“I do not seek. I find” ~ Pablo Picasso
There is something magical about discovery. Receiving or naming a precious find; that gush of sensory glee – these are part of what makes discovery exciting.
Yet if I were to ask you what your passion is, could you name it? If you are like many people you would answer, “I’m not sure.” So many of us are busy with our day-to-day responsibilities that we have become strangers to our passion. We may catch brief moments of joy and inspiration, but rarely do we benefit from prolonged periods of passion. Our lives simply do not consistently reflect what’s at our core.
Then, you have a life-changing experience that creates a sudden epiphany of an underlying passion. The experience is unexpected and its effect is powerful. With abrupt clarity, you are left with awareness of who you must be. It can come anytime, anywhere – while on a quiet walk, reading a book, taking a shower or performing daily tasks. Whatever its context, it’s an explicit wake-up call from your heart.
So how do you discover what lights your fire and will keep it burning for a long time? How do you know if something is truly your passion? Well, for starters, you get that constant yearning; you’re willing to take risks for it; and even when people tell you you’ve lost your mind, your pursuits remain unwavering.
Most of us uncover our passion gradually as a result of daily experiences. There are sneak previews, courtesy of your intuition but few understand the significance. Yet the messages are there. And unless you heed them, you are likely to dispel them. The challenge is learning to listen to and interpret the signals…the whispers, and translate them into action.
But what if you don’t know what your passion(s) is (are)? What if you’re still searching? Here are four (of many) ways to help find your passion:
Play – If the process confuses or bothers you, just play with it. Don’t force a purpose until you can define one. Amuse yourself with the process.
- Become Curious – Curiosity is the basis for passion. Let go of your current understandings and begin from a point where you are almost completely ignorant on the subject. Then look for creative, unusual ways to boost your interest.
- Encourage Enthusiasm – Energy is contagious. Spend time with someone who exudes passion about something. Seek out people who have the energy you want. Ask them to describe their motivation. These may yield information you had no idea could be so intriguing.
- Be Humble – This is necessary for passion but arrogance can destroy it. Grow this confidence where you believe in your abilities to handle the unknown while retaining respect for it.
And listen. Really listen. Shut out the daily noise, stress and confusion. Seek perspective on your life. Answer these questions: Where am I today? Where do I want to be tomorrow? What do I want to do with my life?
If you still cannot identify your passions, try a different discovery path. Seek out new experiences, people and activities. Look for fresh in the stale, the new in the old. If you sense a bolder move is necessary, step out of your comfort zone and take some risks. If you usually stand on the sidelines as an observer, jump in as an active participant. The point is to side step what could be preventing you from finding things you are exceptional at and that you enjoy.
Discovering your passion takes a fair amount of soul-searching. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t discover it right away – you will find it. And it will probably come to you when you least expect it.