And why most people struggle with it.
We all know that guy.
“I’m trying to find my passion.”
He heard in a speech, that being passionate was the key to business success. He read on a dating website, that passionate about his purpose will make him more masculine and attractive for women. He knows passion from sex and he feels like it’s the right thing.
When he finds it, everything will change!
So he searches and searches and searches:
“How do I find my passion?”
he keeps asking himself every day. And that b*tch just won’t reveal itself.
Passion should come up naturally, right?
It should be something that is unique to him, something he’s good at naturally, something he enjoys, and it will create a perfect synergy between himself and the world.
Once he finally finds it, life gets juicy, right?
Here is the hard truth about passion
1. Passion is a side-effect of commitment
Passion is an effect of commitment, not its cause.
When you truly commit to one thing and one thing only, you focus all your mental energy there. Nothing else exists. It feels so good, you become consumed by it. You become it. Internally, you feel as if you already achieved that which you committed to. That’s how strong the commitment is.
Every successful entrepreneur knows this feeling.
You become one with it. You see the contrast between the result you committed to and your reality and it almost pisses you off. It won’t let you sleep. You wake up excited, you work excited because everything you do brings you one step closer to your new reality you are already living internally. That’s what passion feels like.
But this feeling can exist thanks to the commitment that preceded it!
It didn’t appear out of nowhere like Jehova’s witnesses at your front door.
If your commitment becomes the only fixed point in the universe, then passion starts flowing. Its job is to help you to get there and to outgrow your current self.
And that can be painful, of course.
But it’s no surprise, because…
2. The word passion has a Latin origin — it is “partior” and it means to suffer.
Commitment requires accepting the potential suffering upfront.
When you truly commit, it’s because you know it’s worth it. You know there will be days when you won’t feel like following through.
But if you know it’s worth it, that won’t stop you.
It’s not always juicy progress and flow-state immersion. It’s also days when you don’t feel like following through. Nothing works and everything is f*cked and doing the work feels like pure suffering.
However, during these special circumstances, you do nothing special at all.
If you want to keep your passion, you do the work anyway. This resistance — that emotional tension you feel — is the raw material of your goal.
If you stop, the emotional tension turns into frustration, disappointment, and apathy.
Some of you roll your eyes now, thinking:
Yeah, of course, keep going… But how do you do sh*t when you don’t feel like doing sh*t?!
Eye-rolling is a form of passive-aggression. It’s the energy of anger. And it’s also the answer.
3. Passion comes just after Anger
You reconnect with your anger and do stuff anyway.
People don’t struggle with finding their passion because it’s hidden somewhere in the outside world.
They struggle because they can’t connect with their angry inner animal, who can cut through their bullsh*t excuses, make a decision, commit and say NO to everything but the commitment.
And even though it’s simple, it’s not easy at all.
With deeply suppressed anger, this might feel almost impossible. Believing anger is bad will make it impossible. But anger is not bad at all.
In fact, it’s neither good nor bad. Anger is an energy to act. It’s pure intensity.
From a Jungian archetype’s perspective, anger is the energy of the Warrior.
Directed destructively, it can cause a lot of pain. Directed creatively, it gives birth to courage and passion.
It distinguishes boys from men.
Boys get excitement easily and they say YES to something. But it takes a man to use anger and say NO to everything else up front!
When resistance appears, anger is of great help to push through the resistance. And when you feel good for succeeding to keep your integrity with your commitments, anger turns into a passion again.
Disclaimer: Passion is not permanent!
I became passionate about a classical guitar when I was 15. I committed to winning a national competition and after 2 years of practicing 3 hours a day, I won.
I believed with my whole being that it’s that one thing for me I’ll do for the rest of my life.
It turned out it wasn’t.
And then snowboarding came. And then diplomacy. Then strategy consulting, and investment banking.
Almost the same story — some of which were deep, deep failures.
My passion for snowboarding led me to breaking my forearm, helicopter flight to the hospital, and 3 surgeries. I’ve studied Diplomacy at the university for 5 years, only to realize I never want to become a Diplomat. And I never even made it to strategy consulting, despite 100s of hours spent on preparation.
Nevertheless, I’m grateful for every single of those experiences because the skills I’ve learned were invaluable and serve me to this day.
My passion for all those activities allowed me to fully on board, which helped me to learn faster and expand my life.
I have zero regrets that I’m neither a professional guitar player nor an investment banker.
Because I’m passionate about what I’m doing right now.
Success stories shared from TEDx stage make passion sound like it’s a key to success in life, business, and relationships.
But sometimes it sounds like it needs to be found in the outside world.
And that’s simply not true.
Passion flows from a deep commitment to a goal or a cause. It’s transformed out of the emotional tension (discomfort) from following through whatever it takes. It’s sustained by the creative anger channeled into doing things even when they’re hard.
Of course, it’s good to do the research and think twice before you commit to something bigger.
But if it takes too long, “finding my passion” becomes a fancy excuse.
So…think about what it is that you want to achieve.
You already know what that is.
You already know what specific action you need to take to get going.
Decide RIGHT NOW to take that action and at the same time, say NO to anything else other than that specific action!
Right now you might feel some courage, don’t you? Good. That means, that passion is just behind the corner!
Remember the guy from the beginning?
“How do I find my passion?”
He figured it out eventually. He found it by creating it on his own.
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