Passion Starts Between Your Ears


Throughout my adult life the question, “What do you want to do as a career?” has haunted me. The reason it disturbed me was I could never figure out what I wanted to do as a profession and every time someone asked me I would be overcome with anxiety because I didn’t truly know and didn’t know how to answer. My interests seemed scattered all over the map. When I did focus on random things, I would quickly lose interest. I would become disillusioned with the choices I made because I chose paths based on false narratives I created as a result of failing to educate myself.

I would try new things only to become discouraged, and I thought it was because I had an inaccurate understanding of them. But Actually, it was because I had an erroneous understanding of myself. This struggle led me through an introspective journey where I realized; one must look beyond the point of choosing a career or profession and focus on identifying the things that stimulate our minds and creativity.

We must ask broader questions about ourselves to identify who we are regarding what makes us happy and what excites us. Realizing the stimuli that consume us and pairing them with correlating activities will put us on the path to finding our passion. Failing to do this made me miserable and perpetually unhappy.

What changed? Well, for a long time nothing changed. I would continue to repeat the process, or I would do nothing at all. Using the word “process” gives the impression I knew what I was doing, which I didn’t. I would do one of two things, complain about my present situation while doing nothing or I would make an attempt at something and eventually give up after investing some time, money or both once I hit a failure point or decided it wasn’t for me.

Some other factors that led me to abandon pursuits included utterly not liking it, hitting hurdles and feeling it wasn’t worth the trouble and the mindset that for some reason I needed to be a prodigy. I was looking for a career or calling in which I was a natural. My line of thinking was as if I was going to pick up a computer and be able to write code or sit down at a piano and play like Mozart or pick up a paint brush and whip out a priceless painting.

Thinking that if I am not a natural, then I wasn’t meant to do something somehow became associated with having a passion. This distorted mentality affected my decision making for a long time. Whenever I ran into hurdles, I would never push past them. Not out of laziness or lack desire, but I would just give up thinking it wasn’t meant to be. I was on an aimless course to nowhere.

Like the scene from Alice in Wonderland where the Cheshire Cat tells Alice if it doesn’t matter where she wants to go, then it doesn’t matter which way you go. Ultimately we must have a goal. Measuring success requires a target. Its ready, aim, fire, instead of ready, fire, aim.

Once I stopped the aimless madness and did a self-analysis to identify the things I’ve loved to do from childhood to present day I felt free. I realized that I should not have been so focused on identifying a specific career or profession, but discern what stimulates my mind. Something I need to clarify is that I by no means want to infer that people should not experiment and try different interests. However, their exploration should focus on interests that complement the stimuli which drive their motivation.

As I began the quest to find my passion I pondered what the word passion meant or more precisely what it meant to me. For the longest time passion has always been a thing or someone’s thing. What I eventually came to realize is that passion (the noun) is the reciprocal of being passionate (the verb) about something. Passion grows over time and is fueled by a continued interest and desire to develop your skills. However, curiosity has to exist to spark enough interest to dive deeper.

As our knowledge of a subject expands, and we immerse ourselves further into our discipline, we become one with it, and it becomes “our thing.” This is the freedom and happiness I desire, and this is my goal. Before you can practice and grow, you have to find the things that ignite your joy. Discover the sparks, apply them to activities, and you are well on your way to your passion.

This is what I did, and what used to be a convoluted outlook for me transformed into viable options that excited me. This should be everyone’s goal. Imagine how happy people would be if they were making a living doing the thing they were passionate about. The key to finding your passion is having self-awareness and the understanding of who you are and what makes you happy.

I am putting this out in the world in hopes it will help others realize they are not the only ones who have struggled to find their purpose or passion. I am going to share the ideas and tools that helped me move forward with everyone I can. Some are my creations and others I discovered during my journey. All of them stoked my desire to find a calling that fuels my passion.

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By KP O'Neal

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