hen was the last time someone told you to keep searching for your passion, and how only after you find your passion will you be able to live a full life filled with happiness and fulfillment? I bet it was yesterday. Maybe no one told you, but you’ve read about it on a website. Or, perhaps, you were watching a TV show, and one esteemed guest was talking about how their life has never been the same since the day they discovered their passion. Well, where the heck is this passion? It turns out it’s not there. I mean, it’s not out there for you to find. There, I said it. Your passion is not out there. Now let’s wait together for the world to collapse. I’m just kidding. It won’t. Read on, and you shall see.
What Is Passion?
There’s this overwhelmingly idea today that following your passion is the only way to live. Sounds good, and I agree with it. The problem I’m having with this idea that life is meaningless unless you find your passion is that it turns searching for passion into a life goal in and of itself.
I believe most people view it that way because somehow passion has transmuted itself into a different concept. It’s almost like a thing.
You hear people talking about searching for passion using a similar lingo as they do when talking about finding their next best job.
I think this way of seeing things comes from a misunderstanding of what passion is.
What if I told you that passion is pain and suffering? It sounds weird because passion is supposed to fill your life with joy and amazement and leave you on your deathbed fulfilled and satisfied. But it wasn’t always like that.
Much like those Valentine’s Day greeting cards with pink hearts didn’t embody love and adoration until somebody said they would, passion didn’t mean what you think for a very long time.
Have you seen the movie, The Passion of the Christ? Yeah, I know. Mel Gibson is an ass, but that’s beside the point. The title of that movie points to the historical meaning of the word passion.
How Passion Started
In Latin, the word pati means to endure, undergo, or experience, and it was used to express “that which must be endured.” Later, as Latin evolved, the word morphed to passionem, which meant suffering or enduring.
In theological texts, the word was borrowed and converted into the phrase “Christ’s Passion,” meaning the suffering of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.
It was only much later, in the early 13th century, that the word passion started to be used not only exclusively as the suffering of Christ but as the suffering of martyrs in general. By the mid 13th century, the word passion began to be used as meaning “disease, ailment, affliction,” but also “emotion, desire, inclination, feeling.”
Back in those days, there was a connection between pain and suffering and the idea of spiritual ascend. After all, Christ himself is said to have arisen from the death shortly after his crucifixion.
Passion then began to expand as a concept and, although it never lost its core connection to pain and suffering, it got a new dimension as in desired pain and suffering, or pain and suffering with a purpose.
Not surprisingly, in the late 15th century, the word started to get its better-known today connotation of “sexual love.” Passion not only depicted the feeling that a person gets but, most importantly, the object of that feeling.
I believe this is where things started to get messed up, which is how they usually get as soon as genitals get involved.
Passion as a Feeling
Jokes aside, I think that the sexual connotation of the word passion is the best way to describe what passion really is. Passion is a feeling.
The passion is not the man or woman you gaze at lustfully. Passion is the way that man or woman makes you feel.
It’s a feeling of loss of self but in a good way. Temporarily it seems like you don’t even care about yourself, and all that matters is the other person. It’s as if you’d do anything for them.
Strange, right? Of course not; we’ve all experienced it a few times since kindergarten and there were loads of pain and suffering that came with it; it was a path riddled with heartache, self-doubt, and questionable decisions. But, in the end, it paid off.
That’s the power of passion when you think of it as a feeling rather than some object you must put on a pedestal. When you view passion as a feeling, it’s empowering. Sometimes it empowers you to do stupid stuff, but that’s okay. Stupid stuff is a part of life, too.
Conversely, when you put “passion” on a pedestal, your life becomes a museum, and, as you probably know, most things inside a museum are dead (no offense to museum workers; I believe you are fantastic).
This is all a mindset shift. Once you accept that passion is a feeling and not something to search for, things will get a little easier on you. After all, you’ve been chasing this damn thing all your life. Because passion is something you feel, you no longer need to find your passion; instead, you need to find something that makes you feel passionate. That, although it sounds very similar, is at least clearer and more down-to-earth.
Why You Struggle to Find Your Passion
You might be shaking your head right now. “No, I haven’t been looking for my passion, thank you very much.”
But you have, mostly subconsciously. Yes, maybe you haven’t sat down with a piece of paper and jotted down three bullet points and the title “Passion” above them. But you’ve always looked for it, one way or another.
Whether or not you’ve tried to find your passion is not as important as the way you feel when passion is missing from your life. Therefore, even if you are not the kind of person who would actively look for passion, you are inevitably the type of individual who senses when passion is missing—that’s because you are human.
That brings me back to my point above, which is that passion is a feeling. When it’s there, you feel it. When it’s not, you don’t feel it, or, better put, you feel the void, the emptiness behind it.
So, herein lies the conundrum: if you feel this emptiness, how could you possibly know what to fill that void with? On top of that very complex question, we load passion with a lot of additional pressure by defining what it means not to have it.
You often hear people saying that living your life without passion is the same as being an incomplete human being or that your life has no meaning whatsoever. First of all, nip that one in the bud right away because it’s false.
Passion in itself is not the end goal. Instead, it’s a byproduct of living an authentic life with an eye on your vision and goals. Phew! That sounds already a lot easier than struggling to find your passion; but, does it work?
Why Passion Is Not The End Goal
Once you accept that passion is not the final destination or the big Wow!, you can move on to do the work you need to allow passion to find you instead.
Buddha once said, “even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” That means that once you forego the fear of your imminent death, you can focus on living your life. Passion is no different.
The more you put pressure on yourself to find your passion, the more that passion will become an illusion. It will be the shimmering oasis at the end of the horizon that seems to farther itself from you with every step.
That also happens because passion as a concept is infinite. There’s no such thing as finding the passion, and then that’s it. Passion grows and expands. It feeds itself through your action and desires.
If your end goal is to find your passion, you’ll forever feel unaccomplished because, with each step, you’ll need a new and bigger passion.
Thinking that way will rob you of actually enjoying the fruits of your passion because you’ll always look for the next one. It turns into a drug, and you become a passion addict. That, I believe, is even worse than not having any passion at all.
So, then, how do you open up space for passion to enter your life without you having to look for it actively?
How To Find Your Passion Without Looking For It
Here are five simple ways to allow passion to appear in your life without actually searching for it.
Be a visionary
Very few things can be achieved in life without a plan. Yeah, you can do some things on a whim or get there through sheer luck, but actual achievement requires a deliberate plan designed with intent. For your life as a whole, that plan is called a vision.
Before thinking about what passion means for you, you need first to define what you want in life and who you want to be. The two are not mutually exclusive but highly complementary. When you look at where you are today and imagine a future you and your future life, you create the base for passion to sprout.
Don’t be afraid to dream and dream big. Dreams create the urgency for passion. They define what passion is without genuinely defining it. Dreams begin to nurture the path for your passion, but you must first create them.
Next, you’ll associate goals with those dreams, which now pave the way toward action.
Your vision and goals are prerequisites for your passion. Define them as soon as possible, and you’ll open the first gate to your passion.
Find your center
The Japanese defined the term “Ikigai,” which means a reason for being. There’s an element of passion in there, but it’s not purely defined as that. Instead, it refers more to living a life with purpose.
That concept brings together four powerful dimensions of your life: what the world needs, what you are good at, what you love, and what you can get paid for.
At the center of those four dimensions lies the Ikigai, or the purpose.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about the “world” or what the “world” needs because not only that it requires a lot, but it’s also a whole lot bigger than most of us can imagine.
That’s why it’s essential to define “your world” and what your world needs. When you map that to the things that you love, you will start to create a powerful connection based on purpose. From there, all you need to do is sharpen your skills to either become good at something or improve something you are already good at.
Last but not least, you will surely find somebody who will pay you for those skills.
When you live your life at that center, you will begin to feel passion creeping in under your skin. It’s inevitable!
Live an intentional life and draw your energy from your vision and mission in life; when you live a purposeful life and you are deeply connected to your WHY, passion is soon to follow.
No matter where you are in your life, there will always be room to grow. That doesn’t mean that you are not enough—you are. Don’t think about it from a limiting perspective or by focusing on what you are not.
Instead, you must look at life as a blank canvas and life’s opportunities as a massive color palette. You get to choose how you use them and paint life the way you want.
To take advantage of those opportunities, though, you must be prepared. Improving your knowledge and wisdom is one way in which you can get yourself ready for those challenges. Keeping your body in motion and working on your health and wellness is another way to keep yourself steady.
When you do so, your self-confidence grows, and so does your ability to leap into new experiences. Those new experiences will be the kindle that will ignite your future passions. Keep it lit at all times and nurture it.
When you work on improving yourself every year, you open up more and more gates for passion. Never stop working on your body, mind, and soul. Keep growing!
The more you improve yourself and life’s opportunities come your way, the more “stuff” will start to pile up around you. Ideas will flood your brain, and there will be so many avenues to take, you might even find yourself stuck. Where to go? What to do?
It’s difficult to feel passion if your life is cluttered by too many conflicting priorities. Put order in your life and the fog will dissipate; then, you’ll be able to see the way.
Work your ass off
Finally, passion spawns from hard work. Maybe you hate that word—hard work. I do, too, sometimes. It sounds corporate and too much of a motivational trap. But, at its core, hard work is a solid concept.
You need to work hard at your job or business. You need to put hard work into your development and in your relationships. That’s why you don’t have to find your passion; you create your passion by doing what you love.
The more effort you put in, the more results you’ll get. Those results will translate into feelings. Your achievements and accomplishments will become emotions.
Those emotions are nothing but the elusive passion, as passion is the fruit of your hard work and will always be.
There is no substitute for hard work—it might be a cliche but it’s as true as it can be. Work relentlessly on what you love and passion will be there beside you.
Live Your Life And Passion Will Come
In the end, I hope I managed to make my point that passion is neither an end goal nor some magical item you need to rummage for your entire life and find in some forgotten corner.
Instead, passion is a byproduct of you living a full life and enjoying that life for what it is. It’s putting work behind your vision and dreams and seeing them through. It’s living in harmony with your environment and connected to your friends and family. It also means being true to who you are and living an authentic life.
Passion is how your life makes you feel, and, therefore, you need to focus on living and creating the life that you want, and passion will follow.
Other Resources On How To Find Your Passion
- How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life
- Instead Of Trying To Find Your Passion, Let Your Passion Find You
- Why You Should Stop Looking For Your Passion (And Let It Find You Instead)
- Screw Finding Your Passion
Now, before you go, I have…
3 Questions For You
- Do you see yourself as a passionate person? Why?
- How do you define passion? Are you actively trying to find your passion?
- What is the one thing you are most passionate about?
Please share your answers in the comments below. Sharing knowledge helps us all improve and get better!
Hi there! I’m Iulian, and I want to thank you for reading my article. There’s a lot more if you stick around. I write about personal development, productivity, fiction writing, and more. Also, I’ve created Self-Growth Journey, a free program that helps you get unstuck and create the beautiful life you deserve. Enjoy!