Monday, April 8, 2013

Passion Searching and How to Get Payment for Your Passion

“Find what you are passionate about, and figure out how to make money doing it.” 

This is some age old advice that many of us probably heard from our parents or mentors at some point in our upbringing. So despite it's popularity, why do so many of us not follow it?

Let's break it down... Starting with the first part: “Find what you are passionate about...”
The problem can start right here. What if a person cannot find what they are passionate about? Maybe they have a number of interests but nothing really takes them to the point of passion. I have heard my mother say it numerous times. “Not everyone is fortunate enough to discover their passion.” And I do believe there is truth to this. So I decided to take a look at why? What would keep someone from discovering a passion? In taking a quick look at the environment that many of us are raised in, I identified some possible contributing factors. Let's look at some vague examples:

Vague Example #1: 
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Perhaps you did find your passion when you were a child, but social norms steered you away from them. Maybe it was an activity attributed to "nerds" or "jocks" (or whatever group it was that you didn't want to be associated with) or it wasn't typical for your gender. One might say, "well if it was really a passion then you would have stuck with it." But let's take a moment to remember being a kid or an adolescent: sometimes the desire to “fit in” outweighed our ability to stay true to ourself. The ego is a tricky little thing and it preys on all potential victims.

Vague Example #2:
Let's look at when we are a little older. Maybe by the time you are a young adult, fitting in isn’t your main priority anymore. But you now live in a time and space where all of your emphasis is put on how to make money. And all your exploits, be them professional or recreational, are dictated by the dollar. You go for jobs based on potential income. You choose your weekend activities based on how much they cost and what you can afford, or you avoid doing many recreational activities at all. 

In either of these examples, the opportunity to find a passion at all has been severely damaged. You have unintentionally stifled your ability to find a passion, by not listening to the possibilities. The good news is that for most of us, the search is still salvageable. We just have to start observing how our behavior and mental blocks play a role.

Let's say you have a job that is simply a paycheck. You yearn for a job that will light your fire, but you know it is not this one and you have no idea where to look. Since spending time with your passion is not embedded in your work regimen, it is absolutely imperative that you make time for it. Create a regular routine of Passion Searching. 
Passion searching: the quest for discovering an activity (or activities) that one is passionate about. Once activity is discovered one must continue to regularly participate in them. And/or discover more. 
Before you begin Passion Searching, there is a prerequisite: Go into it with an open mind: There should be no timeline for passion searching.  Do not set guidelines for how long the search should take or what field it might be in. If you already have activities that you enjoy doing, make sure you explore those activities inside out. Become curious!

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If you don't have any idea where to start, your new favorite word should be "Yes!" Let people around you know that you are interested in finding a new hobby or past time and be open to their suggestions. When they invite you on an adventure you say "Yes!" (Obviously you can be realistic about what resources the activity will take such as time and money). But let's say one day you are asked to go to a yoga class. Then the next week you are invited to a knitting class. Then the next week you are invited to rock climb. Start getting in the habit of trying new things and be open to trying them a few times.  

Eventually you will find something that interests you. Maybe you wouldn't classify it as a "passion" yet. But pay attention to the activities that make you feel good. And please know that you deserve to feel good. Have the courage to do the thing that you enjoy NOW and it just might be the gateway to more things that you will enjoy. More knowledge, more experience, more opportunity for a joyful life. 

Perhaps the second part of that advice is where we get discouraged “...and figure out how to make money doing it.” 
Well, at first you may not be able to make money doing that one thing you love. But don’t let this stop you from doing it. Because someday that dedication might pay off. And even if it doesn't, notice how the journey of looking for, practicing and living your passion will alter your entire perception of life. You may no longer feel the need to make money through your passion. But instead by revitalizing your extra curricular activities, you just might find that commute to the office every day less cumbersome. You might even begin to enjoy your job a little. Why? Because you will have begun collecting the most important payment and that is the one to your heart. A truly happy heart will find pleasure where you once thought it was impossible.

Never underestimate the power of a joyful heart...
photo by Jhonathan Floez
When we live joyful lives we are showing gratitude to our maker for the tremendous gift of life we have been given. This is an incredibly valuable and important thing to do.  Gratitude is the most powerful emotion and sentiment to experience and share. It has the power to envelop your entire being and lift you up. All you have to do is feel it, think it and express it. When you search for the passion in your life, you are telling your Maker, "Thank You for this opportunity to live. Thank you for creating a playground for me to express the nature of my soul and to experience You. Thank you for teaching me why I am here."

Speaking of that, why are we here? The purpose of life is a question that people ask all the time. I am not here to give you the answer as I am still discovering it myself everyday. But I will say that if you want to find the answer you have to experience your life. And experience it as fully as possible. Notice the colors of the trees, the feel of the wind, the taste of the water, the sound of your breath, the smell of the morning dew, the sense of gratitude, peace, love and joy. Find activities that make you feel happy, uncomfortable, exhilarated, self-conscious, curious, angry, motivated, proud. Find activities that make you feel ALIVE.

Regardless if you have found your passion or not, keep looking! The adventure in looking might be exactly what you learn to be passionate about. You have the rest of your life to enjoy this journey.

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