I’ll start with the hard questions. What do you most want to achieve before you die? How are you going to use your life? Do you have a long term vision for your life, with focus, goals, and a bucket list?
Since you can only plan on one life, a mere few decades, it makes sense to put it to the best use possible, and that takes some serious planning. Clear goals and some workable strategies seem called for. What will you focus on, and how will you proceed? Choosing well in these areas will make the difference between a warm glow of fulfillment, and the empty chill of disappointment, as you take your exit from life. We all need a passion, a purpose, that one thing that brings meaning to our days, to our life. Let me share some approaches to finding yours.
1. A person who doesn’t have enough challenge in life to occupy their intellect is going to be bored. The cure for boredom is curiosity, and there is no cure for curiosity. If you are trying to discover your passion in life, follow your curiosity. What are you curious about? What do you want to know? What do you want to learn? What problem in the world do you want to solve? What activity or outcome do you care about? There are a million topics in this world that are interesting, and million problems that need solution. There are tens of millions of people who need help. If you haven’t found some topic or problem that captivates you, maybe you haven’t really looked! Try these exercises: read university course catalogues, or even the Dewey decimal system. You will be amazed how many topics of study exist in this world. You will discover how many facets and related areas any one topic has. Surely one of them will appeal to you.
As an illustration, let’s take the topic of vision. Facets and related areas would include, just for starters: the phenomenon of light and its sources, natural and artificial; bulb types and their history; The anatomy and physiology of the eye and brain; disorders of the same and their treatments; Vision in other species, e.g., fish or reptiles; Eyeglasses, lenses, their history and materials, optics; Colors, paint, pigment, and their history; Visual arts, fashion. How 2D pictures give us the illusion of depth, and other optical illusions, misperceptions, etc. Get the idea?
2. It may be that we don’t so much find our passion as much as we remember it. Perhaps it is inside waiting to be rediscovered, uncovered. What interests and inclinations have your ever felt? Where and when have you felt most alive? What beliefs do you have that few people you know also hold?
3. Oliver Emberton, founder of Silktide LTD, gives three ideas for finding your passion in his blog. He writes, “If you haven’t found your passion yet, create new things, lead new trends, and fuse new combinations. But don’t ever stop looking.” See his fascinating essay at http://oliveremberton.com/2014/how-to-find-your-passion/.
I believe that, whether you are looking for your passion as a guide toward merely some satisfying leisure pursuits, or as a path toward creating a significant worldly legacy, it will surely consist fundamentally of you both quietly learning, exploring, and searching and actively doing, going, and practicing. If you would like me to send you some worksheets I have developed to structure your search for your passion, just send me a note through the Appointment tab on my website, www.PaulKChafetz.com. Whether you are 20, 40, 60, or 80 years old, finding your passion can start for you today. Get going!
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.