I don’t have a passion.

I work as an auditor. I chose a safe major in school which led to a safe career path. I’m good at what I do, but it doesn’t make me feel alive.

Every day I feel a little more anxious because I haven’t found my passion. Four or five nights a week I wake up, without fail, apprehensive and scared.

I worry that I’ll never find my calling. I want to follow my passion, but I don’t know what that is.

What am I doing wrong?

Teachers, leaders, mentors, and family members encourage us to do what we love. The message is everywhere. On television. At Harvard commencement speeches. In Ted Talks. “Do what makes you come alive,” they say.

What if nothing comes to mind?

I don’t have a passion. There isn’t one thing that make me come alive. At least not in the way those public speakers make it sound.

I have a wide variety of interests. I love sports. I enjoy learning and helping others. I find psychology and entrepreneurship fascinating. But I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about any one of those things.

The problem with finding your passions

The educational system

The education system don’t foster students’ passions.

The educational model is the same system that popped up during the industrial revolution. Kids spend the six or seven hours per day in a class room, performing academic drills in math, science, and English.

As a result of this model, we don’t foster children’s natural creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson talked about this in his popular Ted Talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” Robinson believes that we are all born with “immense, natural, creative abilities” which “slip away as we get older.”

Instead of nurturing creative abilities, we devote equal time to specific academic areas every day.

Robinson believes that the educational system is too standardized. He’s right. Everyone learns differently, but school doesn’t foster to these individual differences.

Standardized testing overrules creative activities. Teachers are evaluated based on how many students they can get to pass a test.

Administrators don’t nurture creativity. You can’t measure creativity. You can’t put a number on it. You can’t rank students and pay teachers based on the creative ability of their students.

Students are steered away from their passions

According to Robinson, students are steered away from their passions and interests in the current educational system.

The educational system is a factory learning environment. You plug students into the system, teach them up, and send them on their way. This one size fits all system kills passions.

If an 8 year old kid loves science, they aren’t encouraged to spend more time on science. Instead, they have to take the same classes in equal parts for over a decade of their life.

Then they go to college and focus on what their passionate about (if they haven’t developed a distain for education yet). But they still have to go through 2 years of prerequisites so that they are “well-rounded” citizens.

As a result, children and driven away from their passions by taking a decade and a half of the same classes instead of focusing on what they love.

Dreams Crushed at a Young Age

“You can’t make a living doing that.”

“No one will pay you to paint or play music.”

“There’s too much competition.”

“Be realistic.”

Parents who do this stunt, and even destroy, a child’s growth. It discourages natural curiosity and tells people not to follow their passions because they’re not realistic.

This leads to the wrong focus. Get a safe job so that you can pay the bills. Get a job that is well-paying and well-respected. Parents push their kids to go to medical or law school so that they can have a successful life.

That’s what happened to Eric Reed. Eric was a successful lawyer who had everything you could imagine. He had a fancy house, nice car, and could buy almost anything you could imagine.

But Eric was working crazy hours. I’m talking 12 to 14 hours a day. When Eric wasn’t sleeping he was working. He hardly saw his family and was unfulfilled with life.

Eric did everything that you’re supposed to do. He got a respected job. He could buy anything he wanted. But he still wasn’t happy.

Eric isn’t alone. Many people face this same struggle. I know because I’m facing that struggle. I picked a job that was safe and pays well. But I don’t love it.

Eric broke free from his shackles. He followed his passion and became a travel writer. Now if only I could do that…

Misconception of Passion

Passion is a strong term. For me, starting with passion isn’t a good place to begin. I don’t feel passionate about anything in particular.

I think maybe the word itself is the cause for a lot of anxiety.

So what do I do since I don’t feel like I have a passion?

Pick One Thing and Move in That Direction

What interests you today? For me, it’s writing, entrepreneurship, and psychology. These are areas that I pursue a little every day.

I don’t expect to make money from these interests right now, and that’s okay. Because I enjoy these things already, I don’t need to make money.

Dive Deep in What You Like

What area do you really like? What are you interested in at the moment? Dive deep into that area.

Discover everything you can about that area. Read about it. Talk to people who work in it. Study it. And finally, become that area.

Take music for example. If I become really passionate about music, I would first start to play an instrument and understand music theory.

I would talk to other musicians and get their advice. I would hire a coach or teacher to help me become better. And I would practice every single day.

What if I lose interest?

I talk to other musicians and take lessons for six months. But don’t feel as interested in music as I did before. Now what?

Naturally, I would move on. It’s a simple as that! It’s okay to quit something that you thought you were more interested in at one point in time.

You are searching for your passion (or something like it). Don’t pursue something that you don’t want to do anymore. It isn’t a life sentence. Don’t be afraid to quit.

Move on to the next thing

Move on to whatever interests you next. Pursue this thing until you lose interest. Or continue to pursue it as long as you enjoy it.

It’s okay to quit what you are doing and move on to the next thing. One of two things will happen: you will find what brings you to life or you will add tools to the toolbox for the future.

When you pursue diverse interests, you become proficient in different areas.

Let’s say I’m interested in music for a few months but eventually get bored. I become interested in psychology and marketing. Then I become extremely interested in computers.

After becoming proficient in those areas, I could take all of this knowledge and combine it into one new idea. After all, that’s how many of the great careers or products began.

Doing many things before finding “the one”

One person who’s done a number of things before finding his true calling is Robert Greene.

Robert Greene is the bestselling author of the 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and Mastery. But he didn’t become a best seller overnight.

Greene said that he worked 80 jobs before becoming a best-selling author. He previously worked as a construction worker, screenwriter, and hotel receptionist.

He learned a lot from those jobs. He worked many crappy jobs with crappy people and was able to take everything he learned and make something out of it. This ultimately led to him writing The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction.

That’s what I strive to do

I follow my interests in my free time, working on them a little bit here and there as I can. I pick a path and go down that path as far I want. There will be detours along the way. There already have been. And that’s okay with me.

I don’t get paid for what I’m pursuing right now, and that’s fine.

I don’t make money from writing, but I do it because I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge of researching and writing and expressing my thoughts.

I don’t have a passion. But lately I haven’t been waking up in the middle of the week worrying.

I pursue what interests me in my free time. If these interests amount to something down the road, great! If not, at least I’m doing something I enjoy in my free time and staying productive.

What do you think? Have you found your passion? What did your journey look like?

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63 thoughts on “How you can discover your passion and purpose in life

  1. It’s been there all along. In All, is the motivation to make a difference. But, due to pride, that same difference is what hold us back. Universal Law #NOTHINGMatters

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I haven’t found my passion, either. Recently I have tried to let go of the expectation of finding this so called ‘passion’ and have noticed a subtle shift – life seems to have developed a different depth becoming more interesting and fascinating. I think that maybe I have missed some of what life has offered me by focusing on a perceived ideal rather than experiencing the present moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear! I think we can get caught up too much feeling like we NEED to be passionate about something. Then that ends up taking away from our life. You’re completely right about living in the present moment. I’ve learned how important that is in recent years myself. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Passion is something that develops; it’s a process. When someone asks, What is your passion, they usually mean, what has great meaning in your life. At different points in people’s lives the answer may be nothing. It is the process of developing interests that generally leads to the discovery of a passion or passions. For some, they are content living a life without passion. They may prefer to have consistency or patterning to their life. If this is what makes a person happy, this is a perfect lifestyle. For people that are more interested in growth and development interests typically lead to passions. Many times these passions also help shape purpose in life. This is NOT a judgmental expose; it is simply my observation of the various paths people have chosen in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very interesting, thank you for the insightful comment Jonathan.

      I agree with you that passions can fluxuate for some people, while others may maintain their passion their entire life.

      I agree as well that some people may not have a passion and that is perfectly okay! Other folks feel like they need to follow what they love or would otherwise feel empty if they don’t.

      Thanks again, have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I have read that to find what you are passionate about, think back to when you were a child. What was it that you enjoyed doing? My husband discouraged our son from becoming an artist. My son has tried several courses and each one shut the door in his face after he took the training for it, because he had to work in the hospital first in some other capacity, or they only hired people with experience! So now he delivers food for a take out service in a small college city and is reading, and thinking about writing. He is 32. Some people find their calling late in life. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should do with your own life. I knew when I was a child that I wanted to be a nurse. I was one for 38 years. Then I was a photographer for 2 years, a photojournalist for a small town newspaper and now I am a blogger and write articles. I loved each part of my wandering career and I am 64. Just go for a walk and let your hearet be your guide. Good luck to you!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that story about your son and yourself! It’s all about the journey and where it leads you much like you said. It just takes some of us longer than others. Good luck to your son and yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know plenty of people who are going through what you’re going through, I went through it myself. I honestly don’t think anyone is passionate about one thing. I think all of your passions eventually tie together for you to find your purpose. Take me for example; I love writing, I love doing make-up, and I love listening to people vent & coming up with good advice for them to follow. All of those things brought me to WordPress. I’m okay with not making any money off of reaching someone in a positive & uplifting way. I think the biggest misconception people have about finding their purpose is that they have to be paid to live it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you completely. That’s awesome that you’ve been able to figure out how to thread those things you enjoy together, and now you are pursuing them.

      I think WordPress is a great place to pursue our interests and connect with others who share a similar interest.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I also work in accountancy and have worked in audit and now I work in financial reporting. Since a life changing car accident came along I lost any passion or interest in the area but it allows me to fund the new things I love.

    I facilitate meditation classes before work two days a week and I do yoga at 7am 5 days a week as I am doing a part time yoga teacher training course one weekend a month for the next year.

    In order to make a change or follow your passions when you already have a full time job, the day has to become longer unless you have the money to drop the full time job.

    I think you are following your passion right here on WordPress. You write really well and you post excellent content which will only build a bigger and bigger following which is developing the new path every single day.

    Great post once again!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you were able to recover from that car accident Mike. I think it’s great that you are pursuing yoga further and looking to put yourself in a position to succeed in that area. The first step is taking action and you’re doing that!

      I also agree that the day has to become longer. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with constantly doing something, but I know it will all sort itself out.

      Thank you for the kind words Mike, I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I like this post…I’m a life coach and I run a group helping women find their passion but I recognize how hard this can be as you described in your post…I spent years doing something I hated because I spent a lot of money and about 9 years of school to do it. I thought I liked it going in…started out in psychology, wanted to be life coach or teach psychology…life had other plans and I ended up in social work. I teach women to focus on how they want to FEEL, adding more joy each day, using feelings of joy and expansion to move towards the little things they love and hopefully it will end up leading them toward the big things. If there are major emotional blocks like fear, grief and anger a lot of times those can block feeling passionate about anything and have to work through those before moving forward. I think this was very well-written….my passion is helping other people find theirs so it makes me a little sad when people can’t find theirs because I remember how I felt working long days, on call and not really feeling passion for much of anything. I agree with a comment above; looks like you have found a piece of your passion here- you’re a great writer! Sorry about the rambling 😟

    Like

    1. Wow Aubrey, thank you for sharing! It sounds like you were able to take some of what you learned early on in your life and implement that into your evenutal career as a life coach. That’s awesome!

      I think you touched on a great point. Emotional blocks can really keep you from finding your passion. It’s great that you are able to help others overcome this.

      Thank you for the kind words Aubrey, I really appreciate it!

      P.S. Don’t feel like you are rambling! I love reading comments like this 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post Justin, I enjoyed reading it and it got me thinking about my own passion and purpose.

    For me passion and purpose are two different impetus, my passion is what gives me purpose. I need both, to feel complete. The passion comes from my belief in ‘God’. I hope you don’t run a mile at this statement! I find it a difficult subject to write about since it’s an intensely personal experience but after reflecting on your post that’s definitely how it works for me. The passion comes from the thing I believe in that is much bigger than me in my physical body on planet earth. I don’t worship a godhead figure or follow any one organised religion but I do have a belief system that lights up my entire being. You know that feeling you get when falling in love? I’ve fallen in love with the whole world, and my place within it.

    I have gotten to this point over the last two years, before this I felt very similar to how you have described here.

    With my new found passion I was still drifting a little, feeling completely unsatisfied in my current career. Once I became uplifted by passion, mediocrity was no longer tolerable. I did some soul searching and found a study method that best suited my beliefs to help me find my purpose. How best to use the totality that is me to contribute into the world.

    It doesn’t matter what my beliefs are or if others think they are ‘true’, it’s my own belief in them that counts. Faith, and not blind faith but something I have personally validated and know to be true to the core of my being. A lack of faith caused me to feel how you describe here. My faith has led me to my passion and purpose.

    May you enjoy your journey however it unfolds.

    Love,
    Claire

    (If you are interested, I write about my experiences at http://clarityguides.me)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Clair! I think it’s great that you’ve identified what makes you come to life and makes you feel passionate. I think believing in something bigger than yourself is a thing that helps drive many people to achieve their highest dreams and beyond. It’s great that you have fallen in love with the world and your place in it.

      You have a great attitude about everything, about not letting others damper your beliefs and allowing yourself to be intrinsically motivated by your beliefs. Keep up the good work! I’ll be sure to check out your website 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great passion to have! Being grateful for life and it’s gifts is always a good place to be.

      Thanks for the comment Laurie!

      Like

  9. Insightful post, thank you! I 100% understand that anxious, nagging feeling inside! The recent birth of my son gave me that final push to simply not settle in life, so I threw in the towel as a middle school English/reading teacher and took a giant leap of faith because I know there is something more I am supposed to be doing with my life.I dearly love teaching, but agree with many points you made; our education system is broken and it is hurting not only the children, but driving awesome teachers out of the classroom as well (sad, but true). Anyway, that’s an entire post in and of itself! My passion is helping and supporting others, I have gotten back to writing and working on helping a dear friend re-brand/franchise her Pilates studio; it feels so right, best feeling to have knowing that big things are coming that will help so many people!
    Take care, and thank you for the fantastic work you share (and the blog love)!

    Gratefully,
    Chelsea
    https://insideacrazybrain.wordpress.com/

    Like

    1. I’ve heard many people tell me that having children has that kind of impact on their life. Why do you think that is?

      I agree that many great teachers are driven out of teaching because of the current situation and outlook in the teaching profession.

      It is great to hear that you have found something that makes you feel good. I wish you the best of luck on your friends re-brand/franchising of her pilates studio.

      Thanks for the comment Chelsea!

      Like

  10. This was a great piece, thank you for sharing. I work as a receptionist and to be as honest as I possibly can, it bores me. You have no idea how much I dread work but it pays the bills right? I have worked other jobs before in the administration department but my true passion has always been I.T. When I finished school my sister suggested that I study Secretarial because chances of landing a job were higher as soon as I completed the programme. Why didn’t I study I.T? Because I didn’t have much of a say to that decision and my parents could not afford to take me for that programme and to this day I feel all shades of miserable for not being able to pursue my passion. I also have a passion for counselling; choreography and writing (obviously) and writing is one of the reasons why I decided to start a blog. I hope some day soon I will find a way to follow my other passions and live not so miserably ever after.
    It’s a shame I grew up at a time where pursuing what you really wanted to do was not an option. My daughter will be lucky because I will make sure she goes for what makes her “feel alive.” 🙂

    Like

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you dread your work. It sounds like you are making the most of your situation though, pursuing writing on the side.

      That’s all we really can do at the end of the day! You need your job to pay the bills, but at least you have the opportunity to pursue your passions on the side. Keep progressing and moving forward and make the most of your situation.

      Thanks for the comment. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I stopped on the page…I’m an auditor that likes psychology and entrepreneurship! I’m recently learning my passions and want to figure out a way to align them with all the skills I have to offer. It looks like you’re doing well with your writing. I may have to check in here more frequently and watch your similar journey. Good luck!

    Like

  12. Justin, you’re a really good writer. Stay with it! Also, just yesterday I heard an amazing interview with Bronnie Ware who talks about this very concept (finding what you love) near the end of the interview (but the whole thing is terrific). Check it out: http://www.goodlifeproject.com/bronnie-ware/?t=radio
    If you haven’t heard of Good Life Project (founder Jonathan Fields) you’re in for a treat!

    Like

    1. Thanks you for the kind words, I really appreciate it! Also I want to thank you for sharing this interview and website with me. I’ll be sure to check them out today!

      Like

  13. Firstly, I’d like to thank you for stopping by my page and for liking my post! Secondly, thank you very much for sharing this. I have been stuck in what has been famously coined as a “quarter-life” crisis for some time now. During my time in my undergraduate program, I worked several jobs (simultaneously) to stay afloat. Working took up a lot of my time and I thus missed out on the opportunity to become more involved in school and/or volunteer. Despite my educational credentials, due to the lack of practical experience, I have not been able to secure employment in my field of study and it has been frustrating to say the least. That is my current situation in a nut shell. I am persistent however, and extremely determined to reconcile my worlds; work-life with my passion. As you have read, I am still on my journey; so I unfortunately do not have a finished result to share. But stay tuned for what’s to come! Similarly, I will do the same. Looking forward to your future posts!

    Like

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your employment situation, but it sounds like you have a great attitude about the whole thing!

      I wish you the best of luck on your journey and I look forward to following along. Have a great day!

      Like

    1. It’s funny that you mention multipotentiality because I just watched her Ted talk a couple of weeks ago!

      I really enjoyed it and loved the message that she was sending. That talk was one of a few things that encouraged me to write this article.

      I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I can’t be contained to just doing one thing. There is so much out there to discover!

      Thanks for the comment Char, have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I think passion is a road with many twists and turns. I don’t think leaving one interest to pursue another as stopping, rather it is part of the flow of the path of life that ultimately creates a multidimensional human.

    Like

    1. Great point! I like the idea that it’s not about stopping, but about the different paths you take. Thanks for the comment, have a great day!

      Like

  15. I think it important to give a little feed back to help and let the person know you really ARE listening. You’re body language is critical! But generally,yes! You have to listen to assess their dilemma! An excellent work, well organized, many valid arguments! A read well worth consuming!

    Like

  16. Another great post. I feel you have got this exactly right. I for a long time worried about and struggled to find my passion. Eventually I decided to look back to my childhood and remember the things I enjoyed then. I wrote a list and started doing them one by one. I moved on if they stopped interesting me and carried on if they did.

    I still don’t feel I have a passion as such – like you say it’s a very strong word. I think personally it’s more about the journey than the destination and that we should just live in the present moment – easier said than done I know! X

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing! I think it’s cool that you made a list of things you enjoyed from childhood and started doing them.

      As adults, we forget those things that we used to do before we had to worry about work, money, and life in general. I think it’s great you went back to your roots.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for reading (and liking) my article, Life Purpose, Do I Have One? How to Find it. Sometimes the word passion scares us off. It’s such a strong emotion. I believe that simply feeling right – like the real me – identifies my purpose in life. Sometimes the “real me” emotion is strong, as in passion, but other times it’s just a mild feeling of all being right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that idea! It shifts the perspective around and makes it not quite as daunting and strong as the word passion.

      Thanks for the content Jerry!

      Like

  18. Enjoyed this. Being analytical, I find it easy to follow your well ordered writing style.

    I found my passion and purpose years ago – then lost it. Long story I’ll probably write up some time. After losing I spent time trying to find it again. It’s been a fun and inspirational journey.

    Thanks for sharing this, Justin!

    Like

  19. I worked for CRA for 33 years and understand auditing well. I suggest two things that I do or attempt to do. CYA – Change your attitude – even changing a flat tire in a snow storm is better with the right attitude. #2- do new things, stretch your experience and potential by attempting what are uncertain you can achieve. I have been a Toastmaster for 9 years, visit a club as a guest (it’s free to visit )and meet others like yourself that are pushing their boundaries. I look forward to hearing about your club experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree completely about attitude. When I first started out I had a bad attitude and it permeated throughout my life. Now I have a better attitude and I’m in a better place mentally as well.

      I’ll have to look into Toastmasters, it sounds interesting.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Following a passion can lead to great unhappiness, like falling in love with the wrong person. Don’t let it dominate your judgment or your instincts. Coach Jerry puts us on a safer track with Purpose – assuming we all want a “good” purpose and don’t get corrupted by power, pleasure, anxiety or – passion. Courage and good luck help in life, I think, and they don’t always come together.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Until I found my purpose, nothing I did had much passion to it. What is my purpose? Raising my son. I won’t be a millionaire doing that but I will have purpose. Now that I have a purpose, my perspective is set in such a way that everything I do has some sort of passion in it. If what I am doing does not align itself with my purpose, then I don’t do it; no matter how much I may perceive enjoyment from it. A purpose driven life will fuel your passion. Thanks for your post, I really enjoy your blog!

    Like

    1. That’s a great point!

      I’ve noticed many people seem to have a newfound purpose after having children. I don’t have any kids myself (yet), but I could see how this would change your purpose in life. I also like how you mentioned that if what you are doing doesn’t align with your purpose then you don’t do it. It really helps keeps things in perspective.

      Thanks for the insightful comment, have a great New Years!

      Like

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