There's really nothing like a global health crisis to really put things into perspective.
This year, more than ever before, social media has been inundated with stories of people quitting their jobs, discovering their passions, and starting their own businesses. Students, especially, have also had to deal with seismic shifts in the way they learn and study with many deferring their university overs or taking a gap year in between semesters to regroup and find themselves against in the midst of the current pandemic.
This has all led to a huge nation-wide refocusing on the important of mental health and personal wellbeing as more and more people begin to advocate for doing what you love and living your life the way you want to live it. But what happens when you feel like you don't have a particular passion? How do you go about finding it?
Well I'll let you in on a little secret, everyone has a passion - and we're here with seven question to help you find out what that is for you.
1. "What do you find relaxing?"
Most people think of passion as some blazing, all-consuming drive inside of us, but I prefer to think of passion as the thing that soothes your soul. It's not always what wakes you up in the morning, but more so about what helps you sleep peacefully at night. In order to find that thing for you, you need to ask yourself what you enjoy doing in those quiet moments throughout your day. It doesn't matter if it's reading, or crocheting, or watching really obscure movies from the 1960s - whatever it is, it needs to give you some kind of inner peace and tranquillity amongst the hustle and bustle of your everyday life.
2. "What did you enjoy as a child?"
This is one of my favourite questions to ask people, since everyone's answer is so different. We’ve all experienced our childhood differently, and so there are so many different things that we can discover by remember what we enjoyed as children. Children are also innately creative, and too often this natural creativity is smothered as we grow up - either through school or through parents' expectations.
When searching for your adult passion, try to reconnect with your inner child and think about your own natural enjoyment of life. Another way to approach this question, is to ask yourself "how would my childhood self view my adult life?" Would they think the life you're living right now is "fun?", what if they thought it was "boring?" - and how would you change that?
3. "What can you talk about for hours?"
This a great question to get to the heart of what topics truly excite you. When asking yourself this question, you might be able to answer it right away - maybe your favourite talking point is something more general like music or film, but it can just as easily be something a bit more nebulous.
Whatever it is, it might be an important indicator of your inner passion and your challenge will be excavating this topic and turning it into something to help you direct your life and career.
4. "If money was no object, how would you fill your time?"
Here's a fun little visual exercise: picture yourself living in a world where money just doesn't exist. You no longer need to work to support yourself and you have an abundance of free time at your disposal. Now ask yourself: what are you doing with all that time? who are you with? Where are you living?
Your answer might be radically different from your current position, and while you may not be able to completely remove the burden of financial security from your life, you are able to take small steps to bring yourself closer to that dream life you've just envisioned. Finding your passion and allotting time to enjoy it is one of those small steps.
5. "What do you enjoy at this moment in time, what do you find fulfilling or important in life?"
This is another introspective question that's meant to help you identify the positive things in your life right now, and figure out how to cultivate more of them. This doesn't have to be anything monumental; if you're a student or a recent graduate the chances are you're still searching for fulfilment in this new stage of your life. That's okay.
The purpose of this question is to help you seek out those little pleasures in life, the things that make your life worth living, and use that to help you find something more. Maybe your little pleasure is writing in your journal every night before bed, to do more with that, why not try writing a blog to get your words out there and feel your writing skills. This could develop into a passion for content writing or journalism, or even just stay as your own secret, little passion project.
The point is, find what you love and do more of it.
6. "What do you not enjoy about your life right now, what do you find draining or stressful?"
And now for the antithesis of the above question: "what do you absolutely not enjoy about your life right now?" It's not a nice question, but it's one you should ask yourself all the same. Just like the previous question should help you find the small things you enjoy and maximise them, this question should help you find the things that cause you stress in life and then take steps to minimise them.
Of course, there are everyday stresses that we just can't avoid: school, work, money, family. However, even simply acknowledging the issue is sometimes enough to help lighten the burden. If you can't completely remove the things you dread in your day-to-day life, then finding healthy coping mechanism should help to make them more manageable.
Discovering your passion and minimising the negative aspects of your life should, ideally, come hand in hand.
7. "When you picture your life ten years from now, what does it look like?"
Finally, another visual exercise: picture yourself in ten years, what does your life look like? Are you still working at the same corporate office, or are you off exploring the world? are you a painter, a designer, a teacher? Whatever it is that you see, it's time to start pursing it. Everything in our life starts with an intention, and having a clear image of your future is the first step in actively pursuing your passion.
Try to keep this question in mind before each new action you take. Is that new job you're applying for taking you one step closer to your ideal future-self? Is that course you've just signed up for going to help you develop your passion and make you happier in life? If the answer is "no", then it's time to course-correct.
For more inspiration and advice, along with the latest jobs and graduate schemes, sign up to GradTouch here.