Quite often I hear people say things like, “I’m passionate about the environment” or “I’m passionate about the world of digital”. When I hear people say these things I tend to over analyze and find that I need to stop taking that statement too seriously. The reason for this is that experience has shown me that people either do not realize the weight of what they are saying or they are trying to portray an image for their personal brand. Usually when people make statements like that, it is because they believe that they do carry this passion, and in some cases this is the truth, but in others, people don’t seem to know what it means to have a passion for something.
In writing this, I hope to share with you what I define as one’s passion and how this differs from one’s interests and hobbies. If something is truly your passion, it can easily be monetized and become your career (whether you want it to or not).
My passion vs my interests
“I’m passionate about fitness.” I remember the first time I heard this and I felt nothing of it really, until I had a conversation with a fitness manager. In this discussion he pointed out that when someone makes that statement to him, he finds himself wondering, “Whose fitness, yours or the client’s?” In reality, people think that they are passionate about something, but it is something within that interest that arouses their passion. An example of this, is that, at one point my husband felt he was passionate about fitness and wanted to be a personal trainer, later in life he was passionate about psychology and wanted to be a psychologist, then later he became passionate about sociology.
As he hopped from “passion” to “passion” I realized that his true passion was beginning to emerge, and that is, the passion for helping people. Whether he was aware of it at the time or not, it is something that resonated strongly in his actions, words and his personality. He cannot resist the urge to help people, and it’s difficult for him to accept when he is unable to help others. This is something that is so deeply ingrained within him that he is completely baffled by other peoples’ lack of empathy or compassion.
So to clarify, what I consider an interest is something that a person engages in for a period, which is socialized into us via relationships or environmental factors. It is something that may resonate with our passion but is not the passion itself.
A passion, is something that resonates through us and that we seemingly unconsciously work towards. We cannot live without it, and when it seems like we cut ourselves from it, we naturally gravitate towards it or fabricate it into our environment.
Discovering and developing one’s passion
In theory, discovering one’s passion may seem easy. Simply ask yourself “what is that thing that I cannot live without? What is the essence of my being?” In reality, it is not so easy. Some people find their passion seemingly from the day they are born, while others only discover it closer to the twilight of their lives.
Not knowing your passion can seem extremely scary, and this is especially unnerving in the age of social media, when you can see friends or old classmates living their dreams or having discovered their passion.
So then, how do we proceed? Do you just sit and vegetate and contemplate? No, rather ask yourself two questions: “What am I good at?” and “What makes me happy?” These questions may not take you to your passion but it may help you get there. To find your passion, you need to live and be true to yourself. There are many interests and hobbies that will reveal your passion to you.
What is your why?
In my opinion, our lives are a series of experiments, and we are both the scientists that conducts these experiments and the test subject. In our lives we will want to achieve 101 things, and experiment with different ways to get there. For example, you may decide that you want to get a six-pack or you want to be a millionaire. In order to achieve these goals, like achieving a six pack, you may experiment with different diets, and some may work for a while and some will fail. As we try out these different diets and experiment with different lifestyle changes, we learn new things about our body, but we seldom achieve that point of satisfaction. The reason we are unable to achieve that point of satisfaction is because our reason for wanting to achieve that goal isn’t strong enough.
Consider the following example: I have a friend named Steve and Steve has struggled with his weight his whole life. He always enjoyed having a good time, and a part of having a good time was to eat. He would try to lose weight through diets and different exercise regimes, but these were often short-lived. It was quite easy for Steve to start a diet, try it for two weeks and then find a reason for why it wasn’t working. One of these excuses being, “meal prep and exercise take too much time”. It wasn’t until a doctors visit where Steve was told that he had high blood pressure, and had to be put on medication, that he began to take his health seriously. You see, Steve had several relatives who suffered from high blood pressure, and many of them lost their lives as a result of the condition. Once Steve’s life was at risk, he began to make his health a priority, and his weight naturally shifted into a healthier one.
It is often the case that it is not the diet that fails us, or the technique used to achieve our goal which fails us, but rather we fail ourselves by not having a strong enough reason behind the goal we set. So when setting a goal, add a reason to why you want that goal and if you feel strongly enough about it, then you won’t let anything stand in your way. This will lead you closer towards your passion and allow you to utilize your interests to live your passion.
When your why is strong enough, then your goal is achievable. I’ve found this to be true in health, business and most other aspects in life. If you would like to learn more about finding your why, then feel free to follow the work of Simon Sinek.
The importance of experimenting
I mentioned earlier that we are often the scientist and the test subject within our own lives. If you set a goal, such as “I would like to start my own online business” you then need to consider the reason you would like to achieve that. Perhaps the reason why you would like to do so, is because you would like to earn more money but still have enough freedom to spend time with your family. Or perhaps you just want to have the freedom to be your own boss. Then you can begin your series of experiments to discover how you would get to your goal.
Here’s a few steps you can take to start your experiment:
Step 1: Literature review
Any good scientist or researcher begins their study with a literature review, and life experiments are no different. I’ts very important that before we decide to try a new technique or learn a new skill that we do some reading and research. We are fortunate that the internet is freely available and has a ton of information. Not all resources will be helpful but if you read and review enough literature you will quickly be able to tell which literature is useful and which in nonsensical.
Step 2: Measurement
Once you have read up on the techniques and methods you would like to try, it’s very important that you think of the duration of the experiment and how to measure the success or failure of the experiment.
Step 3: Resource allocation
The next step after that is quite simple, and that is deciding how much resources you would like to allocate towards the experiment. Resources can take the form of time, money, etc.
Step 4: Conducting the experimenting
Once the planning is done you can then begin the experiment and record the results. Be sure to record as much data as you can during this experiment.
Step 5: Review.
Once the experiment has concluded, it is time to asses how well this worked and based on this you can make a decision.
How to make my passion my career
We are fortunate enough that we live in the era of the internet. This means that we don’t need to study and attain several degrees in order to have a high income skill, and it also means that we do not need to rely on a 9-5 job to make money. In the era of the internet we have the opportunity to do the things we love and to make money from it.
For example, if you are passionate about creating art you can take pictures of your art and place it on social media, or make a video of you creating the art, and buyers and collectors will seek you out. If you are passionate about talking to people and learning from them, then you can start a podcast and monetize that. The point I am trying to make is that no matter who you are or what you love there is a way to monetize it. The trick to this is to have your passion speak to a need, or to have it solve a problem.
An example of this is if you felt that you had a passion for helping others and a very strong interest in cooking. You then find out that not a lot of people know how to cook. Therefore, you decide to create a website that has recipes and videos showing how to prepare ingredients and even some links to where people can buy the ingredients you use online. You are then able to monetize your site through affiliate marketing and by generating traffic to your site.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to generate revenue online, but you need to find the path that works for you. So, what are you waiting for? Go do some soul-searching, hop on a few experiments and go get it! Your passion should drive you!