How to Find Your Passion (The REAL Way)
¿Alguna vez han escuchado ese viejo dicho “Encuentra tu pasión y no tendrás que trabajar ni un día en tu vida”?
For some reason, whenever we hear it, we conjure up the mental image of someone working on some remote beach in Thailand with a laptop in one hand and a pina colada in the other.
But here’s the thing, the reality is that we’ve been conditioned to perceive passion this way by a system that wants us to hate our lives, so that it can sell us the “things” that will make us happy. Real passion is not the same as the images we see on the back of cheap postcards.
And in this post, we’ll look at what passion really is, and how to find it within the things that we do, so, if you’re open to challenging everything you’ve been conditioned to think that passion means or if you’re tired of trying to “find” your passion and coming up short, then let’s begin.
How the “idea” of passion is used to get us to hate our lives
If we’re going to understand passion, we first have to understand the false definition of passion. “Quit your 9-5 and do what you’re passionate about” the scream, as they show themselves working on a laptop at a tiki bar while drinking a pina colada.
First of all, who says you can’t experience passion if you’re working a 9-5? And what the fuck does a pina colada have to do with passion?
This is the same idea endlessly perpetuated by all of these “business” type guru’s, beach and a pina colada is the “digital nomad” version, then of course there’s the “millionaire playboy” version and even the stay-at-home-mom who earns $1,000 a week version.
What they’re doing is conflating the idea of “passion” with “lifestyle”, they do this because they have something to sell us and they get us to buy in by flaunting what we perceive as “ideal” lifestyles. And implying that we’re somehow wasting our lives on things we’re “not” passionate about, if we’re not living to those same, completely unrealistic standards.
But forget about how meaningless these hedonistic lifestyles actually are for a second, and how unhappy the people who most perpetuate these lifestyles often are. The real problem here is how this all feeds into the broader lie of the system, this “idea” that we should always love the things we do, and if we aren’t enjoying what we do 100% of the time, that somehow… that’s wrong.
Listen, the reality of existing within the real world is that we’re going to have to do lots of things we don’t enjoy, but more on that in a second; now that we understand that passion is not the same as lifestyle, let’s take a closer look at what passion really is.
What does “passion” mean within the context of a hobby?
In life, there are things we do in our free time, let’s just call these “hobbies”, and then there are the things we do to support ourselves, let’s call these “occupations”. Passion at a hobby level is relatively easy to identify.
Let’s take boxing for example. If we decide we want to start boxing, but the only time we’re practicing or even thinking about boxing is when we have a scheduled lesson, chances are… we’re not passionate about boxing, but if we’re throwing shadow punches while we heat something up in the microwave, watching “how to” videos during our lunch break and choosing to go spar with game opponents on weekends, pretty fair to say that we’re passionate about boxing.
But this is at a hobby level, and it’s extremely important to acknowledge it as such, once we attempt to turn any hobby into an occupation, it transforms into a different thing entirely. It’s one thing to box for “fun”, it’s another thing to literally have to fight to be able to put food on the table for our family.
Let’s look at the example of video games, playing video games is lots of fun, everyone loves playing video games, but to turn that into an occupation and play at a highly competitive level means waking up earlier than your competitors to train, turning down social invitations and making personal sacrifices, learning how to to creatively market and brand yourself, hiring managers and representatives, managing extremely high stress levels and paying taxes.
Turning a hobby that we’re passionate about into an occupation is of course a legitimate road for some, but the reality is that it is not the correct road for the overwhelming majority of us. And as we’ll explore in this next section, there are lots of ways to find passion in the occupations we choose.
What does “passion” mean within the context of an occupation?
So how do the rest of us find passion within our work? Well, within the context of an occupation, “passion” is really just anything that we’re highly motivated to do, regardless whether we actually like doing that thing or not. Here are 3 examples.
1. We can be passionate about what we do.
This is most likely in a situation where we’re doing a very specific thing. Boxing and video games are both great examples of this, in fact most athletes fall under this category, artists and musicians are also great examples.
School teachers are a good example that isn’t a hobby. The best teachers often combine a passion for teaching with a passion for a particular subject, this is also a great example in the sense that, we’ve all had teachers who aren’t passionate about teaching, and the difference is night and day.
2. We can be passionate about what our work enables us to do.
Most of us, especially if we go down the business or entrepreneur path, are going to spend a lot of time doing things that we don’t enjoy doing. I love my business but I still spend at least ¾ of my time doing things I don’t enjoy, for example, I don’t particularly enjoy the process of finding, hiring, and training new employees, yet it’s the thing that I probably spend the most time doing, but here’s the thing, I still wake up most mornings with lots of motivation to get to work.
Why is that? Well in my case, it’s primarily this:
I understand that the doing the things that I don’t enjoy doing are what enables me to do the things that I do enjoy doing. The more people we add, the more we spend on marketing and the more I get to create complex systems to manage everything. The stuff that I’m actually passionate about is creating complex systems, I actually do enjoy doing because I understand it’s what enables me to do the stuff that I really enjoy doing.
To summarize: I enjoy doing the things I don’t enjoy doing because I understand that doing those things is what enables me to do the things that I really enjoy doing.
3. We can be passionate about the why behind what we do
So this one I learned from my father, He was an insurance salesman, he absolutely hated what he did, but he was passionate about being able to give his kids the sort of life and opportunities that he could only dream about when he was growing up. And so, especially in the early days when getting our phone or electric turned off was something that happened regularly, he was extremely motivated to go to work and earn for his family because he was extremely passionate about giving us a better life.
So, as we can see in all of these examples, passion isn’t just this one-dimensional idea that we have to be loving every single minute of doing that thing, in fact, that’s one of the oldest tricks of the system. It sells us this idea that we should always love the things we do, and if we aren’t enjoying what we do 100% of the time, that somehow, that’s wrong and we are wasting our lives.
The reality of existing within the real world is that we’re going to have to do lots of things we don’t enjoy, heck, it’s actually doing those things that we don’t enjoy, that makes doing the things that we do enjoy so much more enjoyable. And while we should always try to put ourselves in situations where we’re working on things that we are passionate about, sometimes it’s less about changing our job, and more about changing our perspective, that enables us to experience passion within the things we do.
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How do we find our passion?
So, I guess this all brings us back to the following question: how do we find our passion?
You thought I was going to give you an answer? How the fck am I supposed to do that?
First of all, assuming that passion is some sort of singular, all-encompassing, magical thing that is supposed to imbue our lives with a sense of meaning, why would you be so lazy and so pathetic as to expect someone else to answer that question for you?
“Passion” is really a question of what we’re motivated to do.
When it comes to our occupations, it’s entirely possible to be passionate about what we do, passionate about what our work enables us to do, or to be passionate about the why behind what we do, if we’re just starting out in the world, the idea that we should “pursue our passion” is particularly insane. How the heck are we supposed to know what we’re passionate about if we’ve never really done much of anything?
Read endless blog posts on “how to find your passion” or watch 1000s of “day in the life” videos until the very core of our being roars in recognition of our one true calling?
No. Here’s a much better strategy: just “pursue whatever feels right”.
Sometimes that means working a 9-5 at Mcdonald’s, taking a massive risk on something that has a high probability of failure, taking a job we absolutely hate, but will pay enough for us to save enough money to pursue something that we will enjoy more later on in life.
In all of these cases, we’re doing something and when we do the things that we feel we’re supposed to be doing, then the passion to do those things shouldn’t be hard to find.
Alright guys, so to summarize:
1. Passion is not pina coladas on the beach
The system likes to promote unrealistic, unfilling, hedonistic based “lifestyles” as “passion”. Passion is not lifestyle, passion is the motivation we feel to do things and is rooted more in our perception than it is anything else.
2. Hobby-level passion is different from occupational passion
Passion isn’t a one-dimensional state of unending happiness, in fact, following our passion can mean doing stuff that we absolutely hate, but still have the motivation to succeed with.
Here are 3 common examples of occupational passion:
- Passion for what we do: it is of course, entirely possible to focus on individual things that we enjoy doing, and make a career out of those things.
- Passion for what our work enables us to do: sometimes we need to do the things that we don’t enjoy to do more of the things that we do enjoy.
- Passion for why we do what we do: In the words of Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. The reality is, and something I’ll cover much more extensively in another video, is that we can find passion in anything that we do, the people who tell us otherwise are just trying to control our narrative because they have something they want to sell us.
3. To find our passion, we have to be doing things
I think to really find our passions, we should completely forget about finding our passions and instead, focus on pursuing the things that feel right based on who we are, where we’re at in life and what we want out of life and if we’re not sure what those things are, well just take a fucking guess and go with that.
Alright guys, If you want more content like this one, don’t just hit the subscribe button and if you peasants want to be rich and successful like me one day, able to work on any beach in the world with a pina colada, this is a real picture of me taken just a few weeks ago, then make sure to also click the goddamn bell icon.
Otherwise you will always be poor and sad, and the only pina coladas you will be drinking are the ones your mom makes you while you’re still living in her basement.
If you want to see photos of me not on a beach, not drinking pina coladas, check out my instagram @nelsonquest, I also post a lot of stuff related to the channel there.
Ciao, and cya in the next post.