If you are like me, you get a solicitation for a “Find Your Passion” workshop at least once a week. It’s a hoax to make you think that you’re missing out on something if you aren’t skipping to work and coming home with a pile of cash every day. These types of myths are responsible for so much misery. They feed people two lies: 1) Everyone can make lots of money doing what they love and 2) Anyone can be happy if they just figure out what they are here to do. To that I say it’s time to challenge the “Find Your Passion” nonsense.
All Work Has Value
The “Find Your Passion” programs usually promise that you can do whatever you want and make tons of money doing it. This can make some people feel that if they aren’t making lots of money, they’re a loser doing a loser’s job.
All work has value. Everyone needs clean dishes. We all need shoes. All people need to eat. Dishwashers, cobblers, farmers and cooks are all essential to the running of the world. Even if you do these things for yourself and not for work, they are all important jobs.
When you say to yourself things like “I am wasting my life in this job,” you are not living in the now. Right now, you’re doing something that benefits someone. It may not be rocket science or brain surgery, but the world doesn’t need a million rocket scientists. What would we do with them all? Communities need librarians, truck drivers, mothers, teachers, lawyers, printers, writers, researchers, and so many other things. Nobody can do everything, so we need people to do different things. All work has value. When you see the interconnectedness of life and value the service you provide by doing what you do, you give yourself the opportunity to feel fulfilled at the end of the day.
You don’t have to do something “special.” Without all the every day things that go unnoticed, life as we know it couldn’t exist. When you sew that button on, stock that shelf, guide that tour, or ring up that sale, you are making the wheels on someone else’s life turn. If nobody pats you on the back for that, do it for yourself. When you know your value and take pride in your work, perhaps you will feel you spent your work day doing something worthwhile.
Not All Work Has Enough Monetary Value to Support You
While all work has value, not all work has enough monetary value to support you. Goods and services are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. If you are the best dancer in the world, but no one is willing to pay you a living wage to dance, you can’t realistically make a living doing that. This doesn’t mean you can’t dance. It just means that you will have to find another way to feed yourself. And a girl’s got to eat.
There is nothing wrong with this. It doesn’t make you less of a dancer. It doesn’t devalue your ability or your worth as a person. Lots of famous artists died before their talent was appreciated. It just means you can’t do what you love as your primary means of support.
A balanced life gives us time for work, love, family, self-care, and play. If you aren’t able to support yourself doing the thing you’d most love to do all day long, you can still do that thing on your own time. It can be a second job, hobby, volunteer project, or just something you do for yourself.
Some Things That Bring Joy Aren’t Work At All
It’s really appealing to think that you could get up, play all day, and get paid for it. The funny thing about that is that money has a way of sucking all the juice out of things that used to be fun. There is pressure to perform, to be worth your salary, and to stay as appealing as you were at your peak. With those parameters, it’s hard to keep things fun.
On the other hand, things like fishing all day in a creek, knitting, researching about cats, or teaching children how to sign may never pay you a dime, yet give you far more fulfillment than any paycheck. I say this to remind you that some things that bring joy aren’t work at all. The thing that inspires passion doesn’t have to be work nor does it have to be something you are paid to do.
Passion is a Choice
What you might gather from the information above is that passion is a choice. It’s not the work, the fun, or the money that makes a person passionate about a thing. It’s a choice. We can choose to value what we do, give it our all, and enjoy it, or not. Granted, a social person might find it more challenging to be passionate about working in a toll booth than someone who enjoys being alone, but this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Attitude is everything.
Passion Isn’t Something You Do. It’s Something You Feel
Remember when the Grinch gets the realization that Christmas doesn’t come from a store? Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? Passion is the same thing. It doesn’t come from anything outside of you because it’s not about doing, but feeling. Millions of us stand under the sun and stars each day and night, yet most of us never look up to see them. Passion is the same way. It’s available to you right now if you have the heart to feel it and the eyes to see it. Every moment is filled with beauty. Be present with it. Know what that you contribute to it with everything you do. When you have that sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself, and that knowing that you serve others as you serve yourself, your being and your work matters.
If you chase things outside of yourself hoping to find happiness or fulfillment, you may get there only to find that now you need the next thing. When you look within, you don’t have to go anywhere, do anything or have anything more. The world is within you. “As above, so below.” You might need help developing the eyes to see inside, but you don’t need anything outside of you to complete you.