After reading my last blog, SoulMeetsBody asked the pertinent follow up question of how to discover passions or new paths in life to pursue. Clearly for some, it bubbles out of them from some unknown source consuming them as if they have no other choice. One of my best friends from high school was like that. He knew from the age of 7 that he wanted to be a doctor. He loved watching those anatomy and open surgery educational shows when we were young. Unfortunately, he ended up having a very lengthy and tortuous path, but he never wavered in his determination or passion. He struggled with the MCAT's and subsequent testing. He joined the Navy, because he couldn't afford medical school. They didn't allow him to train for the type of medicine he wanted, so after his 7 years of service he started all over with a new residency and internship. In fact, he just became a partner in a pediatric allergy practice last year, at the age of 41.
For those of us who don't have one all consuming passion from an early age, the journey to discover our passions involves looking inward and outward. Take a step in either direction and you are that much closer to finding it. You may wonder what I mean by that. When you look inward, you are examining who you already are and what you have done. What have been the motivating factors in your life to this point? What gives you extreme happiness and joy? It could be sports, music, games, movies, or certain hobbies. You will often identify your passion by seeing what activities you've most enjoyed or have been most motivated by. When you look outward, you are examining things outside of yourself. Areas of the world you haven't explored yet. If you don't find passions within, then it's time to consider looking outward. You can accomplish this by traveling, taking classes in new areas, studying related subjects to ones you've enjoyed in the past. By opening your mind to new experiences, you can discover new passions in areas like cooking, the arts, creating or crafting things, reading, adventure, or business etc.
Once you identify your passions, whether they come from from within or without, the challenge is to incorporate them in your world as much as possible. Invest your time in understanding the various aspects of your particular passion. Dig deeper. There are almost an endless array of vocations that exist outside of the doctor, lawyer, engineer and businessman world, each with their own value and meaning. They may not all be equal in compensation, but they are each potentially equal in their passion and relevance to your identity and purpose. If someone applies themselves fully into whatever vocation they choose, they are all equal in my eyes, and I would hope yours. Let discovery be your mode and passion be your guide. As JackDogWelch commented on my PC blog 'would you rather fail at something you love or succeed at something you hate? I say go for it!