On Finding Your Passion

28 Jun

[Also, see CNN article here.]

“Without passion, no one can fully express their talent or define who they are.”

The guy in this video is Larry Smith, a Canadian economist.  His basic message, delightfully delivered, is that people who have truly great careers are fueled by passion.  A great career is not about finding a good job and working hard.  A great career is about finding a passion.

Contrary to popular opinion, chances are that your destiny won’t seek you out, you won’t just happen to stumble upon it.  You need to search for your passion.  Smith suggests a methodical and persistent search in which you shift your mind into high gear and place yourself in intensely stimulating, intellectually exhausting environments.  This may be reading voraciously, seeking out people and engaging them in intense conversation, or otherwise immersing yourself in the human experience (traveling, anyone?).

As discussed earlier, perhaps this search comes more naturally to children.  Ultimately it’s adults, too often young adults, who abandon the search because they make excuses: they “self-sacrifice” themselves on the altar of family/personal relationships or resign themselves to the fact that they must “grow up.”  Searching for your passion requires you to stand against popular culture, Smith says, to be independently minded and forcefully committed.

How do you know when you’ve found your passion?  “The rule of passion is simple: the mind cannot stop thinking about that which it loves.”

Which brings us to the second of sad souls: those who find a passion but cast it aside, dismissing it as impractical or foolish or as but one of a string of loves to follow.  They eschew their passion, just as those who eschew the search for passion, under the hollow guise of self-sacrifice and self-virtue.

I’m not saying that everyone should take a RTW trip (of course everyone should! everyone shouldn’t).  But my naive hope is that everyone — especially everyone as blessed as we are —lives deeply.  We should question convention; we should question the “wisdom” the world spouts.  We should not be afraid to listen to our hearts.  And make no mistake, that’s the hard part — the listening part.  Following your heart is easy.  Listen hard.  And don’t be afraid to take the big risks in life: the big leaps of faith that the wind whispers into your ear.

One Response to “On Finding Your Passion”

  1. Lucie June 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    My co-worker — and economics major — Bert sends me this response:

    “ha. i find it very interesting that humans evolved in such a way that everyone has a ‘passion’ out there to discover, though it is often hard to do, takes a long time, and most people don’t find it. Passionate humans must have been able to talk predators out of eating them in early times on the plains of Africa due to their excitement about their passions, and thereby lived longer lives and reproduced more often.”

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