What do you want to do with your life? I mean really want to do, not just what you’ve accepted to get by? Many of us believe in following our passions, but few actually do this. Following your passion — whether it’s the job you always dreamed of or something you stumbled upon unexpectedly — is the key to staying motivated and happy in your job and in your life.
Passion as a Motivator
You know that feeling when you’re itching to get out of bed in the morning and get on with your work? When the idea of starting on a task lifts your spirit instead of weighing it down? When halfway through the working day you feel elated at what you’re achieving, rather than worn down and watching the clock?
If you don’t know that feeling then seek it out by following your passion.
When we’re working on something that we care about we’re driven by intrinsic motivators. We’re doing the work because we care about that work in itself, not just because we want to get paid for it. It makes us excited and attentive. It ensures that we’ll do all we can to achieve a great outcome, not just one that’s good enough. It means that at the end we’ll look at the work with pride.
Passion as Happiness
That sense of intrinsic motivation is what allows entrepreneurs to put in the long hours and hard work that make them stand out. They care about what they do and so enjoy putting so much energy into it.
It’s not a matter of changing your work-life balance. The very idea of balancing those two implies that your work is somehow not part of your life, despite the huge amount of time you spend on it. In many ways it’s an absurd idea.
Finding the work that you’re passionate about, dedicating yourself to it, lets you step beyond work-life balance and into a better place where work and life are fruitfully combined, where the excitement that you feel at doing something you love fills you with energy and fuels the rest of your life.
It’s living every part of your life in a way that makes you happy.
Passion Not Pig-headedness
Some people treat this idea of finding and following your passion as an oversimplified, naïve approach. But that in itself is an oversimplified way of looking at a life built around your passion.
Following your passion doesn’t mean taking a simple view of it, but instead having a nuanced understanding of where your passion lies, of the difficulties you may face in following it, of the unexpected places you may find it, that following your passion isn’t the same as following a child’s simple dream. It doesn’t mean acting unintelligently, following impulses and blindly sticking to your guns no matter what. It means understanding and intelligently reflecting on the work you’re passionate about, so that you become a great practitioner, not a fruitless fanatic.
Find it, Follow it
Finding the work you’re passionate about isn’t always easy. But listen to your instincts next time you have options of what work to take on. Notice which things stir your blood and drive you to action. Go with those.
Follow your passion.