…and start living your life.
When I was a kid, all I was ever told about passion was…Well, nothing detrimental to my character development, nor did it help me understand how to figure out what I want in life.
There were always money and education-related conversations over the dinner table – The importance of finishing College during appetizers and “making loads of money” as the main family course, with some “find yourself a nice boy” talks in between wine sips. And despite there being a lack of deep philosophical meaning behind those objectively positive pieces of advice, I understood my parents quite clearly:
Finding your passion is a tiring cliche. And it may even be dangerous to be convinced otherwise.
Passion isn’t something that you are meant to find, because no one hid it from you, to begin with. There’s no sacred epiphany waiting for you on the other side, nor is there a climax self-realization movie moment either.
And although the above-mentioned things are highly romanticized and even fictive, the reality is this: There’s just you. You, and your talents, dedication, and dreams. But even more importantly, there’s your ability to observe. And allow me to explain that a bit for you.
What Are You Passionate About?
Feelings are not always facts. And facts, most definitely, have a deeply rooted influence on feelings. So where does passion conceptually fall on that graph? Well, to turn a bursting feeling of red, fiery, and excitingly dangerous passion into a fact, you first have to be aware of when it’s happening. In other words, you have to be conscious of what you are doing when you get struck by this impulsive, nervous, but pleasurable feeling of passion.
What are you doing? Who are you with? Is it overwhelming? There are no indefinite questions to find your passion.
And by all means, tell the truth and not a romanticized yearning for something you saw in a James Franco movie. Being a passionate painter in a Parisian loft sure does seem like a dream. But is it you who is dreaming of it? Or is it a tale told by too many, but lived by barely a few?
In other words: Stop romanticizing passion.
Although “romantic” at its core, pop culture sure has had an unrealistic influence on the “find your true self, as well as your purpose and passion in life” philosophy. Granted, some people genuinely live their life as if they fell out of a Pixar animated film, and more power to them. But on a more realistic note, life just isn’t that romantic. And that doesn’t mean it can’t be passionate.
Passion is Sometimes A Silent Hitman
When I was younger, I remember being good at art, of all kinds. I would paint, sing and write – Any creative outlet that existed was under my belt, even in ranges very far from average.
As I’ve gotten older, I realized, humbly so if I may add, that I was creative on an insane level. And although my execution wasn’t always the best, the inception of it was still worth a while.
I sang, ever since I was 6. From gospel choirs to solo performances, my piano teacher said I should pursue my God-given musical talent. But when I sang, I only sang for myself. No matter the size of the crowd, or the meaning of the songs I was singing – My only passion and purpose for it was for myself. I needed no musical career to reach that level of satisfaction for when I hit those notes or did my vocal runs flawlessly.
It was the same with painting. I continued to pursue it digitally too, so I finished Graphic Design. Five years into freelancing I realized the same thing. I was only doing it for me. My happiness was wholeheartedly internal. And I only felt that fiery passion when I was painting or illustrating whatever the hell I wanted. But that’s the catch with creation. Isn’t it always more passionate when you’re putting your internal vision into the real world, rather than somebody else’s?
So I got into thinking, and before you knew it, a metaphorical lightbulb just popped above my head – That’s not just about art, but everything ever created. Everything you are passionate about will brutally be killed when you seek a diploma, job position, or validation for it.
Not all…But most things certainly.
So amid all this internal and external messiness…How the hell do we find our thing? Depends on the person, or types of people I’ll be discussing next. Advice regarding this specific matter can’t and shouldn’t be universal.
Sectioning folks in “passion types” will make it much easier for all of us to take away something from this and rewire the harmful way we’ve been taught to think. You’d be surprised how many people don’t listen to themselves, as their entire character centers around other people and things they find attractive.
1. The “What am I doing with my life?” type
Grade school, high school, all the way to University. All those subjects, classes, extracurriculars, and the occasionally stupid idea that ends up leading you to something great – All of that exposure to diverse groups of people, teachers, and information and still…Nothing.
Really? Nothing gives you existential butterflies throughout your lungs and chest? Well, no wonder you are stuck. How are you supposed to “follow your heart” when you haven’t got the slightest idea of what it wants. And that grey area, or neutrality of the soul, if you will, is sometimes even more dangerous than people who have a whole lot of passion for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s some advice for you, confused lad: despite all of that abovementioned experience, you are yet to be exposed to the right set of places, people, and ideas. You can’t physically find your passion, that much is true. But what people fail to articulate is that our passion is often discovered through our reaction to someone else’s.
Inpiration is one hell of an experience, and you should get out there, and “yes-man” your life for a while. See where it takes you.
2. The “Now this looks like a job for me…or does it?” type
Some kids show incredible talents from a very early age. Parents, wanting to help the little youngster shape and perfect that talent, lead the child to greatness through practice and discipline. Before you know it, that little youngster has become known for their gifts. Let’s call the kiddo Tyler, and let’s make him a swimmer.
Tyler has been in numerous competitions, won an infinite amount of medals, and is currently practicing for his swimmer’s scholarship at UCLA. Things are looking good for the kiddo, aren’t they? But what people around him, including his parents, don’t see is his constant uncertainty when it comes to this.
“Yeah, I’m a really good swimmer and I’ve been doing it for ages…But what if my true passion is still somewhere out there, but I’ve been too busy having my head underwater for more than a decade.”
And even when you are amazingly good at one thing, you’ll still feel the need to explore more because a part of you is still unsatisfied. Mostly because this amazing talent of yours isn’t as romantic as we’ve been taught it should be – Leaving many people confused as to what they should do.
If you are like Tyler, please, don’t quit swimming. Just begin doing other stuff you are interested in too. Find time, there’s only one life to live, so for Christ’s sake, find the time. God knows it’s much easier to find that than it is the case with passion.
3. The “I don’t know what to choose” type
This type is all over the place. Hands made of gold, and head dizzy from all the confusion, this type is as creatively chaotic as they come.
“So you are good at EVERYTHING? Boo f*cking hoo. Imagine whining because you don’t know which one of your amazing talents and passions to choose from?”
Most people would respond to these types something along those lines, but the truth is much more complex than that. This type is always changing their minds, kind of like a stereotypical Gemini, if you will. If they choose option A, they might be mission out on option B. Not to mention option C, which is almost as good as option D…It’s tiring.
All of these poor talented creatures must feel like they’re a walking and talking version of a Kanye song or quote. Creative, but hellishly confusing and messy. But hasn’t anyone ever told you guys…that it’s okay…to have more than one…passion in life? I promise it is.
You didn’t have to settle for one, then lose the other. This isn’t Sophie’s Choice.
How about finding balance in all these little passions of yours? You’ll eventually find a livable rhythm that builds a strong bridge between all of them – Making it entirely safe for you to travel from one place to another.
Just because the world is selling you the idea that there’s only one soul-mate or one purpose for you out there, doesn’t mean it’s true. From the looks of it, the world is selling you this soulless crap because it’s very good at marketing.
And the philosophy ends there.
4. The “Nothing is ever good enough” type
These guys quite possibly have it the hardest. Every living and breathing piece of intellectual life has at one point in their self-conscious journey felt like they weren’t good enough. In their relationships, work, and even overall.
It’s human to feel deeply flawed because we are exactly that.
But taking away from your beauty just because of this is rather stupid. Very stupid, come to think of it.
And I know. You pick up new hobbies and take on new interests faster than the seasons change. Never go through with them, or even get bored halfway through the damn thing – All in all, you end up all over the place, but differently from our previously-mentioned group, you are good at a lot of things, but great at none. The solution is rather easy here, isn’t it?
Pick one thing, and give it your ALL. Create a routine, or a schedule, and STICK TO IT. Tighten up what is in disorder and stop starting new chapters before closing the old ones.
Bored easily? No, it’s just a lack of focus you are dealing with. And no matter the creative nature of your passion, developing a structure right in the middle of it can only bring you good.
Start with the small things. Finish that book you’ve been putting off, before starting a new one. Finish that album you saved on your Spotify playlist but never “had the time” to actually sit and listen to it all the way through. Pick up, whatever and wherever you left off, and follow that same structure I know you wish to have in your life. “Rules” might be limiting, sure. But negative chaos is mear hell in your life, and trust me, that’s the last thing you want.
Never Lie (To Yourself)
Telling the truth at all times is so much harder than it meets the eye…or mind, in this case. Especially when we’re trying to paint a decent picture of ourselves to other people.
- “What are you passionate about?” asks random person #1.
- “Oh, I’m a photographer and I looove editing my pics and posting them on my website. I’ve been doing collages ever since I was a kid, so I’ve been this way forever, lol.” replied random person #2.
Meanwhile, random person #2’s mind screams the following:
“I don’t even own a camera, I use my friend’s Nikon from time to time. I only did collages when I was a kid because my sister wanted me to do them with her. I’m not even THAT good at photoshop either…”
Even though what random person #2 said was somewhat true, it still wasn’t the truth. And going back to what we’ve discussed in the beginning, our self-perception, as well as the ability to observe when we get struck by this “passion” gets mudded by all the lies and half-truths we’ve been planting around.
And trust me, when you plant rotten seeds, you’ll get poisonous fruit in return. So no, you will never really “find” your passion by trying to put it into the universe via beautified truths.
Final Passion Thoughts
I’ll say this once, and I hope you remember it. Just because you or someone you know have not done something extraordinary, doesn’t mean your life isn’t or won’t be extraordinary. Life is an unfortunately cynical and hilarious series of unpredictable events. In many cases, most of us are lucky to even be alive.
Some people find passion in the simple act of hanging out with friends, on a casual Saturday summer night, drinking beer, and laughing at incredibly stupid jokes. Some people find passion in their “incredibly boring” economy-related jobs because they feel on top of the world when they close an agency deal or finish some tough paperwork.
Others, find passion in simple Tuesday afternoons after work, making garlic bread, and drinking white wine, under the kitchen lights with their significant other.
Passion is in love, work, sex. Passion is in your living room, your passport, or even on the street in front of your house. It can be anything and with anyone, and the only person determining its worth is the one experiencing it.