I was reading a bit of advice that trotted out the old shibboleth of: “Finding your passion is the key to life.” The presumption was you had to find your passion as a prelude to getting on with your life and that you should not take a step without knowing what that passion truly was.
I thought about that for a long time and decided that is not good advice. Let me explain.
1. Most of the folks giving that advice already found their passion or made a bloody fortune in some other endeavor (like scrap metal or rock quarries) — everybody listens to billionaires even ones who made their dough in scrap metal — and are now in the advice business.
A lot of them made their stake doing something that was not their passion.
2. You can’t find your passion unless you go looking for it and that entails trying something that is NOT — or may not initially be — your passion to find your passion.
Read that sentence again. It’s hard to swallow on the first read.
3. Finding your passion is a trial and error exercise.
Here’s some better advice:
1. Don’t spend a second worrying about your bloody passion. Don’t spend a single hour thinking about what your passion might be.
2. Identify some things you love — LOVE — to do. Make a list.
You are starting with a single screen: LOVE TO DO. Not “my mother would be proud of me.” Not “Dad was a lawyer.” Nope. LOVE TO DO.
You don’t even have to actually have to have done it. Just thinking you might love to do it is enough at this stage of the game.
Key point: y0u can revise the list as often as it strikes you.
3. Go find a way to do that something you love to do.
4. Become a grand master at that thing and become an expert. This takes time and effort. There may be sweat, but nobody has ever drowned in their own sweat.
5.Here’s the secret: It may become your passion.
Real world secret: You cannot actually become an expert at anything without it becoming a passion.
6. If it does not become your passion, or if upon doing it the love affair ends abruptly, then move on down the list.
The dog catches the pickup theory of life
Even if you discover your passion, you do understand that every day is not Christmas, right?
Being passionate about building high rise buildings still entails lots of days of doing pedestrian, mundane, ordinary, soul numbing drudgery.
Every day is not Christmas. Even if you discover your passion.
Felt like that needed to be said.
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
You cannot find your passion without looking for it. If you look in enough places, it may find you.
Be wary of advice from people who made their bloody fortunes in scrap metal telling you to find your passion.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. [My passion is screaming through the night with my top down and the wind in my hair with the radio blaring.]
LOVE TO DO. God bless us all.