Your Passion Is Closer Than You Think

Once you’ve discovered your passion (so we are told) your life will become drenched in meaning and purpose. When you know what your life is about, you can face each morning with energy and vigour. You’ll no longer procrastinate. All your bad habits will fall away. Not even rainy days or Mondays will get you down.

So we are told.

For a long time, I believed my passion would strike me in a moment of inspiration, like a bolt of lightning. My passion would descend from the heavens in a blaze of glory, and I would suddenly know the purpose of my life. A booming Hollywood trailer voiceover would tell me exactly what I should be doing and when. From that moment, my life would have meaning and my problems would disappear.

I also believed I should be able to call down the lightning bolt of passion wherever and whenever I wanted to. I thought there was something wrong with me because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t discover my life’s purpose┬áin 20 minutes. I felt anxious and stressed, because my life purpose seemed so elusive.

Then we got a pet dog, Ruby.

Ruby is a bundle of joy, and though she cannot talk, we know the things she love to do. She loves playing fetch with her red ball. She loves learning new tricks in exchange for treats. She loves the mornings when we appear in the kitchen, bleary eyed, and feed her breakfast. She loves walks in the park and playing chase on the beach.

How do we know all this? By watching her. Her posture and body language tell us that when she’s doing these things, she’s happy.

Your passion is closer than you think.

Perhaps, for a few select people, a voice from the heavens booms their life’s purpose.

For the rest of us, passion whispers softly, not in a life-changing epiphany, but in small moments, passing through us many times every day.

Passion is a thread running through our lives, and we discover it by watching ourselves and the movements of our hearts. Often, it is in the ordinary things. Your daily work, your family, washing the dishes, walking along the street, borrowing a book from the library.

Anthony de Mello tells a story of a little fish who asks an older fish:

“Excuse me, you are older than I so can you tell me where to find this thing they call the Ocean?”

Of course, the little fish was already swimming in the ocean.

You passion is like the ocean around the fish. It’s already there, everywhere, all around you, constantly changing yet always the same.

As Viktor Frankl says, the meaning of life is not some abstract concept only philosophers can discover. We can all find meaning in our lives every day, moment by moment, by facing up to our responsibilities, by living according to the still, small voice of our passion. Every person’s life has an individual meaning, and that meaning changes depending on their circumstances. In Frankl’s own words:

“The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour.”

You can find your passion, right now, by giving ear to the quiet voice of your heart. It probably won’t shout. It certainly won’t force or cajole. But it will help you to find meaning, in this moment.

Listen carefully, for passion is softly spoken.

David Masters

David Masters is a writer and blogger who believes in bringing soul to everything he does. He writes about social media with soul at Social Caffeine. You can (and should) follow him on Twitter.

41 Comments

  1. For me the theme that runs through this is being present. Present and open.

    A bit of wisdom I heard long ago: When I walk around with my hands tightly closed, eyes down, trying to hold on to what I have, I miss the opportunity I will have when my gaze is up and my hands are wide open to the abundance of the universe.

    Your story reminded me of this.

    Thanks!

    Love and light,
    Sue

    Reply
    • Thanks Sue! Your comment reminds me of William Blake’s poem:

      He who binds to himself a joy
      Does the winged life destroy;
      But he who kisses the joy as it flies
      Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

      Reply
  2. Hah you struck a chord with me! For a long time I was waiting for the booming voiceover and it never came. Now I realize it speaks very subtly and you have to nurture it. Great article.

    Reply
    • Thanks Mike! I’m not sure whether you have to nurture it, or whether it’s already there, and you just need to listen. Perhaps a bit of both.

      Reply
  3. I could not agree more! In each instance in my life when change has been on the horizon or when I was looking for the “way” to what I desired, my messages came as light taps on the shoulder, over and over again. It’s true, as Sue said above, that being present and being open to possibility is crucial to finding passion and then allowing it to lead us. I wrote about something along these lines recently on my own site – http://www.themeaningofme.com/thoughts-on-dreams/. Too often we wait for that big moment but miss the smaller ones right in front of us.

    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
    • Love the idea of a tap on the shoulder, like a secret agent of dreams coming along and reminding us that maybe we’ve lost our way, but the path’s over there.

      Reply
  4. Nice post. I love the last line. :)

    Reply
    • Yes! Silence & solitude & time without TV or internet. That’s how to listen :)

      Reply
  5. Thank you David for this article. I didn’t have the nerve to seek out my own passion for many years because what I thought it was, couldn’t pay the bills. And as a once single parent, paying the bills was all I could focus on. Thankfully, life moved on and I have since found the courage to move along with it. Yes, passion is the air beneath your wings that allows you to soar throughout your days. “giving ear to the quiet voice of your heart.” Is definitely something I’ve found great trust in doing.

    Reply
    • Congratulations on plunging into your dreams!

      I don’t think passion is always different from what we’re already doing. We live among many hard realities (including money), and we can find moments of meaning and passion amid those realities.

      Reply
  6. I find that my passion is in doing the things that I enjoy. As simple as that. You then have a choice whether you wish to ‘extend’ this enjoyment into something to shout about.
    Thanks for this, David

    be good to yourself
    David

    Reply
  7. Great article, when we find our passion we find the true meaning to our life, it would add a sweet taste to our days, i totally believe in this, and we should never neglect it and waste it because the saddest thing in the world is the wasted talent !

    Reply
    • Thanks Samar. I agree passion and meaning are intertwined, but I don’t think passion is one thing, I’m not sure it can be put into a single sentence. Maybe some lucky people can, but for me it’s about following the movements of my heart.

      Reply
  8. Haha, it took me 28 years to find my passion, but now I finally have it I know what all the fuss is about.

    I really believe everyone needs to find something they can commit their life to: whether that’s a job, a hobby, or anything else that takes their fancy.

    Reply
    • Yes – we all need to look beyond ourselves to a bigger purpose.

      Reply
  9. Great stuff, David. Personally, as i practice awareness and presence, passion and purpose are revealed as parts of me. Yes, as the ever changing ocean that is always the same. I am that ocean. I am that purpose. I am that passion. And the feeling is that of being at one with Nature. At least for me there was no loud voice calling. There was no epiphany. It came, as you say, as a whisper that didn’t grow louder but became more pervasive.

    Perhaps we become the whisper.

    Reply
      • Well put. And congratulations on your first article/post on the Change Blog.

        Reply
  10. Thanks David, It was one of the best articles that you have wrote ever.

    Reply
    • That’s kind of you, Amir. It’s actually my first article on the Change Blog.

      Reply
      • Damn! Because I follow The Change Blog articles via my email. Yesterday I opened the link to make a comment on this wonderful article and I didn’t pay attention the name of author. So congrats. You hit the jackpot :P

        Reply
  11. I enjoyed reading this.
    Funny enough, just like you said, everyone tells you how to find your passion and live in it, like it is some very easy thing to do.

    It takes a lot of ‘so- much’ to find this passion, and know how well to work with and in it.

    Our passion is outside, within, and around us… And really, it doesn’t necessarily shout or force itself to be heard.. Most times, it just whispers and requires you to take a moment, away from every other thing and every other person, for yourself; to listen to its soft whisper and understand your essence and purpose in life.

    Nice write.

    Reply
    • I think finding your passion can be easy, or at least relaxed. Being tense is a recipe to push it away.

      Reply
  12. Beautiful article David! :)
    I wrote about Passion on my blog a couple of months ago.. I even won an award for it. :) I found my passion in flying and writing, and I thank the Lord for gifting me talents that I enjoy having. :)

    Reply
    • Thanks Abinaya! Gratitude makes the world more beautiful, hey?

      Reply
      • Absolutely David!!! :)

        Reply
  13. that’s true
    i believe people can find their passion as soon as they give themselves sometime to try new things
    thanks for the post

    Reply
    • Yes, you can find your passion in new things, but often it’s already there, in the things you have.

      Reply
  14. Great post! To find my Passion, I’ve learned to reflect on all things I do. New things and old, and observe what brings me most joy!

    And I loved your reference to your dog. I have one as well, and life with her is like Communication 101.

    Reply
    • Thanks Leigh, yes, Joy is a great signpost to passions.

      And I know what you mean about your dog and communication. Ruby is still learning sit :)

      Reply
  15. Hi everyone,

    David I enjoyed your article very much and I’m so happy to have read everyones comments. I guess in reading your article I’m the little fish swimming in the “ocean”. If passion doesn’t come to us as an epiphany and it’s running through our lives in the daily things we do. Why is it I have a need to keep searching and not feeling that I have found my purpose. In my day to day life how is it that I can’t feel passion? Where is my passion?

    I look and I think to stop to listen but I never hear it or see my passion :-(

    Reply
    • Hi Laura,

      I know exactly how you feel, I’ve been there. In some ways, I’m still there, that’s where this article comes from (it’s as much for me as my readers).

      I used to expect to be able to know exactly what my passion was, and that it would be one thing.

      Gradually, I’m coming to accept that perhaps I’ll never have ONE THING (or even just a few things) that make me excited to be alive.

      Instead, I’ve come to see my life as already full to bursting with my passions: academic study, writing blog posts, writing fiction, cooking my own meals from scratch, walking Ruby, spending time with my wife, watching my favourite TV shows, going to church, sleeping in late on Saturdays.

      Before I would have said “oh, that’s just my ordinary, boring life”. Whereas now I’m starting to understand, those things are my passions.

      Makes sense? Comment again or Tweet me if you have more questions.

      David

      Reply
  16. thanks David love this idea of soft spoken passion……i got it…..!!!

    Reply
    • Nice one!

      and shhh… don’t shout about it, or everyone will want to know ;)

      Reply
  17. WONDERFUL BLOG!
    IT WILL REALLY HELP EVERYONE WHO CAN’T UNDERSTAND THIER PASSION….

    Reply
    • I hope so, pinky, and I hope it helps them in this way:

      They know that it’s okay.

      Reply
  18. Hey David,
    Truly a great post man, thanks so much for sharing.

    We see many of our users searching for their long-lost passion, but like you said, I believe it’s much closer than they think. It seems like many people are waiting for that ‘lightning bolt’ to go off, and when it doesn’t, it makes them feel even more worrisome and that doesn’t help at all either.

    Anyway, we’ll definitely be coming back to your blog to learn more as we too are looking to spread happiness across the world.

    Have an awesome weekend,
    Sean Goldfaden (Community Manager @ Thankaday.com)

    Reply
  19. Great post David. Our purpose is meant to unfold as we live our lives. Tuning into the passion we feel in our hearts we can be guided towards it, but, destiny is a series of lessons that allow us to grow and evolve. Even those who seem to have singular purpose are forever discovering the true nature of what they are passionate about.

    Reply
  20. Awesome blog David.
    I love this line “passion whispers softly, not in a life-changing epiphany, but in small moments, passing through us many times every day.” So true!
    Our purpose can be as simple as noticing what things give us the most joy, and then doing those things. And as simple as noticing who we really are at our core (uninhibited, authentic, self-expressed) and then being that.
    I’ve had conversations with people about this, and often we ponder if that is ‘enough’, as a purpose in this life. Like, ‘shouldn’t there be more to it?’
    But then we are all more than enough just as we are, and so being our true selves and embracing the little moments of joy we get from doing what we love is a huge contribution to the world, least of all because it allows anyone else witness to us to see that it’s okay to do so.
    I also believe that there is a flow to life, and if you tune into the quiet voice within and the subtle nuances of day to day life, you get guided forward – carrying you into the path of people, to particular places, where you can make a difference just because of who you are.
    Thanks for this post. I enjoyed reading it and the comments that everyone has made here.
    Best wishes
    Bernadette

    Reply

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