Okay! Okay! Okay!
Let us confront one simple truth – you and I have heard, said or seen people being obsessed with – “Follow Your Passion”. You might be one of those who gets super excited the minute someone starts talking about how just following the right passion will change your life forever.
As we see, most successful people advocate follow the passion as the source of ultimate success, every entrepreneur is questioned “are you following your passion?” at least once in a day. In fact, You might have questioned yourself, “Am I following what I am passionate about?” umpteen number of times. If you have been to an event or have fumbled upon a motivational talk you cannot miss hearing “follow your passion”.
The challenge I see is, having heard such oversimplified statement you feel extremely excited and turbocharged. However, after a period of time, all your energy seems to fade away. Everything that looked simple and profound now looks confusing.
In the last few years of leading seminars, speaking and coaching I get asked questions about passion several times and all I must say is there is a thin difference between simplified and oversimplified statements. What I have come to believe is that understanding the difference and acting on it becomes the secret sauce to make your vision into reality.
The fact about statements like “Follow Your Passion” is they are oversimplified and if not understood completely, may limit your perspective and perspectives build possibilities and this limited perspective may build limited possibilities.
What could be wrong with a profound statement like “follow your passion?” Let’s look at this from two aspects. One, it presupposes that everyone has a passion that they have already found and two if one has already found his passion he must follow it.
Let us talk about the first aspect “Everyone has found their passion.”- How true can that be? History speaks that many of the world leaders, celebrities, authors found their passion at a later stage of their life after they realized being average at many things that they did. There are also those who found it earlier than others. Yet, there is one commonality in all of them –They were passionate about everything that they did until they found what they really were passionate about. In fact, you do not even have to run after finding your passion. Your passion will find you!
Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘career’ as a Satyagrahi started in South Africa in the first decade of the 20th century when he was in his mid-30s but really took shape with the Champaran agitation in 1918. He was 49 at that time. He went on to dominate the Indian political scene, in person, for the next 30 years and in spirit to date! He did not go to South Africa to find his passion. His passion found him there!
Whether you are a software engineer or someone who wants to become an entrepreneur or want to be a sports person, be passionate about what you are doing until you discover what you are truly passionate about.
Here is my suggestion to all those who are still figuring out what they are passionate about or tell that I do not know what am I passionate about. Ask the following questions:
- What am I extremely good at? (You might be pursuing it as a hobby at this moment)
- What will be the thing that I can work on 24/7 and 7 days a week without getting exhausted?
- What are the things that give me that adrenaline rush?
- What makes me feel come alive?
- Am I willing to do this even if I do not make money out of this soon?
The biggest mistake most people do as they find their passion is to talk themselves out of it. They want to make immediate money out of their passion and that’s exactly why you must answer the fifth question.
Your first step is to do everything that you are doing passionately until you find what you are truly and deeply passionate about. Ask the questions repeatedly until you think you have found your passion or your passion has found you.
The second and most important thing about passion is to pursue it and nurture it and not follow it.
A couple of years back while having an intense conversation with a photographer friend of mine, he shared with me how his life had become uninteresting and how he thinks there is no passion left in his work and life.
While I had always seen him completely involved in his work whenever he was shooting. He would forget to eat and sleep. Had hectic travel schedules and would always give his finest work to his clients. He could do that every day for months together. He had found his passion.
At one moment during the conversation, I paused him to ask as to why he thought there was no passion left in his work. He had no concrete reason. This is exactly what happens with many of us. Passion is not something that needs to be followed but it needs to be nurtured; It needs to be pursued and like any other aspect of our life. If we don’t pursue it, it perishes over time. If you are not in love with your passion today as much as you were on the day you found it, you are going to get sidetracked and feel lost.
In an era where the level of distractions is growing and quick money making schemes are everywhere, it is easy to fall prey to things which give you immediate gratification but not long-term fulfillment. If you are unwilling to pursue your passion and nurture it every day you are in a wrong game!
The passion that is pursued, nurtured and directed well will make you unstoppable!