“Follow your passion” is very popular advice but it’s not so practical once you give it a second thought.
Exploring what makes us curious instead of passionate is much more sensible.
Many times we associate passion with geniuses. With scientists who read books and took notes from the time they woke up until the day was out. With writers who kept creating worlds in their typewriters while everything else had to wait. Or with athletes who practiced one and a thousand times with enough discipline to achieve their goals.
Those geniuses had it figured out. Their passion spoke to them, dominated them … and they had no choice but to obey it.
Following our passions is not such a romantic concept when we have to apply it to our daily activities. Sometimes there are significant periods of time in which passion as such does not appear. Also, we should acknowledge that plenty of people just aren’t clear on what their passion is.
Feeling that we lack something because we don’t have a passion can cause a lot of anxiety.
Am I the only one? Is it weird that I am not particularly fond of anything? *Spoiler alert: no.
It also leads us to wonder why we even bother to do what we do, if we’re not passionate about it. The result is feeling discouraged and uncaring.
If we let ourselves be carried entirely by a routine (that does not satisfy us) we feel like spectators of our own life.
Instead, let’s be the actors.
When we’ve been spectators for too long, we forget our desiring part. The one that gives us the impulse to create and live with more spirit. And therefore, the advice of “follow your passion” works even less.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert proposes that we forget the word passion, which is usually surrounded by an air of mysticism, and in an act of kindness, she encourages us to follow our curiosity.
Curiosity only ever asks one simple question: “Is there anything you’re interested in?” Anything? Even a tiny bit? No matter how mundane or small? […]; In that moment, if you can pause and identify even one tiny speck of interest in something, then curiosity will ask you to turn your head a wee bit closer. Do it. It’s a clue. It might seem like nothing, but it’s a clue. Follow that clue. Trust it. See where curiosity will lead you next.
Gilbert’s advice seems to me very sensible since every human being is a desiring being and, from an early age, curious.
If we didn’t desire anything, we would have no reason to act. So, consciously or unconsciously, desire is what moves us.
But, as we’ve seen, desire doesn’t always feel like a burning flame. It can also present itself as a small flickering light. If we follow it, we will find out if the path we take leads us to where we want to be or not.
What makes you curious?
Follow that clue.
Be the lead actor in the play of your life. And in the spirit of curiosity, keep in mind that you do not have to become the best, nor an expert, nor change jobs, or anything. You simply have to give yourself a chance to experience the things that catch your eye. In this way, you will enrich your routine and your life.
Rather than looking for our passions outside,let’s tune inwards, and pay attention to our curiosity.