Have you ever wondered where your passion went?
It seems as if the days of getting excited about something are a distant dream. Now you feel that you are doing the same things over and over again.
You definitely feel that there is more to life than this, but you have no idea what to do.
Then you turn on the news and you hear reports about artists, athletes, entrepreneurs and scientists who have “followed their passion and love what they do”.
You start to wonder why you haven’t been able to reach a similar level of success, despite being a human being just like them.
You keep hearing that the secret to their success was following their passion, but your passion seems to be missing. It feels like your passion abandoned you a long time ago, and you have no idea how you’re going to get your passion back.
That’s why you might be reading a lot of books and articles to find a way to get your passion to return. You’re watching videos, listening to motivating speakers, anything to find your passion again.
But it’s not going to work because of one reason.
Your passion hasn’t gone anywhere.
It’s been waiting inside you the entire time.
This isn’t a trick, or some hidden answer. Passion is not something that leaves you. It’s something that you have suppressed, willingly or unwillingly.
Why is it important to realize that your passion never left? Because if your passion never left, it means you can rediscover it a lot faster and even learn a few things about yourself.
So if your passion never left, why haven’t you found it until now?
Is It Still With Me?
Passion is the exciting feeling that your body feels when you do something that you truly love. Whenever you find something you love, your passion is what keeps you going, as you will pursue something that gives you happiness.
Without passion, you wouldn’t have much motivation to do anything. Having fun with friends, watching movies and other simple activities are just bursts of your passion that you feel every now and then. Since you find those activities fun, you continue to do them.
Let’s be honest; if you didn’t find anything that excited you, you wouldn’t be doing it. But no matter how boring your life may be, there are always activities you enjoy doing.
When I was in high school, I felt that my passion was to be an entrepreneur. I was attracted to the idea of working for myself, but I wasn’t sure why I wanted to be one.
What I did know was that I enjoyed helping people, because it put a smile on other people’s faces. Being the awkward person in school, I helped out at random times or whenever I felt like it. But it was an enjoyable feeling.
It was only a few years later when I was in the middle of university did I understand that helping people was my passion, and my desire to be an entrepreneur was just the extension of my passion. I wanted to see a smile on people’s faces, and helping people was the best way to make myself happy.
Even if you don’t know what your passion is, it’s not as if it left you. You’re still excited when certain topics come up. You find reasons to persist in a task even when you don’t like it. You just can’t put a finger on why you like some activities over others, or why some things make you happy while others do not.
The fire in your heart is still burning, but you have to remember it’s still there. @SpiritOnStage (Click to Tweet!)
But why is it hard for you to find it in the first place?
You Suppressed Your Passion
Do you remember the times you had when you were a child?
It seemed that everything excited you and was really fun. You tried several activities, made lots of friends and had a great time doing it. The world was your oyster, and you were experiencing everything.
Back then, if someone asked you what you liked and what you wanted to do, you had a response to that question. You wanted to be an astronaut, a firefighter, a policeman, or a doctor. You wanted to save lives or discover something new or protect the people around you.
But as you grew older, you somehow stopped having as much fun. You “grew up”, as people would say. You still made friends and tried new activities, but now your focus was on a few activities.
If people asked you what you liked, your answer wasn’t as confident as before. When people asked what you wanted to do, you probably said a job that would earn you money.
What happened to the passion in your childhood? You have the world around you to thank for that.
When you were a child, a lot of your behaviors were viewed as “just what a child would do”. So you were free to explore whatever you wanted without any major repercussions. Other children around you were the same, so it didn’t matter what you did. You could do what you like with others like you.
But as you grow older, you want other people to notice you. You want to be seen as a respectable adult, and you realize that your passions aren’t necessarily getting you noticed anymore. If you continue, people avoid you and you will be one step closer to being alone.
Your fear of being alone kicks in to stop that. That fear overrides your passion, because you are scared that no one will want to talk with you or take you seriously.
I remember my childhood days, where I had a lot of fun playing and telling stories. I loved going on adventures with my friends, and I loved being in a world where I could go on adventures with my stuffed animals. I loved the stories that I found in books and video games.
But as I grew older, people weren’t such a big fan of the adventures anymore. In school, people didn’t like talking about what we liked when we were little. The focus was on being seen as an adult, and doing all the cool things that adults supposedly did.
As my friends starting leaving and growing out of their activities, I started being the only one who still wanted the fun days of childhood. Everyone else was making friends and being seen as “cool”. I didn’t care too much until other people weren’t happy to be with me.
That was when my fear of being alone kicked in. I changed a lot. I stopped doing a lot of activities that I liked, and started adopting the behaviors of the people I wanted respect from. I got that respect, but my passion was dying. At the time though, it was better than the alternative of being alone.
You want to be liked by the people around you. And to do that, you let your passion fall so that you wouldn’t be alone.
Let’s be honest though, you cannot be blamed for that. It is very hard to enjoy your passion when you don’t have people to support you. Subconsciously, you also hoped to find the people who supported your passion so you could regain it.
So Why Did I Never Get My Passion Back?
Do you know how you develop a habit?
A habit is developed when you associate a behavior with a specific feeling, and then repeat that behavior to re-experience that feeling again.
As you kept trying to fit in, that eventually became your life. You kept repeating the behavior of trying to fit in, and were rewarded with the feeling of companionship. You weren’t alone, and you were having fun. But you never truly enjoyed yourself.
Over time, this becomes something that you do repeatedly. When you go to university, go to a new workplace or even move to a different location. You just do your best to fit in, and you adopt the same activities as the group you like in order to be accepted.
You eventually forgot about pursuing your passion. You just looked forward to the next time you were going to be with people you like and have fun.
Unfortunately, that is very short-sighted. You never think past what you want to do in a few years. You’re more focused on having fun in the present and near future.
It just so happens that almost every activity that involves pursuing your passion takes years to be good at. So you feel like you want to try and follow your passion, but it involves too much work and you would rather be having fun.
At this point, you’re more interested in what you are used to and you don’t want to disrupt your life. You’re scared of being alone and losing your progress.
That was how I acted when I started university. I did imagine myself finding my passion and being a new person, but I eventually went back to the way I always acted to make friends and just stay happy in school.
I did think about working hard in order to find a way to help people and make them smile, but it was much easier to focus on the people that liked me rather than think about helping lots of people as a whole. So I always made dreams and ideas that I never pursued, while staying with my current friends.
It’s hard to change, and you lose sight of the reasons why you want to change. It’s only when you see other people succeeding and having a more fulfilling life that you realize you’re not happy with how you spent your life.
But It’s Not Too Late To Reignite Your Passion
The first step to regaining your passion is to accept that you held it back, and that you want it again.
You have to be willing to go back to your childhood fearlessness and try the activities that you always wanted to do.
Thankfully, it should be easier to try activities. Through all the friends you made over the years, there will be some friends who will support you in what you do. That gets you past your fear of loneliness and motivates you to move forward.
You can also go out and meet experts, participate in organized events and even travel to pursue your passion. Now that you’re older, you have more money and resources to pursue your activity, something that may have held you back in your childhood.
Take things one step at a time. You’re not going to start your passion with your guns blazing. Instead, start small and start from the beginning. You will find yourself more motivated and willing to continue when everything is simple. Eventually, you’ll be ready for the challenging parts of your passion.
But don’t listen to the idea that it’s too late to start now. Many people might tell you that, especially if you’re doing this when many years have already passed.
People find their passion at different stages of life. Many people don’t find it at all.
Think about it: would you rather live a life that is fulfilling to yourself and the people around you, or would you be happy living a life where you achieve absolutely nothing of significance?
Life is too long to waste your years doing nothing. Spend them doing something you love.
It’s All About What You Want To Do
Even if you do realize that you’ve held back your passion and wanted to get started on the path to a more fulfilling life, it’s easier said than done.
You’ve spent most of your time doing nothing fulfilling after all. It’s not easy to just shift gears to a more productive attitude.
But if you remember all the people you watched on the news being successful doing what they love, they were people just like you.
The only difference was, they realized what their passions were and pursued them.
They didn’t give up just because it was hard. They didn’t give up because there was no end in sight. They didn’t give up because they knew the end result was worth the time and effort.
These individuals had people to support them, the resources to pursue their passion and a desire to make their mark on the world. That’s how all the athletes, artists, entrepreneurs and scientists became the successes you know today.
You’re at a point in your life where people love and support you. You’ve got more resources than you had as a child. And deep down, you do want to make a mark on the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s just your family or the community around you, you want to be there.
I’m confident that you can follow your passion. I was able to after meeting people and taking my first steps to help people. I’m not alone, I can support myself and I can put a smile on people’s faces.
Now it’s your turn to take the first step. Want to join me?
Victor Tan writes to helps people overcome their weaknesses to be a better public speaker. He does this by helping people with self-improvement and teaching them proper speaking techniques. You can find him at his website, Spirit On Stage, Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of geralt.