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Why finding your passion is less important than developing one

finding your passion
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

A 2018 study showed that finding your passion is less important than developing your passion. What’s the difference, you ask?

It seems developing your passion takes a lot more time and effort than finding one. Believing the myth that finding your passion will make you happy can actually serve as a form of self-sabotage.

When we’re taught finding our passion is key to fulfillment, we believe it should come naturally. When it doesn’t, we’re apt to think it was never our passion and give up on it.

When we're taught finding our passion is key to fulfillment, we believe it should come naturally. When it doesn't, we're apt to think it was never our passion and give up on it. Click To Tweet

In the study, college students lost interest in their found passion when it proved more difficult to learn and understand than they had first thought.

In contrast, developing a passion means expecting to have to work on it. We accept it will take time and effort to pursue the passion. Difficulty is not an indication of misplaced affection.

Here are three areas where developing rather than finding your passion will improve your outcomes and overall life satisfaction:

1. Relationships

The found passion myth resembles the soul mate archetype. We believe there’s a perfect person out there for us who will fulfill all our needs.

When the passion wanes, which is inevitable, we start to believe this isn’t our soul mate after all. If they can’t meet all our needs, are they the right one for us?

If we have to work on the relationship, doesn’t that indicate a lack of true passion? Since we were meant for each other, this should all come more easily, we believe.

The truth, of course, is that all relationships take work. Often, the work enriches the relationship by helping partners understand each other better.

2. Work

My passion is writing and has been since childhood. However, that passion has needed development and always will.

Most writers attest that book writing is less about passion than keeping your butt in a chair until you crank out the requisite words in the right order.

A famous author quote goes, “I don’t like to write but I love having written.”

Online writing requires learning skills such as marketing, website creation, and graphic design. These are all part of developing my passion.

3. Personal growth

Believing your passion will require little or no effort to pursue is the product of a fixed mindset. Fixed mindset people think we come into this world fully formed. They say things like, “people don’t change.”

If you think the sign of finding your passion is that it comes easily, you won’t put in the effort to grow and change. Instead of enjoying the personal growth and development that comes from figuring things out, you’ll give up and say that’s not for you.

If you think the sign of finding your passion is that it comes easily, you won't put in the effort to grow and change. Instead of figuring things out, you'll give up and say that's not for you. Click To Tweet

When we challenge ourselves to learn and understand new concepts, we grow in ways that may have nothing to do with the topic or passion at hand.

We grow in confidence because we show ourselves we’re able to stick with something hard. We prove our resourcefulness and courage to push through pain and claim the end reward.

Developing your passion is more fulfilling than finding one. It helps you discover yourself and grow in ways that would be impossible if you only grabbed the low-hanging fruit.

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