Recently, I stumbled upon a new hobby that I think could be a new found passion. It’s hard to say right now, but I have four other things in life that I would consider my “passion” and this is starting off very similar to those other four. Passions are interesting because they generally at not the same for everybody. I’m not sure what makes something a passion for one person and just another hobby for another, but it’s apparent in the level of dedication and commitment someone puts into it. Basketball was probably never a hobby for Michael Jordan, while some would argue it still is for Dwight Howard. Coding was a passion for Bill Gates when he was only 16, as he used to sneak of his parents house at 1am to work on his skills at Washington University – a time that other teenagers would be sneaking out to party. This led me to thinking how can people come across passions and be able to recognize them as such, so they don’t just pass them by. After some careful reflection, I came up with three things that would probably help with this.
I. TRY A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS
This should probably be the most obvious one. The way for you to discover a passion is to (modifying the lyrics of rap legends Outkast), “Get up, Get out, and DO something.” That’s it. I’m not necessarily saying that you have to be on the go all the time to find your passion, but you do have to be intellectually curious, and by DOING something, I mean you need to read, explore and see all the different things that life has to offer to know that there may be something out there that truly clicks with you that you can make your passion. If you are a little more adventurous and like to travel a bit, your odds of finding it will increase dramatically. Now, this isn’t to say that you have to try everything that you come across. That would just be insane, but if there’s something that sticks out to you and seems interesting, instead of thinking that would be cool to do, why not give it a run to see if you have a knack for it or it ignites a joy in you that other things don’t? Many people stay on the sidelines and complain of not having enough time or energy to put themselves out there. Don’t be that person.
II. TAKE NOTE OF YOUR EMOTION EACH TIME YOU DO IT
Now this is the important part. There are a lot of things that we could all probably be good at if we put enough time and energy into it, but the question is how do you differentiate one of these million possible things from your “passion” (the thing you feel like you were meant to do)? And that just it: Take stock of the FEELING you get each time you do it. Anything that you start new is going to be hard. That’s a given. The question is, however, do you still get excitement and a thrill each time you do it? Some people may be surprised that writing ISN’T a passion of mine (some may not if you think my writing is terrible anyway…haha). So why do I do it? I do it because I enjoy the reflection that it allows me to have on my own life and allows me to live out one of my other trues passions: Coaching and helping to motivate others. I often find myself finding reasons to put off a post for a week or so when I’ve had a long weekend of doing “whatever” that makes me realize this is not a passion. Running, on the other hand, is one of my major passions that I’ve had ever since I was 14. From the very first moment that I realized I naturally had a knack for it, it has become a part of who I am as a person. Whereas, I look for reasons NOT to write at times, I FIND reasons to run whenever I can. The excitement that this bring with each time I do it, regardless of how well I perform is still there, which helps me know this is a passion for me.
III. DON’T GIVE UP TOO QUICKLY
Lastly, this is the reason that many people may not ever get a chance realize a PASSION to the fullest extent. I use the example of one of my other passions: playing pool. Not everyone knows this, but anyone who has seen me around a pool table will know that this is something that is near and dear to my heart. The funny thing about it is that I’m NOT that good, but I enjoy playing it more than almost any other recreational activity out there. I’m not sure why exactly. Maybe it’s due to the use of geometry and strategy that gets my mind going or the opportunity for me to continue to increase my dexterity and skill level in my lifelong pursuit to become ambidextrous. Whatever it is, I always look for a pool table close to me when I’m in a city. Now even though I’m not that good, I’m not that bad. I would say I’m pretty average. I do remember, however, a time when I was TERRIBLE. Think Carl Lewis trying to sing the national anthem terrible. (Please click here if you’re not sure what I’m talking about or just want to relive one of the funniest moments in the history of the WORLD). I remember one time about four years ago that I was playing by myself at a pool hall, trying to work on my game. There were a bunch of people around me, as it was a packed night. I wanted to make sure that I had a good break so everyone would be impressed with my skills and not think I was a novice – which I clearly was. This was, and continues to be, one of the more weaker parts of my game, so I had to concentrate to make sure it was good. I went through all the motions that I was taught by others and hit the ball as hard as I could. Not only did I not have a good break, but I hit the cue ball at such a weird angle that it popped off the table to only graze the one ball and land on the floor to roll into a corner. No one said anything, but I could hear the laughter inside others behind me, as it was pretty funny. I could’ve just given up then and went home, but I kept playing because I truly enjoyed doing it (And if I just packed up and left, I would’ve looked crazy.) I knew I would have to put in the work if I ever was going to get better. Many people will start a passion, but as soon as it starts to become a little challenging or they have set back, they give up. You can’t allow yourself to do this. As long as the joy is still in you most of the time that you do it, you have to push through and not let anything stop you from improving. As you get better, it becomes even MORE enjoyable, so you have to get through the “learning stages” to improve your skill level to match the excitement you have in your heart for it – something Carl Lewis probably should have realized before getting on the national stage…
Passion. There’s nothing more exhilarating then when you find that one thing that (in the words of my man, Victor Antonio) is your “thang.” That thing that every time you do it, you feel a sense of excitement and joy that very few other things give you. Life can be a little humdrum at times, so it’s on us to seek out these passions and pursue them with all of our heart to truly give ourselves a chance to live a life that, unfortunately very few people do. So ask yourself today, are you living your passions. And, if not, I have two questions for you: 1. Why not? and 2. What are you going to do about it?