The advice that’s meant to propel you forward. The advice that supposedly is the key to an extraordinary life. The advice that inspirational and successful people have been telling us for centuries.
“Follow your passion”.
I used to swallow this advice. I used to pondered it long and hard. But, when I wasn’t able to figure out my passion – I figured it must be something wrong with me.
Not the advice, but ME.
(And getting down on yourself is always a great strategy, right?)
In the past few days, I’ve listened to two podcast episodes where this advice was given. In the first one, Tony Robbins mentioned it in an interview with Tim Ferriss and Peter Diamandis. In the second one, Larry King mentioned it in an interview with Lewis Howes.
Now, these men are all change-makers of this world. They’re building spaceships, feeding millions, and challenging the status quo in all areas. Don’t get me wrong – I love and adore these guys.
But, so often when already passionate people try to inspire others in finding their passion, something can go terribly wrong.
In both podcasts, it was mentioned several times that passion is the fuel to success. That it’s the driving force to making epic sh*t happen. So without it, you’re basically screwed.
This advice assumes that we all know our passion. Which isn’t the case. Listen to this:
Research shows that 80 percent of the population can’t identify a singular passion.
That’s 8 out of 10 people! So if you’re feeling lost and confused about this, you’re not alone. Phew, right?
What to do instead
To find your passion, you can’t look for your passion.
Why? Because it might not be there yet. Most passions don’t happen overnight. They take time, energy and commitment to develop.
Remember, we’re looking for true love here – not just an intense and short-lived love affair. (We all know how most of those turn out, right?)
So instead of following your passion, what do you do?
You follow your curiosity.
Curiosity is gentler than passion. Curiosity makes you open new doors and try new things. Curiosity guides you from one thing to another, in a light and playful way.
Elizabeth Gilbert said “Curiosity only does one thing, and that is to give. And what it gives you are clues on the incredible scavenger hunt of your life.”
When I was living in the Dominican Republic, I was curious about latin dances. So, I took courses in salsa, bachata and merengue. The more I learned, the more fun it got. Eventually, it became a passion of mine. Today, I dance a few times per week. The dancing help me to connect to my feminine, to step out of my comfort zone, and to feel fully and completely alive.
And that all began with a slight curiosity.
Act on your curiosity
I know how frustrating it can be to not know your passion. I know the discouragement that comes with the advice to “follow your passion” – when that’s all you’ve been trying to do. I know, because I’ve been there.
So, do yourself a favor and relieve yourself of the pressure of finding your passion. Lift that burden of your shoulders. Put passion on the side for a while and instead invite curiosity in.
Allow curiosity to guide the way. Allow curiosity to be your new partner in crime. Allow curiosity to take you on a scavenger hunt with an unknown destination.
All you have to do is follow the clues you get and show up.
Then something magical might happen. Your curiosity might take you to your passion. (Or passions, in plural, as it was for me).
Photo cred: Sofie Stenmark, Model: My Charlotte Lestander