How to Build Passion

Can we really find passion? Is an utterly life-fulfilling activity just waiting for us to discover it?

I don’t think so. We can try as many activities as we wish, but if our goal is to discover passion, we have to try as many activities as we can. Thus, our understanding of each is superficial. We are searching, not mastering.

I don’t think we can find passion. Instead, we build it. Here’s how.

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A. Push yourself to do it. Now that you’ve found your activity, chase it with all you’ve got.

Open your mind to learning all there is about your activity. Google, consult books/magazines/Quora, find mentors, ask your friends, watch videos.

Anything new seems exciting and fun. In the beginning, learning may seem motivating by itself, but you’ll eventually face the most difficult challenge—being consistent. Sustaining your activity on off-days, or getting back into it after time off, is difficult for everyone. But fear not: there are tricks for dealing with this!

  • Accountability group: CollegeInfoGeek suggests forming an accountability group. Get your friends involved with what you’re doing, and you’ll get sources of friendly competition and motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Visual reminder: A YouTuber I follow, SimpleProgrammer, uses his facial hair to enforce his fitness regimen. He won’t shave his beard until he reaches a certain body fat percentage.
    • As small as it seems, it’s an effective visual reminder that’s hard to get rid of—or forget. Do something similar. Establish a visual reminder to remind yourself of what you need to do.

B. Relax and take small steps. A lack of motivation is deep-seated and takes time to be rewired. Whether it’s understanding your emotions or building your passion, neither can be attained in a day, a week, a month, even a year.

Change is gradual. But every day, make progress.

You crawled before you walked.

You used training wheels before riding a bike.

We take small steps because throwing ourselves in headfirst all the time is unsustainable.

If you’re running, run for 10 minutes daily, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, and so on. Master your basics first, then start adding layers on top of those basics.

I call this strategy reverse-onion peeling! As you master more of your craft, your onion will gain more and more layers.

C. Give yourself time to reflect. Thought is as valuable as action. Keep a journal, log, or Excel sheet, some way of measuring your progress and what you’ve learned. Writing down your thoughts will make you more confident in your ideas and offer ideas for where to go next. It’ll also help you track your thoughts and craft a cement route to take as you progress.

We lose motivation when we don’t see ourselves succeeding. That’s why we get so excited when someone “Likes” our FaceBook posts, or when we win trophies.

But building your passion is different because you’re creating your own source of motivation and validating yourself, rather than waiting for others to validate you.

This gives you more responsibility, but also means that you’re working for yourself. When you become dedicated to making progress for yourself, it becomes harder to ‘float’ around in life.

Some parting thoughts:

D. Passion gains depth over time.

If you aren’t able to stick to an interest or a project, it’ll seem superficial. You haven’t spent enough time or sweat or blood or tears on it; you haven’t faced enough challenges with it to call it your own.

But as you spend more time on it, you’ll understand it more. It’ll become a passion because you know it better, and you remember the journey you took to get to that point. There’s a history that you and your interest have spent together.

As an analogy, a romantic relationship does not simply materialize. You dedicate time and effort into understanding another person. The passion you feel results from a connection you forge with the other person. This passion takes time to grow, even from an initial attraction. But the depth of understanding you gain is worth it.

E. Be reasonable with your expectations for yourself. If you push yourself too hard, you’ll lose motivation, so plan wisely and be ready to adjust. Change is a fragile state, so proceed with caution. Don’t rush things. You will get there with time, and be stronger for it.

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In Conclusion:

Follow these steps. Plant seeds, nurture them, and watch your onions grow and prosper.

Now get to work.

Image credits:

Beard, Crawling Baby, Training Wheels, Onion, Journal

Originally published on Quora. Follow me here!

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