Recently, I’ve come across some very smart people (TedTalk speakers, writers & thought leaders) who aim to discredit and argue against the notion of finding and pursuing your passion. My rebuttal argument against those naysayers and debunkers is simple: anyone that is preaching to forget your passion, or telling you not to follow or pursue it, is simply mis-defining the true essence and full meaning of the notion.
My argument is grounded in another broader notion and belief that all of our views and beliefs are based first and foremost in language. How we communicate our ideas and how we define that language to ourselves and to others is absolutely critical. My conviction that we should all discover, connect with, engage in and do what we are passionate about is grounded in the language I choose- “Seize Your Passion”- and in how I choose to define that very deliberate and specific language choice.
To clarify, here is my definition of “Seize Your Passion” and what it is NOT:
Almost all of the debunkers of the notion define “finding your passion” as just that. They define it as passively waiting around to magically and miraculously somehow someday stumble upon or uncover your passion. Or, even worse, they define it as passively waiting around for your passion to serendipitously find you.
But, my notion of Seize Your Passion is about actively, continuously and consistently learning about, seeking out, engaging in, and connecting with things you love, stuff you’re good at, activities that bring you a sense of fulfillment, joy and growth. It’s about making a choice to go out there and connect with whatever brings you alive. It’s a call to action to get out there and do. To learn, to grow, to fail, to take risks, to try. That’s where the magic lies; the magic happens when you start doing and discovering and growing. You create the magic; the magic does not find you nor will you find it hidden under a rock somewhere.
The debunkers also tend to define the notion of passion as being about one singular passion or purpose that you must choose for life. But, we are all multi-faceted; we all have many different interests, talents, and skills that lead to various passions. What’s more, at different stages in our life, as we grow and evolve, so too do our passions. Seize Your Passion is about as many areas of your life as you choose it to be.
Another misconception is that you must listen to your heart at the expense and exclusion of everything else. Seize Your Passion is not about not listening to your head, or throwing all reason and practicality out the window. It’s not about being unaligned or disconnected or in contradiction with your other goals and aspirations. It’s not about being impractical or unrealistic or living in la-la land. We are all made up of mind, body and soul, and to truly listen to our heart, our head and our spirit need to be in it too.
Finally, the biggest misnomer of Seize Your Passion is that it’s always about your career or job choice. The notion of seizing your passion is not necessarily aligned with your career or job. It can be; but it doesn’t have to be. You can seize your passion in one or more areas that have nothing to do with how you make a living. Also, you can have a fulfilling and rewarding job or career that may or may not be aligned with one passion, but still have other outlets and room for your other passions in other areas of your life.
Often these erroneous definitions stem from having an end goal of success for success’ sake. But, Seize Your Passion is not about other people’s approval or feedback or how society defines “success”. It is, however, about the end goal of contribution – contributing to yourself and to others. It is about creating value to add value. It is about self fulfillment, self-growth and happiness – which, does always lead to true success. It is about internal choices and decisions YOU make. It is about self awareness and being true to yourself. It is about listening to yourself, and learning about yourself. It’s about all these things, and more.
So when people say – don’t follow your passion, or forget your passion – it’s because they are mis-defining what Seize Your Passion really means. Just as you choose to seize it, you also need to choose how you define what it means to you. Because how you define it, and what it means to you is exactly what it will be. If you define it as waiting around for it while your life passes you by, or as just one singular thing, then you will probably end up agreeing with those naysayers.
But if you define it as all these things that you believe in, and incorporate every aspect of what it means under that definition, and actively implement and engage in that belief and definition – then the magic will happen – because YOU will be creating that magic. So, be careful about how you define Seize Your Passion; and listen to how others are defining it when they debunk it. And most importantly, go out there and seize it! #SeizeYourPassion!
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