The lack of passion is the biggest epidemic since the Spanish Flu. It is a sickness characterized by over-consumption and under contribution.
Many don’t know how to lead a life of significance. Many are slaving and rotting away, starving for a passion they misunderstand.
This article is a chance for you to change all of that.
Do you want to ‘find your passion’? Do you want to have joy and fulfillment in your life?
If your answer isn’t a screaming yes, just stop reading and go back to your life because what I am about to tell you isn’t for everyone.
If you find life dissatisfying, then I think I know why you’re reading this article. And I speak from experience.
Here’s why: there’s a difference between who you are, how you live and who you want to be, how you want to live. Something is wrong and you want a solution.
If you watch motivational videos, and you read self-help books, there is only one reason. If you feel miserable or pointless, there is only one reason.
Your life isn’t what you hoped it would be because…
Look around you. So many people are doing so well. A few glimpses at their lives on social media show us that they’ve got great jobs and bosses, great marriages, great friends, great achievements.
You tell yourself people’s posts are illusions because they only post the good things on Facebook. But that doesn’t change how crushed you might feel when you see their highlights.
All the while you try not to acknowledge the fact that you’re frustrated and tired. Why does it have to be like this?
I was browsing my Facebook the other day, one of my friends is the CEO and founder of a marketing company on track to do over $20 million this year and seems to be loving it. He’s 27.
You also have friends that are living the life of their dreams. And then there’s you. It is usually in this context that you tell yourself ‘if only I can find my passion…I will be successful and no longer be a victim of life’
Let me begin my asking you this:
What is it that separates the high achievers from the low achievers? I don’t just mean the rich from the poor. I also mean what separates the people that make great impact other areas from the ones that don’t. What’s the difference?
Since this guide is about passion, the answer must be passion…right? Nope.
The answer is more like a combination of compelling vision, relentless grit, massive action, numerous failures, a helpful network, a little luck and meaningful passion.
“What?!” Yup. “But I thought – “ Yup. “How am I going to ever be successful if it takes so much?!”
I can’t tell you. But what I do know is that you won’t be able to take massive action or have relentless grit unless you have meaningful passion. I also don’t want you to have regrets at your life’s end. Are you ready to take your first step towards becoming passionate?
Here’s The Truth About Passion You don’t Know:
I will tell you how you’ve been lied to for years. But before that, a story.
It was the year 2011, and as I sat down the people around me quiet down in anticipation. I was in a young adults group, and it was a movie day. Great¸ I thought. I was pretty new to the whole church thing, so I didn’t know what to expect.
Maybe it was going to be Toy Story 3?
Nope. What followed was a controversial movie that detailed the last 12 hours of a man’s life. Roman guards humiliated and tortured him as he hung to death on a cross. Parts of the movie definitely made me feel uncomfortable.
Fun fact: the movie went on to become the highest grossing R-rated movie in the United States as of 2018 (It made more money than Deadpool).
The movie was called “Passion of the Christ”. Let’s skip to a few years later. I’m fresh out of university with a business degree. By then, people were telling me to ‘find my passion’ or ‘find something to be passionate about’ so I could have a happy life.
I was confused because I didn’t connect the torture or humiliation in the movie to happiness. In my confusion, I asked them what they meant by passion.
Here were some of their answers:
- “Finding your passion means finding something you want to do, that you enjoy and will make you happy doing it”
- “Passion is this strong emotion you get when you find that thing that is meant for you.”
- “Having passion over something is like when you become uncontrollable over something”
Wow, I thought, could I ever feel that way as an accounting major? Still curious, I decided to do a little research on the meaning of passion and found that my peers’ and my idea of passion were both wrong.
The root word of passion, patior, means to suffer, but the modern definition of the word is “an intense desire”. What does this mean?
For one it means passion is not inner energy, and it definitely is not joy or fulfillment. Getting joy and fulfillment is fundamentally different from finding your passion.
Passion comes from purpose. Joy and fulfillment comes from the result of taking meaningful action.
Having passion isn’t the same as having something you’ll enjoy to do that finally makes you happy.
With that said, the people that are telling you to ‘find your passion’ are giving you horrible advice. Using their definition, my passion would probably be eating aburi sushi in Vancouver.
Unfortunately, “I have a passion for the consumption of torched raw fish on rice” isn’t usually the answer most employers look for.
I am sure they are good people, but if you spend your life searching for the passion they describe, it gets worse:
You will die searching for the passion they describe. If you are searching for an activity that you’ll enjoy and makes you happy everyday, you are looking for gratification, not passion.
The Truth: Having passion is having such an intense desire for something that you are willing to suffer greatly for it.
Regarding the movie, I later learned that Christ wanted to achieve his goal so badly that he was willing to die for it.
Are you willing to die? Do you still want passion? Are you willing to look a little deeper to find something you want so badly that even suffering and frustration won’t stop you?
A wise man once said, “finding something you are willing to die for, and then live for it.” If you are willing…Read on.
A Mindset Shift Towards Passion
Understanding passion changes the definition of the passionate life, which makes sense. After all, Steve Jobs was passionate for simplicity, and everything he did, whether he enjoyed it or not moved towards this ideal.
Nelson Mandela was passionate for the freedom, prosperity and health of people. Before he negotiated the end of the apartheid, he served 27 years in prison for having such aspirations. As he was being sentenced to prison, he uttered these famous words:
“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela, April 20, 1964
Mandela centered his passion on an ideal he was prepared to die for. What does this mean for your search for passion?
In order to make an awesome impact, in order to have your greatest achievements, and in order to get the full benefits of having passion, how about developing an ideal worth striving towards? How about having a reason that makes you willing to work harder than anyone else? How about finding that ‘something’ that makes the pain worth it?
The Benefits of Having Passion – Amidst Pain, Hard Work, and Suffering
Some suggest passion is the magic pill that turns you into some sort of superhuman. As soon as you get it you’ll feel no fear. You won’t procrastinate. You’ll be decisive. You’ll immediately be energized to live life on your own terms and stop doubting yourself.
Others say passion is a magnetic magic that makes you feel good and solve all your internal conflicts, psychological problems and make you joyful and successful.
To borrow the words of Charlaine Harris, “my bullshit meter is reading that as ‘false’.” Life isn’t a video game. Finding passion isn’t like gaining a level and unlocking a bunch of new skills.
Passion is cultivated, not attained. More on how to do this later.
But if having passion doesn’t get rid of the pain, hard work and suffering…why is it important?
One word. Grit. Staying passionate through the pain over time builds grit. According to Angela Duckworth, a Psychology Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, grit is “a combination of passion and perseverance for long-term goals”. While talent is a factor, grit plays a much larger role in success.
I won’t give you a list of ‘20 surprising benefits of passion’. Grit makes passion worth having.
If you are striving to be significant and striving to make an impact, chances are your life is a series of challenges increasing in difficulty. Your life now is more challenging now than when you were a kid.
This is also why as you get older, you see more people that give up to settle for their current circumstances. Some people don’t have the grit to improve their lives. Maximizing life is hard work.
Just go ask a child about their dreams and they can go on for days, but if you’re a 25-year old accountant that hates your job? The same question might make you sad (sorry if this is you).
Oh, and if you think starting a family will make life easier…just ask around (although a family does come with its unique joys). For some of us, all of these factors are complicated by the expectations of others, and our own internal burdens.
However, if there is one characteristic you can acquire that will help you overcome these mountains one at a time, it’s grit.
As you set your mind towards grit, you’ll realize that every time you work hard, you get better whether you succeed or fail. Every time you get ridiculed, you get tougher. For all the suffering you come out from, you realize you can now help others that are going through the hell you came out from.
I speak from experience and I’m sure some of you understand as well.
Grit is not a quick fix, but over time you will worry less, be more self-aware, give it your all and learn how to move forward. You will develop what Stanford Professor Carol Dweck calls the growth mindset in her book.
Want to know the best part?
Having passion develops your ability to solve problems, so that one day you will no longer be the victim.
We will never have a life without problems, but we can get better at reacting to internal frustrations and external circumstances. To paraphrase Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow, if you are better equipped to deal with the reality around you and you can better control your consciousness, your quality of life will improve.
I hope you are here to improve your quality of life. After all, aren’t you reading this because you want to know how to bring your life closer to what you hope it to be?
The path to a meaningful, productive life is starts with cultivating passion. You do this not by identifying what you want, but by identifying how you can be significant.
How to FindGrow Your Passion
Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do, and then I will tell you exactly what you can do.
I think introspective questions are great. Reflection is great for becoming self-aware. It helps you identify your values and your strengths. However, I don’t think this is how you find your passion. Frankly, if these questions worked my life (and yours) would be much more straightforward.
So if someone asks you questions like “what are you good at” or “what excites you” or “what do you want to be known for”, answer them because these are good questions. If you want a list of such questions, go here. But these aren’t the key to unlocking your passion.
The key to unlocking your passion revolves around only one fact.
If I were you I would open a word document or take out a notebook and get ready to write this down somewhere:
Passion isn’t found in a activity, it is found in identity. You don’t discover passion, you become passionate. By being passionate, you decisively tackle the challenges in our life, and turn them into opportunities to become better.
Borrowing from Dan Lok’s wisdom, instead of doing what you love, how about loving what you do?
So change your mindset right now. In fact, you aren’t and you never have been looking for passion. You’ve always been looking for ways to become a passionate person.
Having a passion for an activity means your passion is limited to that activity. Being a passionate person means you can infuse passion in all that you do.
So how do you become passionate? I want you to do a simple exercise.
Stand up, go to your bathroom, look yourself in the eye, smile, and say: I am passionate in all that I do. Go do it now.
There are two possible reactions: you either feel like a fraud or you don’t. I am betting that if you are still ‘finding your passion’ you probably felt like you were lying to yourself.
The key to becoming passionate is to start changing that limiting belief you have for yourself. After all, have you ever met a person with passion that isn’t passionate? If you want to be a different person then you need to have a different identity.
Don’t fake it until you make it, but make genuinely powerful change. You can achieve this by networking with passionate people and seeing what is possible. You can also achieve this by recreating yourself spiritually by exploring faith and the belief in a higher power.
If you can find good enough reason, you will commit. Simon Sinek calls this finding your why.
No matter which route you go I want to give you something specific and actionable today.
So here 5-steps you can repeat daily to eventually remove your limiting beliefs:
- Sit down with yourself. Get rid of all distractions. Put your phone away and lock the door, or go to a park by yourself in the day. Clear your mind of your to do list and the demands placed on you by others. If you are a person of faith you can turn the following into a prayer.
- Be honest with yourself. Acknowledge that there are things in your life you are frustrated with and acknowledge that you aren’t living up to your own expectations. Feel the pain you have because of it.
- Say it out loud to yourself: “I am not living as passionate as I want to be and it is showing in how I work, how I talk to people and how I treat myself. I don’t believe I have passion worth living for.”
- Recite the facts. Acknowledge that your limiting belief is only a belief. Understand the fact that you can be passionate in your life and that for your own future you are willing to give it your all because you want the ability to overcome
- Say it out loud to yourself: “I no longer believe in my own incapability, but instead I am empowered by the limitless possibility within me. Passion is my identity and progress is all I want to see.” Take a few deep breaths.
- Make decisions and take action based on your new identity. What would you do boldly as a passionate person? Go do it. Don’t worry about yesterday or today. Tomorrow is a new day, and it will be an incredible day because you’ve decided to feel good by taking action that will make people remember you for the value you added to their lives.
- Take action, and make it deliberate and passionate. Do something to improve your relationships, to improve your work conditions, to improve your spiritual life, to improve yourself.
- Repeat daily (it will snowball) until you are no longer a victim in your own life.
There’s urgency for passionate living. We usually don’t fully grasp the urgency until we realize our mortality. You only have so much time on this planet to make a difference before you leave it. So make the time count.
You have to work harder on yourself than on your job. By improving yourself, you will be more productive at work and in your relationships. If you infuse yourself with the passion to become better, everything you commit to mastery moves you forward. Couple this with a compelling vision for your future and you will be well on your way.
Don’t improve yourself because you feel inferior. Improve yourself because you deserve to be better. Become someone with enough self-love to say no short-term gratification or temptations and yes to long-term self-respect. Be excited for the life you are living and the future you will create for yourself.
It’s great to be passionate but you might not stay passionate, which is why the next section exists.
Dealing With Our Self-Sabotaging Excuses
As a fellow human being, we can’t help but come up with excuses. These excuses make our lives easier today but our future selves will regret it.
Here are a few common ones:
- I need the money from my job so I’m too busy to pursue my passion
My response: Don’t quit your job. If you need the money, keep the job. However, keep the job knowing that you are sacrificing your passion. Don’t feel bad or be guilty about it. Rather, use this understanding as the fuel to work towards having freedom. Not total freedom, but incremental freedom one moment at a time.
Take 5 minutes out of your day and ask yourself this question: how can I have another 5 minutes a day to think about how I can improve my life? Work towards taking the first step. Action is what matters.
- I’m not good enough at anything to be passionate
My response: Does this mean that you would be passionate for something you’re good at? Yes? Then get good at something. After all, getting good would make you passionate, right? Rather than being good, be passionate about getting good. Start now.
As long as you believe you’re too inferior to start, you will not start. If you believe this for the rest of your life, passion would have escaped you. So start, the work is worth it.
- I’m not really passionate about anything so I’m going to wait
My response: Waiting changes nothing. The more you wait, the further behind you will be. The good news is you are never too far behind to start living your own life well. Get out there. Take risks. Be vulnerable.
Not being passionate about anything comes from a lack of experience or relationships. It can also come when we’ve desensitized ourselves from the environment around us. Regardless, this mindset is passive and simply won’t get you where you want to be.
- I can’t commit, I give up easily so it isn’t even worth trying
My response: 1% might be far from 100%, but it is still infinitely bigger than 0. Now imagine if you were passionate about what you started. Do you think you would do better than 1%? If you do, then there’s all the reason in the world to start. I’m sure you can at least do 2%, which is infinitely better than 0 and double 1%.
The commitment will come when you see progress. To see progress, set clear and incremental goals that you can achieve. I look forward to learning about your progress.
- I am afraid of being different, and failing again and again
My response: You’ll always be different from somebody. It just depends on the crowd you identify yourself with. So maybe it is time to search out a new group of people where you are accepted for being a passionate person in pursuit of something great.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘fail forward’. In school, it’s cheating to ask somebody for the answers and retests are rare so we feel powerless when we fail. In real life, asking someone for the answers is called being smart and you can try as many times as you like.
- I want to change, but I don’t even know where to start
My response: Start with this blog. I make sure at the end of every blog post to tell my readers how they can take action. Most of us want to create a better future, and I believe if we are shown exactly how to do it, we will.
So after reading this article, the first thing you can do is subscribe to my email list and start building some of the habits of success that will bring you what you want in your life.
What my passion is and how I found it:
Contrary to what you might be thinking, blogging is not my passion. However, I have the passion for blogging because I am passionate about the future it will create for the people I get to impact, and also myself.
You can read about my story in the about section of this website. What I want to tell you is the steps I took to become more and more passionate every week.
- I adopted a mindset of capability. By watching videos, reading books and learning about success stories, I realized that human potential is much more powerful than I thought it out to be. From entrepreneurs that are building schools in Africa to 17-year olds with six figure incomes as freelancers, I learned that it was possible.
That’s all I needed to see. Once I saw them to pursue their passion so successfully, I knew I could find a way.
- I started modeling success. People aren’t born successful. Somewhere along the way, they adopted the mindset, habits and skills to be successful. I started thinking about how different successful people lived their lives. I wanted to replicate their lives. As Jim Rohn liked to say, “Success leaves clues.”
- I focused on progress, not perfection. I made sure I moved myself forward at least 1% every day. Sure there were days when I didn’t feel like it. But even in those days I put on a podcast and kept my commitment to myself to become better.
I understood that I was in it for the long haul and that being in it for the long haul wasn’t a reason to procrastinate anything, so I took action.
- I invested in myself. We pay in one form or another, either with our time or our money. The older I get, the more I realize that time is much more valuable than money. I was lucky in that I saved up enough money to invest at an early age, and I am using the dividends from my stock investments to fund my personal growth and this website.
- Most importantly, I give back. Whether this is in the form of money, time, or advice, I give back. Giving back lets us taste a whole different side to life, the abundant side. It also helps us realize that no matter where we are in life, we are always in a position to give.
We are always in a position to add value to those around us. We can always matter to somebody.
There you have it; those were the 5 steps I took to becoming a more passionate person. I still have areas to grow more passionate in, but I’m sure being a more passionate person day by day will continue to transform my life
If you remember nothing from this article, remember this above all else:
You create your future by the decisions you make today, and the decisions you make today come from the beliefs that you have. So to craft your ideal future: Have better beliefs. Take action, and enjoy the results.
Something great is brewing at lifepluszeal, subscribe to my email to be the first to know what it is!
Take Action: Have an appointment with yourself. Block out 20 minutes of the day and sit there with yourself. Ask yourself the important questions such as ‘why am I here’ or ‘what am I living for’, and then actively go seek out answers.
If you need further motivation to take action, here is some quick advice from 70 other people, and remember to subscribe: