“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” by Albert Einstein
Why having passion is so important? Let’s define what I mean by passion, an internal “drive and desire”. I am constantly talking to many people: young people and increasing the older work population who need to keep working for financial reasons and have retired from their current jobs for whatever reasons, and who want to make new career choices. The first thing I share with them is that we are so lucky to be living now, in the age of this great Internet, connectivity and accessibility. The pace and easiness of obtaining information is now amazingly simple and quick. But Rule #1, whether you are old or young, is you have to know what you are interested in and what will drive you mentally and physically. Is it the arts? Is it finance? Is it academia? Is it the media? Figure out what it is that tickles your mind, for what you want to be known for, your legacy.
I have shared some unique approaches with people on how to find their passion once a target and an interest in a specific area, has been identified. One such very simple approach is to start the search using the Internet, looking for ten people who have achieved what you want to achieve and then start studying their careers. What have they done in their lives to reach their goal? Then find similar themes in the careers of these people and see what really resonates with you. You may be surprised to discover, after all the research and digging, that you don’t want to pursue this track or you may discover wow, this is exactly how I want to spend my time, energy and life.
Remember, the formula for success is still the same as it was years ago, pre-internet, and that is to find something you are passionate about. What is your passion? When you read a book that that you cannot put down and don’t want it to end, or listen to a piece of music that takes your breath away, these are the things that create your passion. It’s what builds a person within you. A person, however, needs to separate what is nice to know, nice to eat and what you need, with what is essential for you to be a happy person. These essential elements are what you need to build a person within you that I have talked about in my blogs.
I am not saying you have to feel passionate about everything you read or listen to or explore. You don’t have to hug and love everything. But you need to know what you’re hugging and loving, and importantly, you need to know what fills you, as a human being. You need to believe in what you’re hugging and loving.
People sometimes say to me, “But Emma, I don’t have a passion.” It is important not to feel that you are a failure if you cannot identify your passion. Sometimes people have the passion and don’t know it. It is important for people to be asking themselves the right questions. When people tell me they don’t have a passion, I ask them, “Tell me what you don’t like, what you don’t like to do. What do you hate?” People usually know what they don’t like and hate pretty quickly. Then I advise them to make a list—you don’t want to be a doctor, you hate mathematics, you don’t want to be an astronaut, etc. Then you begin to filter it all and figure out what’s left. Can we work with anything that’s left? If there isn’t then go back to the hated list and categorize again. Is there anything we can build a love out of all of these things you hate? It’s back and forth, back and forth—a dialogue with yourself—to find that passion.
Once you find your interest, then you have to start living your life with it. If you don’t like it and you don’t find this passion, then go back to all the things we have discussed in these blogs. Because what it means is that you don’t care. When you don’t care, everything is so stale and pale and everyday you just keep jumping from one place to another, not liking what you do, where you are, the people you work with. Eventually it develops into this circle of unhappiness. The core becomes you didn’t know what you like. You didn’t know your passion.
When you find your passion it’s almost like discovering Michelangelo’s David in you. It starts building and growing in you. Then you are born again and you take care of this passion and you nurture it and everybody else who is associated with it. The circle becomes bigger and bigger and then you make an impact. And then you Care about it and everything that surrounds it. The circle of unhappiness becomes a circle of happiness. This passion becomes Care and that Care sustains your passion. That’s the formula.