I have tried to find my true passion for the last two decades.
Have I found it yet?
Honestly, I don’t know yet.
Before you shrug it off and say, “If you’re not sure, it isn’t your passion,” let me tell you my story.
Somewhere in my teens, I developed a love for programming. “Yes, I will write code till the end of time,” I told myself with enthusiasm. In my early 20s, I even started my venture related to programming.
After five years went by, I did not have the same love for programming anymore. During that time, we were building products. Innovating and solving problems had taken the place programming had in my heart.
“Maybe my passion is building innovative products,” I thought. After another few years, building new products did not feel exciting anymore. Back then, I was leading teams and loving the challenge.
“My passion is leading people and bring the best out of them. I am certain,” I convinced myself.
Now another five years later, here I am today. I am a blogger who springs out of bed each morning to write useful articles. I am also trying my hand at writing a book.
If you ask me what do I love doing today, I would say writing before you can blink. But is that my true passion for life? I hope so, but I do not know yet.
The flaw behind the true passion hypothesis
A bazillion authors have written countless books about following your true passion.
Is that bad advice? I don’t think so.
At the same time, pursuing your dream isn’t about choosing one passion at an early age and doing it for the rest of your life.
Cal Newport explains in his book, So good they cannot ignore you, how the advice of pursuing your passion can turn dangerous. With passion comes high expectations. This leads to people hopping from one place to another, trying to find their eternal place of happiness. When they cannot find such a place in real life, they end up with anxiety and stress.
He suggests developing your passion instead of trying to follow your preconceived belief.
Look around you. You will find many people enjoying success in their careers and live life with authenticity.
But how many of those chose that career as a passion? Only a handful. The rest of them improved their skills and loved what they did.
I have tried my fair share of career choices. At no point have I hated what I was doing, nor do I despise those areas now. But I haven’t loved one single profession for decades either.
5 Life-Changing Lessons You Learn from Finding Your True Passion
I have realized 5 insightful lessons through my journey in the last two decades:
1. Your thinking changes with age
The way I think today is way different than how I thought 5 years ago. I am sure the same applies to you.
What seemed “amazing” a few years ago can turn into “good” today. And that’s normal. As you mature with age, so does your perspective on life. Expecting to hold the same thinking forever is illogical.
While your core identity might remain the same, your thought patterns, likes, and dislikes will change over time.
2. True Passion and age have nothing in common
Irrespective of your current age, you still have time. The world has created a delusion that one must find passion by the early 20s and follow it for the rest of your life.
Sure, many well-known people have had early success which they carried on for decades together. But you are not in a race, are you?
You do not have to break your head if you haven’t found your passion yet. As far as you’re putting in effort without wasting your time, you do not have to zero down on your passion right now.
Finding your calling takes time. If you try to speed up the process, you’ll face unnecessary stress.
3. You do not have to start with passion, you develop it
What you see as passion at first is no different than falling in love with a lady at first sight. You mistake infatuation for love.
Could that lady be your true love forever? Maybe. You won’t know until you spend time understanding the lady in and out. Perhaps she is only a crush.
Likewise, what you consider as your passion might only be a shiny object you’re attracted to. Only after you spend time learning the required skills and building expertise do you develop a passion for it.
Expecting passion before skills is like putting the cart before the horse. That chariot isn’t going anywhere.
Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at a skill, not before.~ Cal Newport
4. Trying many things isn’t always bad
Many books preach the importance of following just one thing. Again, that isn’t bad advice. But what if you failed to choose the right thing in the first place? It would be best if you continue your hunt.
Trying a new skill won’t make you hate the things you previously loved. I still enjoy writing code, developing products, and leading people, but the intensity isn’t the same. I cannot imagine doing only one of them forever.
Until I find my purpose, I plan to continue hunting. I am not in a hurry anymore.
5. Have something to chase
At any point in your life, you must have at least one skill that you are trying to build your passion for. If you lay on your couch idle, waiting for passion to fall right into your lap, you have got the wrong message.
You need to put in time, energy, sweat, and blood to find your passion.
Can all these efforts go in vain? That depends on how you choose to look at it.
I don’t think the years I have spent chasing different passions have gone wasted. They have just brought me one step closer to my true passion.
And what is my true passion?
I will tell you when I figure it out.