Habit 10: Find Your Passion
Of all the habits in Zen To Done, this one is the most difficult -- and yet, perhaps the most important.
If you do one thing in this book, this is the one I would recommend. Is it essential to the system? No. You could apply all the other habits, skip this one, and be productive, calm and organized. But this one step will make you not only much happier, but more productive.
Give it a thought: if you really want to do something, you’ll work like hell to get it done. You’ll work extra hard, you’ll put in even more hours, and you’re less likely to procrastinate. It’s for work that you don’t really care about that you procrastinate.
If you dread going to your job, or find yourself constantly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing dull and repetitive, you need to start looking for a new job. Staying in your current job will not only continue to make you unhappy, but you are not realizing your full potential in life.
Imagine this instead: you get up early, jumping out of bed, excited to go to work. You might put in more hours than the average person, but it doesn’t seem difficult to you, because your work hours just zoom right by. You are often in that state of mind often referred to as "flow", where you can lose track of the world and time, losing yourself in the task at hand. Work is not work as many people refer to it, but something that is fun and interesting and exciting. It’s not a "job" but a passion.
If you’ve got a job you dislike, or even hate, this will sound like a pipe dream to you. And if you never put in the effort to find what you’re passionate about, you’re right: such a thing will never be possible. But dare to dream, dare to imagine the possibilities, and dare to actually search for what you love, and it is not only a possibility, but a probability.
What do you really want to be doing right now? (Don’t say sleeping!) What do you love doing? What is your dream job, and how can you get it? Give this some thought, not just right now but for the next few days. First you must identify that job, and then you’ll have to plan how to get it.
How to Find Your Passion
What if you don’t know what your passion is? Don’t fret -- you’re in the same boat as many people. The key is to start the search, and to keep looking until you find it.
Here are some suggestions:
- Is there something you already love doing? Do you have a hobby, or something you loved doing as a child, but never considered it as a possibility? Whether it’s reading comic books, collecting something, making something, creating or building, there is probably a way you could do it for a living. Open a comic book shop, or create a comic book site online. If there’s already something you love doing, you’re ahead of the game. Now you just need to research the possibilities of making money from it.
- What do you spend hours reading about? For myself, when I get passionate about something, I’ll read about it for hours on end. I’ll buy books and magazines. I’ll spend days on the Internet finding out more. There may be a few possibilities here for you - and all of them are possible career paths. Don’t close your mind to these topics. Look into them.
- Brainstorm. Nothing comes to mind right away? Well, get out a sheet of paper, and start writing down ideas. Anything that comes to mind, write it down. Look around your house, on your computer, on your bookshelf, for inspirations, and just write them down. There are no bad ideas at this stage. Write everything down, and evaluate them later.
- Ask around, and surf for possibilities. Ask other people for ideas. See what others have discovered as their passions. Look all over the Internet for ideas. The more possibilities you find, the more likely your chances of finding your true passion.
- Give it a try first. It’s best to actually test your new idea before jumping into it as a career. Do it as a hobby or side job at first, so that you can see if it’s really your true calling. You may be passionate about it for a few days, but where the rubber meets the road is whether you’re passionate about it for at least a few months. If you pass this test, you have probably found it.
- Never quit trying. Can’t find your passion at first? Give up after a few days and you’re sure to fail. Keep trying, for months on end if necessary, and you’ll find it eventually. Thought you found your passion but you got tired of it? No problem! Start over again and find a new passion. There may be more than one passion in your lifetime, so explore all the possibilities. Found your passion but haven’t been successful making a living at it? Don’t give up. Keep trying, and try again, until you succeed. Success doesn’t come easy, so giving up early is a sure way to fail. Keep trying, and you’ll get there.
How to Get There
Once you’ve found your passion, you’ve taken a huge step towards happiness! Congratulations! Celebrate this fact, then roll up your sleeves, because you’re not there yet.
Here are some suggestions for actually living your passion:
- Don’t quit your job just yet. If you find your calling, your passion, don’t just turn in your resignation tomorrow. It’s best to stay in your job while you’re researching the possibilities. If you can do your passion as a side job, and build up the income for a few months or a year, that’s even better. It gives you a chance to build up some savings (and if you’re going into business for yourself, you’ll need that cash reserve), while practicing the skills you need.
- Do some research. Who else is doing your dream job? What is their experience? How did they get the job? What are the requirements? Research it on the internet, ask people you know, make some calls. The more info you have, the better.
- What are your obstacles? What do you need to do to get there? Do you need an education? Do you need to know the right people? Do you just need to fill out an application? Do you need to learn some skills?
- Make a plan. Work out some solutions to your obstacles. If you need an education or skills, you will not be able to execute this plan overnight, but if you don’t plan it out now, you might never get there. Lay out the path to your success.
- Take action. Don’t wait for opportunity to come hit you on the head. Go out and grab that opportunity. Execute your plan - do at least one thing today, and each day, until you get there. It might seem like it will take forever, but if you really put in the work, you’ll achieve your dreams someday.
- Practice, and practice, and practice some more. Don’t go into it with amateur skill level. If you want to make money - to be a professional - you need to have professional skills. Get very good at your future career and you will make money at it. Practice for hours on end. If it’s something you love, the practice should be something you want to do.
- Be persistent. Don’t give up because you’ve been rejected a few times (or even a lot of times). Keep knocking on doors. Keep making those calls. Keep submitting your resume. Keep making appointments. Don’t ever let up. The person who is relentless will win over the person who quits.
Land your dream job, doing something that you’re passionate about, and you may never need to motivate yourself to be productive again.