In 2004, I was frustrated with my (lack of) progress in life and wrote notes about it on Facebook. Years later, this would evolve into my current passion and occupation. I wasn't one of those people who always knew I'd be a writer since I was four months old.
These 10 surprising truths about passion are something only a late bloomer can tell you.
1. Passion is not actually found, but cultivated.
In the movies, passion is often portrayed as something you have to find, but that's not very realistic. In order to find something, it must exist currently. Passion starts out as a seed of caring about something, and only when it's cultivated will it grow and be seen.
2. Passion is the emotional form of caring.
Passion is an emotionally charged version of caring about something. When you care about something so much that you can feel it, that's passion. If you want to find your passion, don't ignore the first step of considering what you care about most.
3. Passion isn't required for a good life.
People who are emotional will likely be more passionate than less emotional people. This is why caring is the key to a good life — you can care about something without having strong emotions toward it, like brushing your teeth.
4. Passion is an attribute. Caring is a verb.
Some people think passion is everything, but action is what matters in life. It's impossible to walk onto a field and "passion around" because passion only describes one’s emotional state. One of the keys to life is to focus on what you can control, which is what you choose to care about.
5. Society pressures us to have a passion.
If you're not currently passionate about anything in particular, the only thing wrong is thinking there's something wrong with that! Many people will expect you to be passionate about something, and it's important to understand this pressure, because understanding societal expectations makes you less susceptible to them.
6. The path to passion is often unpredictable.
Do you remember from the beginning of this article how my journey started? I was frustrated with my own lack of life progress, and began writing notes about it on Facebook. Several years later, my writing and ideas for change had improved, and I decided to start a blog. From this, I cultivated a passion for both writing and helping others.
Fast forward to today, and I'm a blogger and best-selling author writing about habit formation and focusing strategies. I love what I do, but it started with an unlikely seed — I cared about my life direction enough to write my thoughts on Facebook!
7. Sometimes passion can be purposely built.
As we covered in #4, passion is not something you can directly control (caring is). But if you begin to do something every day, increasing your skill and understanding, you're far more likely to develop a passion for it. It starts with the choice you're going to care about it enough to invest your time and energy into it.
8. Those who try to artificially generate passion fail.
Lasting passion springs forth naturally from spending time in one area: it's satisfying and engaging. The other type of passion is fleeting, and it may come from something like watching a motivational video or filling out a work sheet to "find your passion." This second type of passion is confusing because it mimics the real thing, but it fades.
9. Real passion has a connection to your subconscious.
Much of human behavior is based on avoiding pain and seeking rewards. True passions are a significant source of reward, which is why we feel so strongly about them. For example, I'm passionate about playing basketball. The many hours I've played have created a strong subconscious connection between this activity and numerous rewards of socialization, fun, endorphins, winning, and so on.
This is why I speak of cultivating your passion rather than finding it. Your subconscious mind needs to be on board, and that takes time.
10. It's OK to feel lost.
Nobody knows his exact path; life is more about exploring than following steps. There's so much to see and do, and the winding paths we take will bring us to unexpected places.
If you know you have passion welled up inside of you, waiting for an application, keep exploring. When you find something you truly care about, focus on it, nurture it, and it may well grow into a powerful passion for life.
To see how I cultivated passion in areas of fitness, health, writing, and reading (this one's still a work in progress), take a look at my best-selling book.