Oh, yes, the question whose precious answer has the power to make a human happy: how to find your passion? After all, one of the greatest sources of sadness in your life is not doing what you love.
Have you ever seen a person who can follow their passion day by day complaining about their miserable life? I did not.
Yet very few people manage to find their must-follow passion. And the cold hard fact is that most don’t even know how to search for it.
A Harvard/Stanford study showed that workplace stress may be causing 120,000 premature deaths every year. Moreover, a recent Mental Health America survey indicates that 70% of workers say they are not happy with their career choices.
“Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.”Jon Bon Jovi
Thus, it’s crucial for you to discover your calling as soon as possible. Many people skip the quest to their true life purpose or think that those “follow your passion” quotes on their Instagram feed will do any good. Don’t you dare falling in those traps.
Instead, be sure to stick to our simple 3-step guide. It will use your past actions, present habits, and visualizing power to make finding your must-follow passion a breeze.
Table of Contents
1. Search your past
First, nothing reflects your soul’s true seekings better than your invaluable history. Observing your past behavior and your reactions in different scenarios is a surefire way to understand what are you attracted by.
Yet, shuffling through your past can be a very hard task since our brains’ attics are full of memories. To skip the hassle and laser-focus on the most significant moments of your life follow our next guidelines.
Reflect on your childhood
In our early years, we immersed ourselves in activities that fitted our nature. We didn’t do anything for the sake of being accepted by other trendy members of the society or for financial rewards.
Simply said, most of us had the freedom of enjoying whatever we were passionate about. We played sports, annoyed our siblings, and played video games without a worry in the world. Unfortunately, as we grow, we put that freedom in a cage and what’s worse is that we fail to notice it.
See where I’m knocking? Take a journey back in time and search for activities that you just couldn’t stop doing – those that made the time fly by like a jet aircraft. Then, deeply question yourself: why did you enjoy doing those activities?
When I was under 10, I loved assembling LEGO (note: I still do) and I found that fascinating because it involved building something in an organized manner.
Am I applying that in my adult life? Of course. Every piece of text I write involves planning, a building phase, and a final result. Very much like a tiny LEGO project.
Have you already figured out what you need to do next? Here’s a breakdown:
- Make a list of the activities you enjoyed the most in your childhood;
- Jot down the reasons why you liked every activity;
- Find jobs, opportunities, and hobbies that match those reasons.
TIP: Need more help in finding the activities you enjoyed the most in your young ages? Ask yourself what Mark Manson, the famous book author, recommends:
“What’s true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?”
Rewind the most joyful moments of your life
Think about the times when you felt most fulfilled in your life. You know, those moments when you could have swore that you are the most blessed person in the world. What were you doing?
You may have been swimming in Thailand or obtained that first date with your significant other. Maybe it was the time when you put your hands on that dreamy job or when you offered a delightful gift to one of your parents.
Look for a pattern that occurred in each of these moments. Then, see how you can make changes and apply that pattern in your current life.
After doing that, you will be one huge step closer to finding your passion, so pat yourself on the back.
How to find your passion using your wounds
You’ve already pinpointed your life’s highlights and used them to get closer to your passion. Now, it’s time to take a look at those times when you suffered, got hurt, and thought that nobody else should experience what you did.
Many founders built their businesses by drawing motivation from traumas they have experienced in childhood. Heartbreaking experiences like being bullied at school, having alcoholic parents, or going through famine may trigger your passion for helping others survive in uncharted waters.
For example, Steve Jobs had a hard time at school because the formal teaching system bored him. He was a genius mind and had to endure some tough moments because of it. Nevertheless, he fought and showed the world what he was capable of by modelling the digital world as we know it.
“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”Steve Jobs
List what you hate doing
Everyone has things they never feel like doing. Think about the tasks you hate, the chores you’ve always postponed, or that job you’ve always detested.
Now, figure out why you despise each of them and put everything on paper. What you jotted down are the opposites of your passion, so avoid those as much as possible in your everyday life.
Look up to your heroes
We all have our heroes, don’t we? Then, why don’t you try being more like them? When we were kids, we wanted to be like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman for certain reasons. Who do you want to be like now and why?
Make a list of all the people you admire, see what they have in common, and you may just find who you truly want to be. That’s finding your passion, my friend.
TIP: Write down your story, from childhood to the present-day. This way, you’ll make sure you properly research your past.
However useful your past is in searching for your passion, you should always try to experience novelty. Go in adventures and discover what brings you excitement. You are not restricted to having only one passion, and that’s one of the beautiful things about us, humans.
With this in mind, let’s continue the quest to find your passion by observing your most powerful habits and values you hold on to in the present.
2. Explore your current self
There’s a saying from the Kung Fu Panda animated movie that goes like this:
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it’s called the present.”Listen to the quote in our 6 Benefits of Watching Animated Movies article.
This means you should cherish every moment and not let yourself be caught in the past or dreaming too much of the future. The greatest amount of value is in what you do today.
So start observing your current take on life and get one step closer to your passion. You’ll find the next guidelines very helpful in doing so.
What do you enjoy doing?
The most straightforward way to find your passion is to notice what you love doing. What makes you happy? Which activity has the power to grab your negative thoughts and throw them to the bin?
You may think: “Hey Claudiu, watching a movie always gets me into the right mood. Does it mean that I should become a full-time movie addict?” Not at all. Besides, I don’t know any A.A. kind of meetings for movie addicts.
After all, there are many ways to improve your mood. Movies have the power to transport you into another world, offer you dreamy scenarios, action, and all kinds of feelings. All this, so you can forget about your problems. But you don’t want to forget about your concerns just to come back to them after a binge-watching session, do you?
You can identify your true passion if you feel accomplished when you do a certain activity. And that doesn’t mean that occupation needs to feel easy.
Your passion should always stimulate yourself to get better at it and I’m pretty sure you can’t get better at watching movies. So, what do you love doing and can get better at?
IMPORTANT TIP: Stand by your passion, even when things get tough. Do you think that Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed every training session in his career? Do you think it was all milk and honey for Elon Musk? Each career pursuit takes hard work, but passion is what keeps people going.
- Are you in love with writing? Then write more, read more, and keep perfecting your style.
- Are you a nerdy coding enthusiast? Then go develop your skills, attend hackathons, learn from the best, and change people’s lives with innovative apps.
Whatever your passion is, there are many ways to harness it.
What makes you forget about yourself?
Have you ever felt immersed in an activity and then looked at the clock and saw that 5 hours flew by? Be on the lookout for those kinds of tasks and jot down the reasons why your attention was so caught up.
For example, I always find myself staying more than planned on the soccer field or the tennis court. And the reason behind this is that I like competition and I am always looking to improve myself.
What makes you emotional?
Passion springs from our hearts, our souls, and emotion is the by-product. So, whenever you talk about a hobby, a job, a dream, and your voice starts trembling, you feel excited, or you have butterflies in your stomach, then you bet your bottom dollar that you’re talking about a passion.
Take Jeff Bartsch for example. He is a Hollywood TV editor who worked for:
- Big companies: NBC, ABC, Universal, Disney, Apple, and more;
- Famous shows: American Ninja Warrior and, recently, Dwayne Johnson’s Titan Games.
Jeff is essentially a storyteller who recently found out that he doesn’t want to become a producer and be away from his family 24/7. Instead, he wishes to become a teacher for emerging video creators.
Check out the following video where his eyes start to fill up with tears when he’s talking about his passion – creating stories. If you can get so emotional while describing your job, then you are on the right pathway in life.
How do you want the world to see you?
If you want to find your passion, you need to know how you wish to show up in the world and which of your values you want to promote. Are you eager to spread confidence, to share love and compassion, or you just want to make people laugh?
All these and many more are qualities you can identify in yourself and spread further in the world. Once you selected at least a couple, find out how you can apply them in your life. Do you promote these values at your job? What about your home?
Follow your passion, follow your heart
Your heart acts as a compass and all you need to do is to listen to the direction it points. Sounds corny, I know, but it’s true. Whether it’s about finding your passion or taking any kind of decision in life, your instinct will guide you.
But before that, you need to acknowledge where you are now and where you want to be. Therefore, check with your heart whenever you want to know if you are passionate about something.
Define what’s important for you
Each one of us wants to feel like we matter and that we are a valuable presence. So we won’t be happy when we do meaningless work.
That is exactly why you don’t feel accomplished when you keep your passion just as a hobby. You feel the urge to offer your gift and change the world with it.
Takeaway: Stop killing your time and think about what you can do to release your inner magic into the world.
Chase your fears
You may have heard this countless times, but fears are the ones that hold you back big time. One of the most common fears sounds like this: “What will others think, or will they still like me if I would do [your passion]?”
Guess what, success requires overcoming of fears. It’s not easy because it’s not supposed to be. Before you learn how to find your passion, you need to realize that your fears are only obstacles. And beating them is a must.
Don’t sacrifice your life purpose by staying under an empire of anxiety. Remember, the world needs your magic. So look to embarrass yourself, make everyone laugh at you, and then take pride in your progress and your courage of going after your dreams.
“The more a major life decision scares you, chances are the more you need to be doing it.”Mark Manson
Find your Ikigai
Ikigai in Japanese translates as “a reason for being” and behind finding this reason there’s a key formula. People from the Land of the Rising Sun use it to find their life purpose.
It it may be hard for you to make a clear picture of how you should use Ikigai. Don’t worry, here’s a short guide:
- Answer the big 4 areas: what are you good at?; clarify what you love doing; what does the world need?; what can you be paid for?
- Find your passion by asking yourself what you’re good at and also love doing;
- Set your mission by asking yourself what you love and the world also needs;
- Discover your vocation by asking yourself what you can be paid for and the world also needs;
- Become aware of what your profession should be by asking yourself what you’re good at and can be paid for;
- Blend your passion, mission, vocation, and profession into one by brainstorming ideas; that is your Ikigai.
Read to find your passion
Books have the power to give you a peek into the life of other people and their life purposes. That’s amazing.
If you find yourself meandering on whether a certain job or hobby suits you, go into a library and look for books about your so-believed passion. You’ll find valuable insight. Bonus, you might discover your calling. All you need is to imagine some author’s words.
“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”American astronomer Carl Sagan
TIP: Look for books written by your real-life heroes that we’ve talked about earlier in the article.
What compliments do you get?
If you can’t figure out what you are good at, then drop an ear to what others are appreciating and respecting you for.
I’ve received praise for my writing, my video editing, my storytelling abilities, my capability to work hard, and also for being a kind person. And here I am running Unfold Today, helping people upgrade their body, mind, and lifestyle, with the skills I’ve been appreciated for. What about you?
TIP: Don’t put too much weight on other people’s opinions. Your angle matters the most.
Be part of the right community
Sometimes people, friends, and even your family can keep you from following your passion. But, they can also remind you of your life’s purpose when you feel lost.
Ask yourself what kind of people do you have around you and what do you have in common with them. If something doesn’t fit, adjust your entourage. And don’t be afraid to let go of any energy vampires.
Your favorite conversation subject
When you are truly passionate about something, you can’t stay away from it. You talk about it with everyone, your family, your friends, heck, even with strangers.
You essentially breathe passion among your words. So one of the simplest things you can do to find your passion is to listen to your own voice.
3. Envision your passion
Finally, after shuffling through your past and analyzing your current identity, it’s time you leap into the future. Your power of imagination comes handy when you try to find your passion. Sometimes all you need to do is to visualize yourself in five, ten, or twenty years from now.
- Where are you?
- Who are you around?
- What are you doing on a day-by-day basis?
- What’s your financial status?
- What “mountains” did you climb to get where you are?
There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself, but ultimately we all want to do what we are passionate about, no matter what. So, here are a few guidelines that will show you how to find your passion by using your envisioning power.
Imagine you are limitless
Picture this: you have millions of dollars, not a worry in the world, and you are living in your place of choice while having a beautiful family.
Now, ask yourself with all the seriousness you have inside: “What would I do every day?” Answer from your soul, and think about what will make you feel fulfilled.
The freedom of doing anything you want is a very powerful trigger of your passions. After all, if you can’t do what you love when you have all the liberty in the world, when can you?
TIP: Think about which of your core values you can put in the world’s service.
Put yourself under pressure
If from now on, you would be forced to leave your house in the first hour of the morning and you’ll be able to come back only to sleep at night, what would you do with your time?
Here is a very interesting alternative scenario you can imagine.
“Gun to your head, if you had to leave the house all day, every day, where would you go and what would you do?”Mark Manson
Manson came up with the latter question because he thinks that our constant rush for instant satisfaction makes us sit on the couch way more than we should, eating junk food, and, inherently, not following our passion. That is why you should throw yourself out of your comfort zone to find the true nature of what you want and need to be.
Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-by-fire process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we do it.Mark Manson
TIP: If you want to go a step further with the “under pressure” technique, imagine that you have only one year left to live. What would you want to do and how would you want others to remember you? When humans face death, they let all the non-sense away and automatically focus on what’s important.
You’ve already found your passion
I want you know that It’s never too late to find your passion. Besides, chances are you have already found it, but you can’t figure out exactly what it is.
“You already found your passion, you’re just ignoring it. Seriously, you’re awake 16 hours a day, what the f**k do you do with your time?
You’re doing something, obviously. You’re talking about something. There’s some topic or activity or idea that dominates a significant amount of your free time, your conversations, your web browsing,
and it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.”Mark Manson
In the end, whether you choose to explore your past, your present self, or to take a journey into the future, this “how to find your passion” guide must have put you on the right track to building a fulfilling and joyful life.
Which of the techniques was an ice-breaker for you? We want to hear your opinion, so drop a comment below.