3 Truths about Discovering your Passion
Whenever I hear quotes like: “Pick a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I am simultaneously inspired and terrified.
The pressure to discover that one thing that I will be supremely good at and find tremendous amounts of joy doing has always felt overwhelming. I’m in the process of reading Angela Duckworth’s amazing book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, and I have learned that I have been thinking about passion all wrong.
Duckworth studied world-class experts in different fields to discover what made them successful. She found that while talent was somewhat important, what matters more is-
“A kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways. First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction. It was a combination of passion and perseverance that made high-achievers special. In a word, they had grit.”
I’ve always thought when I encountered my true calling it would be a love at first sight situation- I would pick up the (insert object of your choice here: paintbrush, camera, trumpet, knife, volley-ball) and I would be swept away in the flow of doing something effortlessly amazing and everyone around me would be filled with awe at my genius and I would know this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life.
As, you might imagine this has led to flit from thing to thing (like a good little millennial) looking for that one special thing I’m meant to do and never really commit and get really great at anything.
Grit has taught me 3 paradigm shifting truths about passion that have helped me uproot some of my misconceptions:
1. Passion builds over time.
For most of us cultivating a passion is much more like developing a great friendship over the course of decades than it is a whirlwind love affair. Your great passion in life may start with something as small as curiosity about a topic. The rest is a matter of time; time spent exploring and learning more about the topic that caught your attention.
2. Passion precedes skill.
I was an art major and one of the first things people are quick to say to me when they find that out is something along the lines of, “Oh, well I’m just not artistic.” There is a common misconception that either you are born with artistic skills or you aren’t. With most things, (including art) if you have enough interest to keep you logging the hours, acquisition of the skills will follow.
3. Fostering passion is a choice.
Staying committed is an action. It is human nature to get bored and want to move on to something new. When you choose to stick with one thing and continue to dig in, and find nuances to keep you interested that is where growth and real passion really start to emerge!