Professors tell you to follow your passion. Friends tell you to do what you enjoy. Experts, rich people, and great achievers say they found their purpose and then perfected it (with loads of practice). This shouldn’t be that hard except how do I know my passion?
There seems to be this misconception that we each know what we are capable of, good at, and of course what we enjoy but do we? How fast do you run the 100 meters? Could you rob a casino in Las Vegas (Oceans 11 made this a legitimate career)? Can you learn Arabic? I don’t know and I won’t know unless I try these things. Everyone hates guess in check, if you don’t your weird. Here is 5 ways to skip guessing:
- Examine past activities. When you were younger you chose to do what you liked independent of social pressures, future possibilities, and responsibilities. You chose to do things you liked to do. Try and remember these activities they hold clues to what you really enjoy. If you drew pictures than that tells you something. If you moved between things quickly that indicates something to.
- Find similar elements in childhood activities. Look at activities you have enjoyed in the past and try and find similar links. Much like an investor looks to the past to predict the future so should you. Find out if you like high risk activities or if you are risk adverse. Look for degree of group interaction. Look for guidelines and rules or open endedness in activities. Make a list of characteristics of activities you enjoy or have enjoyed.
- Look for Flow. Ever lose track of time or zone everything out while you were doing something? Assuming you were conscious and sober than you may have experienced Flow. Finding Flow is huge. If you experience this sensation, you’ve almost certainly found a passion.
- Consider the Journey. It is unlikely something that you hate now is going to grow to be something you love (this is why I don’t understand arranged marriages). If you hate art than graphic design isn’t going to be your thing. Even if you were famous and getting paid loads to do it (this wouldn’t happen if you hated it but in theory) you would still hate it, it would still be the same type of work. You must find something that you like to do because you like to do it not for some future promise.
- Are you a team player or a master? This is not are you a loner. This means do you like to work independently or rely on a team. This is huge because most people are one way or the other. Find out which way you are and find or develop a work culture that meshes with you.
It is likely that you are still going to have some guessing and checking to do after you limit down your list. But now you are an explorer with a purpose not a lost victim.