Everyone has a passion. It often manifests during childhood and is pursued through play or it is stumbled upon as we age but almost immediate put aside for more practical things like work and building a family. Children are free to actively pursue the things that interest them, but as they age they are encouraged to go after more practical pursuits often putting their passion aside.
However, it isn’t impossible or impractical to continue to follow your passion even as you age. Doing what you love even as a hobby can go a long way to living a life that you enjoy. There was a time when people weren’t encouraged to follow or even consider passion when living their lives.
Survival was the most important and that often meant working from sun up to sundown with only room for sleeping and eating. Things like hobbies and passion weren’t discussed or even considered because there was no room for it.
Thanks to societal changes like the Industrial Revolution and the advent of technology, we no longer have to toil so hard just to survive. We have the luxury of only having to work 40 hours a week (give or take) and having weekends off to do things like goof off, go on vacation or discover and pursue our passion.
With our overly scheduled lives that might not seem like much time but any time spent actively seeking your heart’s desire is better than no time at all. Over time, we often forget the passions of our childhood or even the ones we discover as we age.
So discovering our passion is often the first step down a path of actively pursuing it. If you’re unsure how to go about discovering your passion, here are some steps to get you thinking in the right direction.
- Take a stroll down memory lane and make a list.
Think back to when you were a kid. What are some of the things you really loved doing? What are some of the things you thought were really cool but couldn’t do? What are some of the things you really wanted to try but didn’t think you’d be good at it? Write everything down, no matter how silly it may sound. This is a great time to throw practicality completely out of the window and live in a fantasy land, even if only for a moment.
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Take some time with this but not too long. You don’t want to spend the rest of your days dreaming about what your passion could be. You want to actually pursue it!
- Consider your current job. What are some things that you are tasked with doing at work that you enjoy?
While this may not be as fun as strolling down memory lane, it’s important to consider what you enjoy doing as an adult. Make a separate list. It may be best to do this while you’re actually at work so you can fully assess your daily tasks. Write down everything that comes to mind even the most mundane tasks. While it may not seem very cool to write that you enjoy creating spreadsheets or collating papers, it still counts. Passion isn’t always considered cool or trendy but if you love it, you should explore it.
- What would you do if you had all of the money you needed and didn’t have to worry about paying your bills?
We all have to work to live. Yes we no longer have to work from sun up to sun down just to put food on the table (for the most part), but we still have bills to pay and mouths to feed (even if it’s just your own mouth). This is another fun exercise and you’re allowed to be as fanciful as you like. Practicality has no place in the world where all of our financial responsibilities are met and we’re able to just live as we please. Make a separate list.
Now that you have these three lists, review them. You may notice some similarities between the lists. Take note of the similarities. If you’re a fan of color coding, you can color code them or you can just make a separate list. The similarities you discover will lead you down the road to pursuing your passion. In fact, you may find some passions that are ripe for you to begin exploring right away.
However, don’t throw away the other lists. Keep them in a safe place that you can easily access. Some of the other things on your list may be worth exploring at a later date. Even if it’s an interest on one list, it could still take you down a path to your passion. The cool thing about passions is that they can often lead to other things you really enjoy.
The next step in this process is to go out and do some of the things from your final list. Approach this process in an exploratory manner, don’t rush it. Finding your passion shouldn’t be approached like a timed task. The whole point is to discover things that you enjoy and then do them.
I realize that may be easier said than done but it’s an important step in the process. So now that you have a list of some things you’d like to explore, you may be unsure how to proceed. Here are some tips on how to dig further into your newfound passion journey.
- Take a class
There are tons of classes, both online and offline on almost any topic around. Do a quick web search for your topic and “class” to see what types of classes are available. For example, if one thing you wanted to do as a kid was climb trees and you live in Boston, do a web search of “climb trees class” or “climb trees class Boston” and you will begin to find classes, courses and articles about climbing trees and the ones specific to the Boston area.
- Join a group
There is a wonderful website called www.meetup.com where people are encouraged to create groups around a specific interest. I encourage everyone to create a profile on meetup.com. It’s free to join and is a great resource. Once you create a profile, you can do a search for any interest and the site will show you all of the groups related to that interest in your area. Then you can join the groups and participate in their meetups. The different groups are free to join for the most part. The ones that require a fee are typically very affordable and may be worth the extra investment. It’s a great way to not only explore your interests but meet other people who share your interests and possibly make new friends.
- Read a book
If you’re not feeling particularly adventurous at the moment but still want to dive into these interests you forgot you had, reading is a great way to explore it without leaving your house. While I do encourage you to eventually get out into the world and actually explore your interests through action, reading is a good step. You can do a search of your favorite online book seller, visit your local bookstore or spend some time in your local library. Get as many books as you can read at one time and spend some time between those pages exploring your interests.
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