Why should you follow your passion? Why should you find something you love? Why does it all matter?
In this episode, I’ll share the 7 deep discoveries you’ll make while following your passion and why it’s important that you do!
Listen to the episode below:
Doing what you love is an art in itself. If you can bring that level of focus, willpower, and drive to your passion, it’s a wonderful yet bittersweet ride.
As you go through the process of finding your voice for the first time, slowly build up the belief and create some of your best and some of your worst work, you discover a number of things — good and bad.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before:
“The journey is more important than the destination.”
That phrase seems to downplay the importance of the destination to being zero, but once you start on your journey, when you start following your passion, when you go from trying to find meaning in life to finding meaning in life, you make discoveries about this process and the true meaning of that phrase.
These will be unique to you, as is all experience, and only you can do this journey for you.
Here are the 7 deep discoveries that you’ll make on this road. These are the reasons why you you must follow your passion.
1. You’ll Discover The Strength To Face Your Deepest Fears
Between fight or flight, flight almost always wins as it is the easiest thing to do. We can have a number of fears, but we would rather keep them inside and locked away, never quite gaining the courage to facing them head on.
And why would we — after all, running away seems to be the simplest way of dealing with them.
Your journey will make you face these fears.
All fears are in your head, and when you are creating, they will be front and center. No good work gets done unless you’ve resolved those fears, because all fears seek closure, a complete reassurance that everything will be alright.
Sometimes, your fears will help you create. Your work — whether it is art or something else — will reflect those fears, those boundaries which you don’t wish to cross. Other times, you will simply come to terms with a particular fear while you are working on your passion.
The fear of failure is a friendly devil here — it’s easily recognizable and accepts defeat easily.
Your deepest fears are fears you don’t even think about, locked away by the mind, never to be recalled.
Your deepest fear is your sadness. The sadness of having lost someone or something is truly a fear of never being able to have that experience, feeling and emotion again. Your deepest fear is that sadness you will feel if you lose someone or something today.
You’ll start to see them as just another part of life and a deep hope will fill you, and you’ll cleanse your mind of the fears that were binding it for so long.
2. You’ll Find Your Deepest Joy
Just like finding and facing your deepest fears, you’ll also find your deepest joy. This isn’t happiness, because happiness is fleeting and doesn’t stay for too long.
Your joy, however, is as real as those fears and also as powerful.
But, there’s a reason this only happens after you’ve faced your fears first. Why? Because our fears stop us from truly enjoying our ride, and where the fences of fear end is where the serene, quiet, rustic ranch of joy begins.
Think of this joy as the fun you can have on a Big Ferris Wheel. As a child, when you first go on the ride, it’s scary. Scary to a point where you’ll cry and beg to not be taken on it. You don’t see any merit in why it is something you should put yourself through and “just for kicks” isn’t a concept you know or would understand.
You’re propped up onto the seat nonetheless, and then begins the scream-fest.
For the first few rounds, you keep your eyes shut. And it begins to feel slightly fun. Then, a few rounds later, you start to keep your eyes open, you begin to not only face but actually accept that fear. Now it’s called “thrill” and you are finally able to enjoy the ride.
All the joys of life lie beyond their respective fears.
As you are living your passion, you’ll run into various fears that you have and as you face them, they’ll reward you with your deepest joy. You’ll reach a place where just doing what you love will be enough and nothing else would matter.
But, going back to the Ferris Wheel, you probably already know how boring it gets after you’ve done it a few times. There comes a point where you’ve faced your fear enough for it to not matter at all, and so it stops bringing you any joy. This is where you try new things, new rides at the carnival that look super weird and against the laws of physics.
This is where many artists become boring, because they go back to the fear of failure and the ride stops being joyful for them. That shows up in the art they create — more of the same. If you choose fear again though, try new things, you’ll find your joy again.
3. You’ll Experience The Deepest Peace
In the movie, The Walk, Philippe Petit walks on a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. It was his penultimate performance — it was crazy, thrilling, fear-inducing and awesome all at the same time.
There were many lessons about friendship, courage, raw gumption and passion that you could take away from it.
Throughout the actual walk, Philippe goes through a flurry of emotions: fear, joy, doubt, pride.
The one feeling that stands out though is when Phillipe looks down at the audience — something a wire walker would never do — and he feels… peaceful.
Just a serene, simple peace.
This is something that anyone who’s worked on something passionately will talk to you about. They may call it “flow” or that time has no meaning, or that they get “lost” in what they’re doing.
But, ultimately, it’s this state of peace that they can experience when they are not just following, but living their passion.
As you start understanding your fears and finding your joys, you will begin to reach a state of peace and calm. Your journey to follow your passion will help you glimpse this state over and over, and this is what makes people keep coming back to doing what they love again and again.
This is where you discover that you actually love what you are doing and transition into truly doing what you love.
What I’m saying may come across as a play of words, and it is, because this peace or content or stillness is the closest you will get to being you — the pure consciousness that you are.
This you is not bound by religion or the misunderstood new-age spirituality that hogs all the space in the “self-improvement” section at the bookstore. As you follow your passion, and do your art and get better at it, you’ll find that you may be getting better at your art over time but you — the awareness, the being doing the doing — stays the same.
There’s nothing to improve, just replenish and that’s what your passion will help you do.
4. You’ll Possess The Deepest Power
If you stick with what you love to do long enough, you’ll reach the point of power. Your passion helps you face your fears, find your joy and attain peace. When you’ve done all of that, what were once your masters become your slaves.
Your fears, once too big to tackle, will now help you create. Your joy, once too small to notice, will now help you create. Your inner peace, once almost unfathomable, will now help you create. These three wildly uncontrollable things will be within reach and within your control.
This is how artists are able to “dig deep” and create things you ask of them.
A lyricst can write a sad song without being sad, or a love song without being in love in that moment. A painter can paint beautiful portraits without having a face in mind, or an angry, repulsive sketch without being angry herself. A writer can write a thrilling story without being scared or a romantic tale with an unhappy ending without actually being unhappy.
When you’ve faced your fears, found your joys and glimpsed the peace, they become tools in your arsenal — just like any of your other tools.
This is where you’ve spent “10,000 hours” on your passion, as Malcolm Gladwell puts it.
You’ll always be good enough at your art, but you’ll discover your deepest powers once you let go of your fears and joys to replace them with their new versions: as friends, sisters, brothers, family.
Again, I know I may be sounding too much like some monk or at least a self-improvement guru type, but I want you to follow your passion and see this for yourself.
And you won’t need to wait 10,000 hours to sense this by the way. The fact that you are already on the way, the feeling where you’ll recognize the seeds of this deep power comes quick, even without you having faced all your fears or having found your joy.
5. You’ll Recognize Success (and Money) For The Distractions They Are
Somewhere during all of that, you will come upon a fact that anyone who’s ever followed their passion knows: success and money are irrelevant. In fact, they might become distractions if you aren’t careful.
As you keep diving deep, you start to enjoy the process of whatever your passion is. When you sit down to do what you love, and collect your thoughts into a coherent whole that you can share with the world, this journey starts to be way more than what you originally thought it was.
Sure, there are bumps on the road. And in some places, there will be no road at all. You’ll not feel good about what you’ve created after a long week of sleepless days and nights or hate it to the point of throwing it out the window, but you’ll still respect and love the process.
Because it’s the process that makes your passion, your passion. The results are just an added bonus.
Any money or success that you originally started looking for, or maybe you were even motivated by, would fall by the wayside as the journey takes centre stage.
I was reading an article by the rapper Macklemore, who wrote that famous Thrift Shop song you might know. And he shared how success and money in any form make you afraid.
They make you go back to the same fear that you left behind. Because once you have success, you are too afraid to create anything that might fail or go against what you created before.
I love what George Carlin, one of the world’s best and my favorite comedian, shared about creating new material.
Here’s what his writing process was like:
The first thing Carlin did every year is to throw out all of last year’s material. It may be bad work, good work or his best material — but he threw it all out without prejudice. And this helped him create new material which touched upon all sorts of things. He was never afraid to push the boundaries of what was good or acceptable or funny, simply because whatever funny he wrote last year was done, dusted and gone!
As long as money and success stay “nice-to-haves”, they serve you and your passion. And this is something you learn as you go along on your journey.
6. You’ll Share What You’re Discovering To Help Others
This, I call the spillover. Once you’ve discovered how powerful following your passion can be, you cannot help but share everything you are finding out. It will become part of what you talk about. It will become part of what you write about.
You will become this source of positive energy, inspiration and passion for others around you and those that you’ll find.
This is also when you will realize that your passion and your journey are bigger than you, and you won’t be able to stop yourself from telling others about it. To anyone who’ll listen, in the hope that it will push them to follow their passion.
This is what the Passionative Podcast is about, if you haven’t guessed it. I am loving every bit of this, and it’s my hope that what I say here — something, anything — pulls at your heartstrings and gets you back to doing what you love.
You’ll find someone just starting out and clear up some confusion they had but didn’t know they could resolve.
You’ll find someone who’s further along in their journey, and help them move past a wall they may have hit.
You’ll run into someone who’s at the same level as you and you’ll bounce ideas off of each other, gaining new insights in the process.
And you’ll find people who are farther along in this journey than you are, and your passion and excitement and giving nature will show them you are for real and they’ll be more than happy to share their own thoughts with you.
And all of this also spills over into other areas of your life, and lets you sort out things in ways you didn’t think was possible.
It’s hard to describe the sheer amount of good vibes you going after your passion helps you release into the world and also get in return.
It becomes its own feedback loop, effortless and powerful and commendable.
7. You’ll Discover YOU. Over & over again.
What does following your passion look like? What does doing what you love and living what you love feel like? Where does all this lead to? What does this journey mean?
I like to think of it as a pilgrimage.
Following your passion is a pilgrimage.
Just like a religious pilgrimage is a journey to find God, following your passion is a pilgrimage to find the God in you. This is the most important journey a human being can take — finding something they love, and going the full distance.
As we do this, we discover ourselves. Over and over and over again. It’s the Big Ferris Wheel, that never stops and keeps bringing you joy and love and happiness and all things nice, as long as you keep your eyes open.
As long as you stay on. As long as you stay on.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, insights and questions! Please leave a comment…