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How to find your passion in life

We all have to make a living some way or another, right? Wouldn’t it be amazing if what we did for a living was our passion, something we enjoyed so much, it didn’t even feel like work? That would be living the dream, but unfortunately the reality is that most of us are simply working in order to get by, and not particularly loving what we do to be able to pay the bills.

Most of us dream about following our heart’s desire, living our best life, finding our passion. The funny thing is, when most people are asked what exactly their passion in life is, they have no idea – and often, no clue as to how to go about to find out what it is.

Here are some interesting guidelines you could explore in order to find out what it is that you are truly passionate about in life: 

1. Figure out what your passion is not

Starting out, it is important that you are clear on what it is that you absolutely do not enjoy doing, or what you consider yourself to be mediocre at. Listing the things that you hate doing (crunching numbers, managing people, sticking to the same routine) could be very useful in highlighting the things that you do enjoy.

2. Ask yourself – “what did I love doing most as a child?”

Young children don’t yet have all the self-doubts and insecurities we tend to pick up along the way to adulthood. Perhaps you loved spending time with animals, or painting, dancing, baking or telling stories. Whatever it was, it can be a good indication of what your natural inclination is for things that bring you joy and fulfilment. Other useful questions are: “What could I do all day long if I didn’t have to earn a salary doing what I am at the moment?” and “What topic could I read a hundred books on without getting bored?”

3. Take small steps toward things that bring you joy

Once you’ve figured out what it is that brings you joy, it’s time to put measures in place that will allow you to do those things regularly. For instance, if you figured out that performing is something you love doing, it is time to start looking for an amateur drama company in your area, or an improv collective to join. 

This goes for whatever activity you’ve identified: Love writing? Join a writers’ group. Passionate about food? Sign up for a weekend culinary workshop. Want to work with animals? Start volunteering at an animal shelter near you. The domino effect will soon kick in – once you actively start pursuing your passion, you will meet other like-minded people and opportunities to learn and grow will organically arise. Once you’ve identified your passion, it’s all about taking that first step.

4. Give yourself some thought

Seriously. When last did you think, really think, about yourself? We tend to scrutinise other people and the things they do and say in minute detail, but we often tend to overlook ourselves and our motivations. People are complex creatures, each with a myriad of unique factors that shape them into who they are, so why would you consider yourself to be any different?

Examining yourself, your childhood experiences, your educational opportunities, your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as your assumptions about yourself, can be incredibly valuable in figuring out who you really are and what it is you love to do. Chatting to a guidance counselor or therapist can help you a lot on this journey of self-discovery.

5. Pay it forward

You know the saying “it is better to give than to receive”? Turns out that there really is something to that old cliché. Numerous studies have shown that the happiest people are those who donated to charities or volunteered their time to worthy causes. One 2012 study even found that people who volunteered for unselfish reasons lived longer. 

Once you have figured out your own passion, the next step is to help others do the same. Just imagine the positive impact if more people walked this earth feeling happy, fulfilled and aligned with their purpose. We are all here for a reason – and part of our life purpose is to figure out what exactly that reason is. 

You can help others find their purpose in life just by sharing your own journey towards fulfilment, or you can share the skills you’ve acquired along your way. You can do this by hosting workshops and offering training to others, volunteering your skills and time or donating to worthy causes where possible.

Here is an interesting video offering some practical tips on how to go about finding your passion in life:

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