You will meet many people who don’t know where they want to go or what they want to do with their life. They don’t know what they want to major in university, what career they want to pursue, what their passion is. Maybe you’re one of those people.
People spend their 20s trying to find themselves. They want to find a purpose to their life and a goal to work towards. But many are still looking for the answers when they get into their 30s and 40s. Sometimes even beyond that.
Let me tell you about a tool to make the journey a bit easier. A sure-fire way to find your passion and yourself.
Whenever you hear a fact, there is a reaction inside of you. An emotion. We learn that there are many different kinds of emotions: joy, sadness, anger. Even embarrassment or awkwardness. But all of these fall into 3 categories. Positive, negative and neutral or somewhere in-between.
Your emotions are basically telling you if you feel good or bad about something. So if you take them as guidance, it will help you to find out more about yourself. You can use your emotions as a compass for navigating your life.
I call it the inner voice.
Reasons why people refuse to listen
Listening to your inner voice means that you have to become aware of your emotions and express them. Well, you are probably thinking that this is too simple. And trust me, it’s quite hard to implement it in your life, because many people are not able to hear their inner voice or they refuse to listen to it.
Imagine this situation. A good friend suddenly becomes very sick and has to go to the hospital. Turns out he doesn’t have much time left and now he’s spending his last days in his hospital bed. What do you do? Are you going to pay him a visit?
Many people won’t. They want to avoid having to deal with the negative emotions associated with that situation. They would rather stay away. The dread that’s present in the hospital halls. Echoes of foot steps. Cold, blue lights. Just thinking about it is uncomfortable.
But you’re missing something. Despite all of these negative emotions trying to push you as far away from the situation as possible. There should be a faint voice telling you: Go. Go and visit your friend.
If you listen to the voice and go visit your friend, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. You pushed through your fears.
How do you become aware of your inner voice?
Many people have difficulties listening to that inner voice. Especially young boys get told that they have to be „strong“ and that they shouldn’t show their emotions. But by living like that you practice to suppress the inner voice until you become unable to hear it.
There are a couple of ways to fix this and to actively work towards become more aware of your emotions.
Try to think of an opinion you hold. Now, why do you have that opinion? The reasons why we form opinions is either a direct result of our feelings or because we parrot other people’s opinions. If you hold an opinion because you took it from other people, actually take a moment to reflect if you agree with it.
Let me give you an example.
I never took drugs. My main association is that drugs are bad. But the reason why I think that drugs are bad is not because I read studies about the short and long-term effects of drug use and then determined that taking them is harmful. No. I think drugs are bad because people told me that they’re bad and I shouldn’t take them when I was young.
I never had any experience with drugs or ran into people who have until I was in my 20s. So I had no real-world experience which confirmed my beliefs.
Here’s another example.
A while ago, I saw people making fun of Donald Trump for tweeting that golfing is his main form of exercise. They say that golf is not exercise. It’s an activity for old, rich people to flash their wealth. And it’s boring. Incredibly boring.
This is a common opinion associated with golf.
When I was playing the golf mini game on Wii Sports, I felt a curiosity inside of me. Since the video game version is kind of fun, I was wondering if the actual game might be fun as well. The seed was planted.
When I talked to a former classmate a while later, he was very excited to tell me about his adventure on the golf course. With his help, I got a free beginners’ course in our local golf club. Despite all of the negative thoughts flying around, I really enjoyed my training session.
What’s the endgame here?
My example on golfing is about listening to your positive emotions. That’s your inner voice telling you: Hey, this sounds interesting. Maybe you should try it.
By following-up on this initial curiosity I found out that it’s actually really fun and interesting! If I continue to play, I would find more and more that I’m really enjoying it. So much so that I would realise that I found a new hobby.
I don’t believe that you can snap your fingers to find your passion. Maybe if you’re wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. What you can do, is find things which make you curious and interested. Then it’s time to act. Try things out and see if your curiosity is rewarded.
You will find that your positive feelings will grow. More and more. At some point you will be able to tell if you found something which excites you so much that you could call it your passion.
Another way is to start with a negative emotion. They are not bad by themselves.
For example, I recently attended a workshop with a psychologist who gave a presentation about changing mindsets. I took away a lot from the workshop but when I looked around the room, I saw many of the other participants having an annoyed or blank expression on their face.
I actually felt sad for them. I could see that the lessons that the psychologist was trying to convey to us were very fundamental. But the participants were not open to hear his message. They refused to listen. They were stuck in their way of thinking.
I took my negative emotions and decided for myself: I want to bring the message to these people. I want them to experience the same fundamental changes I have. I want them to express themselves and live their lives to the fullest.
I’ve been interested in self-improvement for almost a decade by that point. But the experience I had in this workshop changed my thoughts from „I want to improve myself“ to „I want to help others improve themselves“. I did this by listening to my inner voice.
Now, I want you to practice becoming more self-aware. Try to find YOUR inner voice and start doing the things that create a genuine sense of curiosity in you. Don’t find your passion, CREATE it within yourself.