I Know I Must Follow My Passion To Succeed. But I Don’t Know What I Am Passionate About!

Why should we try to find our passion? What can change as a result? How do we go about it? Read on to find out.

Why should we try to find our passion? What can change as a result? How do we go about it? Read on to find out.

The word ‘passion’ is often thrown around loosely. A sizeable percentage of people retire, never having found their passions. This article is not about people who hate their jobs or hate their bosses or hate their jobs because of their bosses. This article is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of people who have few complaints about their jobs but who know deep down that they are not really pursuing their passion.

Many of us work and live for weekends. We wait to take that one vacation we have been dreaming of since last year. We work harder to make the vacation a reality. Some of us want to work as hard as possible to retire at 40. Most of us treat our jobs as a means to provide for other things which bring us immense happiness and satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t hate our jobs.

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But think – would we stay in the same job if we won a lottery?

“But I am passionate about travelling, about cricket, about reading; I love to paint, eat and watch movies,” say people, “but I can’t make a living out of that!”

Who does not like travelling to new places? But that does not mean that travelling is your sole passion in life. Several others don’t really know what they’re passionate about. Today’s society puts immense pressure on young people to “Follow their passion”, when it is really not clear what passion means or how to find it and follow it.

Passion is not the same thing as interest

Passion for a field makes you truly excited, makes you want to devour every book, every article about the field, makes you want to work towards betterment of an aspect related to that field and makes you want to add immense value to the field.

A passion is not an interest. Travelling or cricket, is an interest for most of us. What we are interested in today may not interest us 5 years down the line. Yet, it is so common for people to confuse passion with interest and that their current interests would remain interesting to them and thus they should find passion in what they are interested in.

One can’t find one’s passion by thinking very hard about it

Have you ever attended career counselling workshops where you were asked to answer the question “I truly love ___ and I if I had the opportunity to change my life, I would do ___”? I could never, for the love of God, answer this question! Can you imagine this one sentence changing your view of life entirely? Of course not! There were a million things I love to do!

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It is impossible to predict whether a career is suitable for you or whether you will be successful by just thinking about your preliminary interest in that field. Nor is passion about hopping from one job to another, hoping to stumble upon your passion. Passion gives you a fulfilling career, a stable and sufficient income and most importantly let’s us do valuable work. And we must deliberately, actively go in search of such work.

Work for a passion or for a paycheck?

The question is not whether to work for a passion or for a paycheck. It is our duty to find a career path which we are passionate about and pays well. The society may consider the career of an executive of a large multi-national firm who earns a fat paycheck every month as a successful one. But does the executive feel that she is doing valuable work? Is she burned out by the end of the day? Even people who love, say sales, who love to talk to people and are persuasive would hate their jobs if they did not see the true value that their work added to the society.

Strangely, our society believes that something is wrong with us if we don’t know what we are passionate about. But this is totally normal! To go looking for your passion takes courage, perseverance and deliberate research into various fields.

Research the hell out of various field to find your passion

Start alphabetically if you must and explore every field. Read at least 10 scholarly articles, journals and papers on the latest trends and research in the field. Explore areas which are neglected and how you can add value to these areas. Read books written by experts on topics related to a field and assess how interesting you find it. Take courses and talk to people to get a feel of what the work involves. Don’t hesitate to connect with new people through social media and mutual friends and ask them, “What does a day in your life look like?” Explore interdisciplinary areas.

People tend to misjudge, make an error or neglect interdisciplinary fields. Whoever thought that journalism and science could be combined? And yet here we are, exploring ways to improve viewership using artificial intelligence and machine learning!

Explore, read and learn until you come across a field which captivates your attention and inspires you to do valuable work. The cynics among us might say “It’s too late for you to find your passion. The age has passed!” But writer JK Rowling, who did not publish her first novel until she was 32 and Julia Child, one of America’s most iconic chefs did not even know how to cook until she was 36, prove them wrong.

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