you like designing clothes? Are they going to be high fashion clothes or just general apparel? Are you getting it manufactured from someone else already and then you’re just responsible for distributing and selling?
I just read Phil Knight’s book on how he started Nike, and he had literally no experience in fashion either. He started really just distributing Japanese shoes and doing a good job marketing and selling. Later he started to develop his own shoes with the help of some others.
I feel like it isn’t that hard to just start selling some apparel, reinvest or find someone to partner with that is a great designer, and you utilize your strengths. Partnerships are great, find people who strongly complement your skills.
If you’re creative, find an implementer. If you’re an implementer, find a creative type. Etc.