Reddit Gold highlights the most useful and educational content on Reddit as found on r/AutoBestOf.
Today’s post is from u/gracehv2018 who answers the question: “How do people find their passion?”
This article I wrote might help:
How do people find their passion? That thing that makes them get out of bed every morning
excited to face the day? Did they always know what it was or did they learn later in life?
First of all, your passion is not necessarily going to be what you do for a living. You can be
great at your job even if it’s not what your passionate about. So let’s divide this exercise into
two parts: FINDING YOUR PASSION and FINDING A JOB YOU ARE OK WITH AND THAT
ENABLES YOU TO PURSUE YOUR PASSION. Now, if you happen to hit the jackpot and your
passion IS your job, well allow me to give you a standing ovation because you’ve won the
lottery of life! Another myth is that everyone has an “aha” moment when they realize what
their passion is. Most of us have to work at finding it and that’s what we are going to do here.
Take a Deep Breath
Before we begin we have to be aware that you’re going to feel some discomfort at some point during the exercise. Fear, insecurities, impostor syndrome, what ifs. That’s all normal because change is hard, you’ve probably been in your comfort zone of misery at your job or in your present lifestyle for a while and it’s hard to push yourself out of that comfort zone. For now, just ignore the discomfort. Later we’ll deal with your limits, how far you’re willing to venture out of the zone.
Next, turn off your NEGATIVE SELF-TALK. It’s going to want to say things like, “I could learn how to dance. I’ve always wanted to do that. But there’s no way I can become a dancer at my age!” or “I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a plane. But it must be so hard. I don’t
think I have the time. Plus it must be expensive.” Finding your passion is about taking action
not about listening to that negative little voice in your head that keeps you paralized with fear and doubt. It’s not about practicalities right now. It’s about finding out what your passion is and whether your passion is going to be a part of your job or something you do outside of your work.
Steps to Your Passion
Get a notebook and let’s get started!
What would you be willing to do without getting paid?
What can you do for hours without getting bored?
How would you spend your time if money weren’t a problem?
What do you love to talk about when you’re with friends?
Who are you jealous of because of the job they have?
Look back at your life and identify moments when you felt great. What were you doing? What elements combined to make those moments great?
Have you considered that your passion may be something you haven’t tried yet? If you’ve lived in your comfort zone for a long time, chances are you haven’t tried new things much. What things have you always wanted to try but haven’t yet? Painting? Learning a language? Writing a book?
What things have you done that you’re proud of?
Close your eyes and imagine yourself 5 years in the future. What are you doing? What lifestyle are you living?
Time to Do Some Cooking
Now, start combining hard skills, soft skills and the traits mentioned by the people who know you best.
Let’s imagine these are all ingredients and if we combine some of them, we can
bake a cake, if we combine others, we can prepare a salad. They’re not the same food, but they’re both delicious. For example, I speak 3 languages + I’m diplomatic + I love to travel = I can be a foreign language teacher abroad. On the other hand, I’m organized + I’m a good writer + I love reading = I can become a freelance editor or copywriter.
As you can see, those are two very different jobs, yet we arrived at both of them combining my different skills.
Steps to Finding the Job You’re OK with
As mentioned before, it may turn out that your passion is not your job and that’s fine. That’s true for most of us. But it’s important to find work that doesn’t make you miserable. So let’s go back to the notebook!
List the jobs you definitely do not want to do or would even consider.
Make a list of your HARD skills. These are measurable abilities, school learned abilities such as writing, reading, math, using computer software.
Make a list of your SOFT skills. Traits such as etiquette, diplomacy, communication, listening, getting along with people.
Talk to your friends and family and ask them to (honestly!) describe your personality. Take notes.
What were you good at in school/college (it doesn’t matter if you liked it or not)?
What have you been good at in the jobs you’ve had throughout your life?
What matters to you the most when it comes to a career/job: The salary? The hours?
The work environment? Doing something you excel at?
Be flexible. A study by Stanford psychologists (https://news.stanford.edu/2018/06/18/findpassion-may-bad-advice/) found that most people have the mistaken belief that a passion is something you find easy to do. When people pursued their passion and encountered challenges, they gave up. The researchers further studied mindsets about interests in an experiment where a group of students who identified as “techie” or “artsy” were given two articles to read, one tech related and the other related to the humanities.
Students who had a fixed mindset about their interests were less open to reading an article that was outside their area. Unfortunately, focusing one one area could prevent you from finding your passion, which could happen when you bring different fields together, when you see connections between fields that you might not have thought of before.
A Growth Mindset is More Likely to Lead to Your Passion
In another experiment, researchers showed students an interesting video about the origin
of the universe. Most students were fascinated. Then they were asked to read a
challenging scientific article on the same topic. A lot of students lost their initial
excitement and the ones whose enthusiasm for the topic dropped completely were those
who had a fixed mindset about their interest. People who may be interested in a subject
can change their mind when it becomes too challenging.
“Develop” Instead of “Find”
Researchers concluded that “Developing your Passion” is more appropriate than “Finding
Your Passion,” because development requires commitment, seeing things through even
when they become difficult.
Another path to your passion can be developing valuable skills that will lead to greater
career satisfaction because you’ll be financially stable and more likely to develop a passion
for a field you’ve cultivated deep expertise in. In other words, first establish the lifestyle you
want for yourself and then fit a career around your vision. First get your basic needs taken
care of by creating a plan for your life and part of that plan is the development of your
Passion Still Requires Discipline
But no matter which approach you choose to follow, you will never develop your passion if you keep switching directions and following every shiny object that crosses your path.
Even if they have a natural talent, ballet dancers invest years of discipline and hard work on their passion. So do athletes. So do millionaires. And so will YOU.
Now step back and look at the big picture.
Is your passion something you can incorporate into your career/job?
Is it something you will be doing on your personal time, after you do your work at a job that is just FINE; it’s not your passion, but it allows you to live well and pursue your passion?
What If You Get Stuck?
You know where to find me if you need to bounce some ideas around and get some feedback!