Saturday, February 9, 2013

Screw passion, pursue something interesting

Chances are that if you have something you are passionate about you're not reading posts like this. If you're asking yourself "what should I do" or "how do I find my passion" you've read a hundred posts like this. I think that have found my "passion" but it's still a little too soon to declare victory. Instead I would like to talk about how I got here and what I'll do next.

Recently I read a blog post form +Joshua Fields Millburn at the Minimalist papers. The title is "Follow your passion is crap." The advice is to instead "cultivate your passion." In simple terms this means to work at something until it becomes a passion. If you are like me though it leaves you with the question of what to work at.

As a stay at home dad with three kids in school full time I had the chance to take time and figure out what I wanted to do. With eight "free" hours a day I could take classes, get a job, pick up a new hobby.  The options seemed limitless. I was paralyzed by the opportunity. It wound up being that I spent all my time trying to figure out how to spend my time. A viscous cycle.

When I finally came out of my rut I started to investigate things that I thought were interesting. I would somewhat arbitrarily decide what my "passion" was going to be and then read, research and think about the topic for a while. I pursued them because I found them interesting, not because I was passionate about them. Many of the things I pursued I still find interesting, but not passion inspiring. Fly fishing still fascinates me and I would love to be good at it. I do not see myself staying up late to tie flys or invest in the latest gear, I have no passion there. I really like golfing. Over the past year I realized that I enjoy being outside, hanging out with friends as much as I like the golf itself. I'll keep playing golf, but if my handicap doesn't get any lower it won't bother me. Again, no passion.

So I keep pursuing things that I find interesting. Some of them  will remain as hobbies while others will be put away in the memory bank as something I was once interested in. My expectation is that once I find that interesting thing that I want to stay up late working on I will have found my passion. Then I can cultivate it. My guess is that I will be elbow deep in something before I realize it's my passion but that's a good thing.

How about you? Did you wake up this morning with a pre-existing passion or are you going to pursue something interesting and give it a chance to become a passion?

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