A Metalogue with Josh and Veronika Bond about the meaning of finding one’s passion and how to go about it
“In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.”Bruce Lee
Josh — Finding your passion, the first thing that springs to mind is the implication of the words. It implies that one’s passion is a fixed thing that you have to find.
It could be either inside or outside. You either find it or you don’t. And it seems that your whole life depends on whether you find it or not. The value of your life is determined by it.
Veronika — Absolutely, it makes me wonder whether there is a place where lost and unclaimed passions are being stored, waiting for their rightful owners to find them.
The phrase ‘finding your passion’ also gives the impression that if you have found that one thing, that will then somehow bring you fulfilment and make your dreams come true.
J — Yes, such as love, money and life-style, they are all supposed to follow on from finding your passion. Perhaps the whole notion of ‘finding one’s passion’ is better formulated in terms of a question. It might be a lifelong quest.
V — What I find funny about this ‘finding your passion’ thing is that suddenly there are 100s of people who share the passion to run online businesses, and in particular to teach others to find their passion for running online businesses.
I mean, really? Is it anybody’s passion to sit in front of their computer all day?
If they only had 3 loyal followers and didn’t make any money from it, I’m wondering how long the passion would last…
J — So what you’re saying is that there is a confusion between finding one’s passion and a business opportunity. That’s why I think that looking at passion in the form of a quest or question is a better approach.
V — What would be such a question?
J — For me an example would be the question: What is good technology?
V — This question already contains your passion. The phrase ‘finding your passion’ implies you don’t know yet what it is. Let me ask you another question: How would you define ‘one’s passion’? What is that?
J — For me there are a number of qualities, for example:
- It’s a question that won’t go away.
- You feel drawn to something specific, like an activity, a geographical area, or a way of life.
- You feel energised whenever you spend time with it.
V — What’s interesting to me is that passion is really mostly an emotional experience. And we look for an external activity that can consistently give us this experience. I’m not sure that’s even possible.
J — I agree, the danger is that we very quickly look out for an external activity to give us that experience of passionate fulfilment, preferably one that’s enjoyable and makes us a lot of money at the same time.
V — I’m still wondering about passion and what we mean by that. It seems to be this intense emotional experience, some kind of energy form that motivates us, or a connection with a source of energy.
If it is linked to a specific activity, then the thought of the activity makes us enthusiastic to get out of bed in the morning. It’s supposed to fill us with joy and contentment about ourselves and life in general.
J — In other words, whilst looking for an activity that you find enjoyable is a good starting point, if you really want to find your passion, you’ve got to dig much deeper. You’ve got to make that connection with the energy source.
V — Hmm, I’m thinking about my personal experience. I think I stumbled upon something that qualifies as ‘finding my passion’ in 1997. It didn’t come in the form of an activity by the way. It came in the form of a few questions, and I had a strong urge to find answers to these questions.
The questions themselves and the answers I received through doing research and writing were very energising for me. But I had no idea what kind of activity this would lead to. I had the passion, but it took me years to get to the activity.
J — This ties in with 2 things we’ve already mentioned:
- the importance of having a question, and
- not to give too much weight to the activity related to the question.
V — Yes, this is really interesting, because I found that the questions themselves were guiding me and drawing me into my activity, in my case writing. And as my writing developed I became better at it of course, and I became more excited, or ‘passionate’, about my work, and also more passionate about life in general.
J — That’s why this topic of finding your passion is so popular, because it is supposed to hold the key to fulfilment in all areas of life, not just the question and associated activity you are passionate about.
The implication is that if you don’t find this singular activity you can’t find happiness in life.
V — This is where we often get caught out. We go after a certain goal and expect that the achievement of the goal will give us the experience of fulfilment. And it never works.
J — It makes me think that finding your passion can be read in 2 different ways. One is as a one-off activity, you find it, then it’s found, and then you’ve got it forever.
The 2nd option is to understand the word “finding” as present-tense continuing, i.e: related to the process of finding. You keep following your burning question, and you keep on finding and finding exciting answers, which lead you deeper and deeper to the source that fills you with passion. The activities related to that can change.
V — Brilliant. That’s exactly my experience. It is of course absurd to think that passion is something fixed, sitting somewhere and waiting to be found.
Passion is like an inner fire. It stirs us, it makes us move. We can start the process with anything that we feel a little bit passionate about. That fuels the process of finding.
So it’s about letting your passion drive your finding. You just need to have something you are passionate about enough to get started.
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