How to Find Your Life Passion in 5 Easy Steps
Passion is what drives us. When we feel stuck in our lives, we can count on our passions to pull us out of our ruts and inspire us to move forward. If you want to know how to find your life passion, you need to start by looking at what makes you spring up (rather than fall) out of bed in the morning.
Life seems to place so many demands on our time that it can be difficult to even think about finding time for a passion. However, as you will soon see, learning how to find your life passion is easier than you might think. Your passion may even be hiding in plain sight!
We know that people with meaningful and purposeful passions live happy and more fulfilled lives. However, the trick is understanding how to find your life purpose and passion. This is not always easy, and you could spend a large chunk of your life searching.
To help with this, let’s dive into these five easy steps for how to find your life passion!
#1. How to Find Your Life Passion: Understand Meaning and Purpose
If you are wondering how to find your life passion, the first step is to understand the role meaning and purpose play in your life. Without an understanding of meaning and purpose, it is very easy to just go through the motions in your life. This leads to a feeling that your life has no purpose or direction.
People who have a life passion (or passions) find a deep sense of meaning and purpose in what they do. They understand how to find things they love that make them feel like they are making a lasting difference in the world. Passion, meaning, and purpose are three key ingredients for a life of wellbeing and happiness.
- Simply put, having passion in life means that you have a strong desire to do something.
- You are intrinsically motivated to engage in the things that you are passionate about.
- You don’t feel like you need any sort of reward to do these things. Just simply engaging in your passions is reward enough.
- Meaning is the emotional connection we attach to the things that we do.
- If you ask yourself “why do I do what I do?”, the answer will be the meaning behind your actions.
- If you can’t answer why you do what you do, the odds are what you are doing is not very meaningful to you!
- Your purpose is the sum of all the meaningful things that you do in your life.
- What you believe to be your purpose will be the actions you take throughout your life that you believe have a meaningful impact on the world and those around you.
If you are wondering how to find your life passion, you need to first understand the relationship between meaning, purpose, and passion. You need to think about how these three work together to show up in your life.
If you have a strong emotional connection to an activity or a way of being, you will find great meaning in it. These are the types of things that you feel naturally passionate about. Knowing which activities make you feel this way will be the first step in how to find your life passion. If you can’t think of any right now, don’t worry! Things will start to jump out at you as you read on!
#2. Beware of Obsessive Passions!
We know that being passionate helps us live happier lives. However, it is important to think about what you are passionate about if you want to know how to find your life passion.
We are sent confusing messages about what we should be passionate about every day. Corporations are quick to step in and present desirable products that we can attach meaning and purpose to. There is a certain appeal to these products that makes us think they will change our lives.
Commercials and advertisements show people finding great meaning and purpose in different material things. However, the reality is, most things that you can buy will not give your life a deep sense of purpose. It is possible to be passionate about your possessions, but this can be dangerous. It is sometimes difficult to separate a deep emotional connection from a compulsive need to buy things.
In order to explain this point, let’s look at two different types of passions: obsessive and harmonious passions.
How NOT to Find Your Life Passion: Obsessive Passions
Passions that are obsessive are extrinsically motivated. These are passions that we find in things or material objects. For example, throughout my life I have been passionate about collecting comic books, vinyl records, and classic video games.
However, if we aren’t careful, these types of passions can become unmanageable and all controlling. It is very easy to fall into the trap of buying more things when we feel as though they bring us meaning and purpose in our lives.
These types of passions tend to be fleeting. When we make a purchase, dopamine in our body sends off pleasure signals. This is the same feeling we get when we anticipate a reward. However, these feelings don’t tend to last or make any sort of permanent impression on our wellbeing.
When we tangle our meaning, purpose, and passions up with material things, we convince ourselves that our passion for objects is deeply connected to our purpose and meaning in life. These types of passions feel like a thirst that just can’t be quenched.
Corporations capitalize off of these passions very easily. First, they convince you that you have a need for their product. Next, they make you wait for it so that by the time it is available, you will rush out and buy it without question. The final step in the cycle is to improve upon the product and make you feel insecure about the one you already have so that you buy the newest one.
We see this practically everywhere in marketing. The endless cycle of new iPhones is a prime example!
As it turns out, obsessive passions also tend to be associated with anxiety and depression. This makes sense since they drive us to compromise healthy values like saving money and managing our time responsibly.
So, if you shouldn’t look to your stuff when looking for how to find your life passion, where should you look?
How to Find Your Life Passion: Harmonious Passions
By contrast, harmonious passions are intrinsically motivated. Unlike obsessive passions, these are the types of passions that do not require material objects (or require very few).
Harmonious passions bring harmony to our lives. They build self-confidence and encourage mastery over ourselves and our skills. These are the passions that help us fight feelings of anxiety and depression. Harmonious passions help us connect with ourselves and the purpose we hold for ourselves and our lives. They also help us find happiness within ourselves, rather than looking outward for happiness.
For example, one harmonious passion I have in my life is art and music. I love to create and design. If you give me a canvas or a guitar, I can lose myself in a piece for hours on end, without regard for my responsibilities.
Now, while this may sound similar to an obsessive passion, there is a key distinction. When I create, I do so solely for the purpose of creative expression and connecting with myself on a spiritual level. I don’t do it to make money or to get attention. This passion also doesn’t require me to spend lots of money or keep up with the newest doo-dad. I do it because I am passionate about it, it helps me feel connected to myself, and it makes my soul happy.
Harmonious passions are often difficult to pursue. The world tells us that they aren’t worth our time, mostly because they feel pointless. They often don’t make money, and they aren’t intended to produce any sort of result. However, they produce happiness within ourselves, and this is perhaps the most important result above all, isn’t it!?
Take a moment to think about something you enjoy doing that really has no purpose aside from making you feel good. Some common examples that come to mind are:
- Gardening for the sake of gardening (not to please your neighbors!)
- Creative writing (not for the purpose of selling your work)
- Scrapbooking (or arranging photos of experiences from throughout your life that bring you joy)
If you are looking for how to find your life passion, try to engage in your harmonious passions while being aware of the power your obsessive passions can have.
#3. Find Your Ikigai: The True Secret of How to Find Your Life Purpose and Passion
Wait, icky-what? While it sounds like a word you would use to describe a man who is unclean (ie. an “icky-guy”), it turns out that the concept of ikigai holds the key to how to find your life purpose and passion.
The word ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) is a Japanese term that refers to having a direction or purpose for your life. The term is also used to describe one’s reason for being. The word ikigai comes from the terms iki (meaning ‘alive’) and kai (meaning ‘realization of hope and expectations’).
While it sounds complicated, the idea behind finding your ikigai is quite simple. Find the passions, meaning, and purpose that give you a reason to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Finding Your Ikigai
So, how do you find this mysterious icky-guy? It turns out that it is pretty easy!
Consider the following image:
Four circles make up this figure, each representing one essential component of life (for the purposes of this post, I won’t debate whether or not money is essential).
- Love: what do you love?
- Needs: what does the world need?
- Money: what can you be paid for?
- Skills: what are you good at, or what can you provide?
Each of these circles intersects with one another in a very sweet spot in the centre of the figure. This centre is the ikigai.
The ikigai is the intersection of your passions, your talents, your ability to help others, and your ability to be paid to do so. The idea is that if you can do something in your life that combines your passions and talents while also helping others and being compensated in some way, you will have found your ikigai. Your reason for being, or your direction and purpose for your life.
It is a simple, yet very powerful idea.
Take a moment to study the diagram above. What do you love? Can you use your skills to help change the world for the better? And can you make money doing it? If you can find something that fits into the centre of the diagram, you have found your ikigai. This may be the most powerful and effective strategy for how to find your life passion.
#4. Quit A Job You Hate, Find a Job You Love
You spend a large portion of your time at work. So if you want to know how to find your life passion, it makes sense to take a long hard look at your job!
Do you love what you do? Does your work make you want to fly out of bed and rush out the door? Or does every day feel like you are stuck in your life in one big long horrible Monday?
With an understanding of the ikigai, it is now easier to understand how to find your life passion in the work that you do. It is very, very easy to spend your life being stuck in a job that you aren’t passionate about. But, it is also possible to find meaning and purpose in the work you do. And with meaning and purpose comes the potential for passion. If you can find work that you are passionate about and makes a difference in the world, you are right in that sweet centre spot of the ikigai diagram!
With an understanding of my ikigai, I was able to quit my teaching job to find a job I am much more passionate about. I can now say with confidence that quitting teaching was the best thing I ever did!
If you aren’t passionate about your work, it may be time to start building up the courage to quit your job and start looking for one that fits into your intersection of interests. With the ikigai diagram you now have a tool that you can use to show exactly how to find your life passion!
#5. Change Your Mindset
One of the easiest ways for you to learn how to find your life passion is to accept that you may have already found it. Sounds like a cop-out, right? Hear me out.
It is so easy to go through your life wanting more and feeling discontent for the things that you have. This is especially true if you find yourself in a job that you do not enjoy.
It is easy to complain about how bad things are, and to shy away from obstacles and challenges.
However, taking this approach is not how to find your life passion. Instead, this will lead to you feeling unsatisfied and stuck in your life.
Instead, consider working toward developing a strong growth mindset. A growth mindset is a way of thinking that involves reframing the way you see struggle and challenge in your life. Instead of seeing obstacles as barriers, a growth mindset sees struggle as opportunity for growth.
There are many benefits of applying a growth mindset that Carol Dweck explains in her excellent book Mindset. If you don’t have the time to read this transformative book, check out our 5 key takeaways from Carol Dweck’s Mindset.
When we look at our setbacks through the lens of a growth mindset, all of the things we once found ourselves complaining about become stepping stones that bring us closer to our passions. With a growth mindset, you will find yourself mastering challenge after challenge.
Before long, you will find a new sense of purpose and meaning in whatever it is you are doing. Obstacles that used to be barriers will become exciting challenges to conquer. You will find yourself becoming passionate about growing and mastering new skills.
This can be a difficult thing to do. But, just by choosing gratitude for the opportunities you have right now, you will start to see that more and more of these opportunities already exist in your life!
If you find yourself struggling when facing challenges, use these motivational quotes on growth mindset to remind you of the power a growth mindset has.
Make the Choice
As with any internal personal quest, knowing how to find your life passion involves looking in the mirror. Only you can decide what you find to be meaningful and purposeful passions.
There is a quote from George Bernard Shaw that reminds me of the power of choice in shaping our destiny: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
It is easy to go through the motions in life and live devoid of passion and meaning – many people do it. However, we deserve more for our lives. If you need some inspiration, there are plenty of good books on purpose that can help steer you in the right direction.
We all deserve to wake up with a fire in our soul that drives us to do great things and make the world a better place. This starts with finding your passion.
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who could use some help finding their life passion, this post could be what they need to help them with their search!