Everywhere you turn, you’re encouraged to “find your passion”. Society sells us the idea that a fulfilling life is only accessible once we discover this elusive thing called passion. But what if this constant search is steering us astray? What if the pressure to uncover our passion only pushes us further from authentic happiness?
To begin with, the emphasis on finding one’s passion assumes that it is a fixed entity, waiting to be discovered like a treasure buried deep within. This puts an immense amount of pressure on individuals, especially the young, to determine their life’s purpose early on. Faced with this daunting task, many are left feeling inadequate, as if they’re missing out on life’s greatest secret.
Another issue with the idea of locating a single, defining passion is that it negates the fluid nature of our interests and aspirations. As humans, we are constantly evolving. What excites us today may not do so tomorrow. By forcing ourselves into a box, labelled with our so-called passion, we restrict our growth and the potential to explore various facets of our personality and interests.
Moreover, some of the most fulfilling careers and experiences arise from unexpected opportunities, rather than a pre-defined passion. How many stories have you heard of individuals who stumbled upon their calling by chance, or who cultivated passion over time through dedication and experience? The emphasis should be on being open to possibilities rather than narrowing down our focus.
The narrative of “finding your passion” also has a more insidious implication. It implies that without this ‘passion’, one cannot be truly happy or fulfilled. This mindset can result in a constant state of restlessness, with individuals forever chasing a mirage, never feeling content with their present.
So, if searching for our passion isn’t the key, what is?
Instead of seeking out a pre-existing passion, focus on cultivating it. Passion can be nurtured over time through experiences, failures, and growth. Seek out opportunities to learn, challenge yourself, and gradually find what resonates with you. Instead of diving headfirst into the deep end, dip your toes into various waters and see which temperature suits you best.
Embrace adaptability. It’s perfectly acceptable to change directions. Some may start off in the arts and find contentment in the sciences, or vice versa. Instead of feeling anchored to one path because of an earlier notion of ‘passion’, allow yourself the freedom to change.
Derive joy from the present. Instead of yearning for a future where you’re living your passion, find aspects of your current situation that bring happiness and fulfilment. Whether it’s the camaraderie with colleagues, the joy of completing a task, or the simple pleasure of learning something new, there are always moments to cherish.
While passion is undoubtedly a driving force, it is not a hidden gem waiting to be unearthed. Instead of exhausting ourselves in its pursuit, we should focus on nurturing our interests, embracing adaptability, and finding joy in the present moment. By doing so, we create a life that is not just dictated by passion, but also rich in experiences, growth, and contentment.
Oliver Thompson, a seasoned mental health counsellor, believes in nurturing interests and cherishing life’s present moments.