The Passion Myth (with video)

My passion, my life

My life, my passion

Hello my lovelies, today’s topic tackles a subject many of us contemplate; it concerns the notion of doing something we are passionate about in our quest to make a living. How often do we hear the advice to follow our passion? Too much if you ask me. We have many people out there that appear to have ‘found’ their passion, but I’ve never really belonged to that club. I’ve long wondered why and after years of researching this topic, I believe I finally figured out why many of us flail around, unable to claim that we too have ‘found’ our passion. I’ve often experienced this exclusion from the ‘passion’ club sort of as #YouCantSitWithUs mean girl move –Lol!

What are you passionate about?

What are you passionate about?

It’s occurred to me that now since I’m blogging, there might be others out there experiencing similar frustrations about not ‘finding’ this elusive passion. So I thought to share another premise that will help us be kinder to ourselves instead of kicking ourselves for not having our act together, whether it be early or late in the game.

To find or to cultivate, is the question

To find or to cultivate, is the question

The advice to follow one’s passion implies that passion is something that is pre-existing in us and we just have to turn it into a job or find a matched job, then we will live perfectly happy and fulfilled lives. Yet this is not the case at all as research shows that the majority of people do not have a pre-existing passion. Many authors are embracing an alternative paradigm that involves the notion of cultivating passion as opposed to ‘finding’ it. This means building passion for your occupation through honing your skills then leveraging these as added value to your work so you can earn the ability to create the lifestyle you want. Far from the fleeting passion-chase, this is a proven way to long-term satisfaction.

#YouCantSitWithUs

#YouCantSitWithUs

Furthermore, what most of us identify as passion is really just an area of interest that could and most likely will change over time. The feeling of excitement about any given idea is often interpreted as passion for that idea. Yet excitement is an emotion that comes and goes; the truth is our interests and passions evolve over time. So what are we supposed to do every time our interests change, pick up and leave, start over? That is hardly practical and in most cases, a recipe for disaster.

Are you in control of your occupational destiny?

Are you in control of your occupational destiny?

While ‘finding’ passion is great and all, there just isn’t any supporting evidence that it exists innately within us waiting to be discovered. Rather, it is developed through hard work. True passion only comes after you’ve put in the time to excel in that field of interest. Once you can leverage your skills to be in control of your occupational destiny, only then can you create the lifestyle you really want, leading to a deeply fulfilling life.

Is finding passion easy or hard?

Is finding passion easy or hard?

‘Find your passion’ makes it sound easy, like a one-step programme; but finding meaning in our work is anything but. I’m trying to find meaning for my blog, and I can assure you it’s not easy or clear-cut. There is self-doubt that I’m not doing a good enough job of it, anxiety that I’m making a fool of myself, fear of appearing ridiculous and naïve, and dread that I’ve outright lost my damn mind!!! But the truth is that blogging is something I always found interesting. Infact, I started my first blog circa 2007–2008 and another one in 2009 both of which I abandoned after a couple of posts because I really couldn’t figure out which direction to take it.

Blogging is an area of interest

Blogging is an area of interest

Now that I’m back on this path, the onus is on me to craft this blog, find my writing voice, and gather a tribe around subjects of shared interests. This is an example of me NOT mysteriously stumbling onto my passion or ‘finding’ my passion. Rather it’s an example of me deciding to focus on an activity I have found engaging enough to hold my interest in the past. And by writing each blog post, I’m cultivating passion for it and improving my craft and horning my skills to a level where I can attain critical mass readership that will allow me to leverage the acquired skillset into a platform that will give me control of my occupational destiny, which translates to freedom to fashion a lifestyle I deem fulfilling for my family and I.

Horning skills

Horning skills

Following your passion is much too vague thus hard to set steps around. Cultivating our passion on the other hand is feasible because we can then start with where we are and see how good we get in our current occupation. Let us also be open to opportunities even in areas that we do not necessarily consider our passion areas. If we can find work that is engaging, we will have no problem developing or cultivating passion for it. If on the other hand we have no interest whatsoever in that area and are unable to develop value-added skills, we can simply pivot to something else that will hold our interest long enough to allow us to develop value-added skills and cultivate passion for the occupation. The key is to seek to cultivate passion and not to follow it.

Be open to opportunities

Be open to opportunities

So instead of walking around thinking ‘I haven’t found my passion yet’, it helps to instead say ‘I haven’t cultivated a passion yet’, the latter type of internal dialogue puts us more in control of our destiny. The only way around it then is to focus on a small number of things/activities and begin the process of narrowing down our interests while perfecting our skills and cultivated our passion for it.

Narrow down areas of interest

Narrow down areas of interest

In summary, passion is not something we stumble upon, so let’s stop waiting to discover our passion. Let’s instead seek masterly over our varied areas of interests in the many different fields and cultivate passion in those chosen fields, then let’s exchange that masterly for freedom to determine our lifestyle and our destiny, all on our own terms.

Create the life you want

Create the life you want

In a follow-up post we could tackle people who do know what they’re passionate about from a young age, my son comes to mind here, or polymaths like me, i.e. people with varied areas of interests. But for the majority of us, we fall in the category we’ve tackled today. We could also look at how one can pivot from one area of interest to another using the already acquired skills from their current station in life.

Just let me know what follow-up topics would interest you in the comment section by simply leaving me a reply. Also let me know if you struggle ‘finding’ your passion, and how you go about deconstructing that search.

Photo credit: Mr. Grey (Amazing Hubby) ||Photo Location: Downtown Hartford, Connecticut USA.

Blouse: Express Women || Skirt: Ann Taylor || Belt: Mango || Shoes: Steve Madden

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2 Comments

  1. Kenya
    February 2, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    I’m 38 years old and this article spoke about everything I’ve struggled with in the past. I had been mislead by the idea of finding my “Passion” for a long time. In the past couple of years I’ve decided to take back my control in this area and take what I’m doing now and maximize it. This year I’m going back to finish my bachelors degree in Healthcare Admin. This will help me climb that corporate ladder so to speak. I’m just taking it one step at a time. However, starting a blog has always been something I wanted to do but I have no idea on the direction. Anyway, I thank you for the post and wish you much success and blessings.

    • Grey Dynasty
      February 2, 2016 / 4:17 pm

      Hi Kenya, until a year ago, this was my lifelong struggle too. I was ashamed that I hadn’t found my passion yet as the years went by. It’s good both you and I have come to the realization that the passion chase is almost mythical, and have thus chosen a more pragmatic approach. My switch came from reading a book by Jeff Goins called The Art of Work. Good for you on going back to uni! And I totally support you starting a blog so you can have several outlets for your creativity. I can do a post on how I started my blog. If that ‘s something you’d be interested in, just let me know and I’ll get on it. Good luck and thank you so much for sharing! Grey

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