Wanted: Passion for something – anything will do

Take a look at anyone really successful in their subject matter and you’re find a couple things that got them that level of success: passion and perseverance. The ability to pick yourself up when things don’t go your way and keep working towards your goal is the first one that is really important. You have to learn from your mistakes and grow.

The second one, passion, is a bit more elusive. I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thinking lately and I’m noticing that a good reason for my situation (still being in debt) is in a very large part a lack of passion. I think that this is a situation that a lot of people find themselves in. I’m not sure if people notice this or not but when you look around you tomorrow how people are really passionate about what they’re doing?

Is passion something that only a handful of people happen to have? I don’t think so. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that people either loose their passions somewhere along the way or they simply don’t nurture their interests to the point of becoming passions. A lot of HR books and people writing posts about finding your passion write that you should start with what you wanted to be as a child. Personally I don’t truly remember what I wanted to be as a kid. It changed and often had the wrong things associated with it.

I didn’t grow up with wealthy parents, we were never so far into debt that we didn’t have food or anything remotely close but we also didn’t have our own house because or much extra money. My parents were reasonable people that provided for our needs and some occasional expenses. In part this lead me to wanting to be things like lawyers or people in positions of affluence. I know now that most of these jobs that I ‘wanted’ to be were for the wrong reasons and I wouldn’t enjoy them now.

Which brings me back to a starting point that I’ve been bumping into for a few days now; what am I passionate about? Unfortunately the answer is elusive even if it exists. There are a few things that I enjoy as interests including personal finance which is why I write about it but when I take a step back and really look at my results there is a lot more that I could have done. This blog has been up for almost two years and I’ve done pretty well with it I think. Truth be told I’m still blown away that there are more than 165 people that subscribe to the RSS feed. But unfortunately I write about personal finance and my personal net worth has stayed virtually the same since starting this site.

What does that say about my passion for personal finance, and growing my money? The answer isn’t a whole hell of a lot. In the two years that I’ve had this site I could have significantly lowered my credit card debt and paid off my car loan. Both are under control and very slowly lowering but they’re still there. My investments and savings are limited because a real drive to get rid of them is missing.

I read a great post this morning by Leo from Zen Habits that says you shouldn’t compare yourself to others and I have to agree. My weaknesses compared to another persons strengths does me no justice and only helps lower my self esteem. But I would say that comparing yourself to successful people who gives you a point of reference to learn from. I can see potential for growth and having passion about something and I find that it’s lacking when I compare myself to others not as a measuring stick but to see what they’ve done.

I honestly think that this is an open topic of thought for myself and I think that I need to cultivate some of my interests into stronger ones and potentially passions. I originally started this blog writing about money with the goal of having a million dollars of liquid assets by the time I turn 35. I’m now 31 and I make about half of what I was making when I started writing. I am doing a lot of introspective thought and I will be looking at everything a little bit more critically to see what I’m doing and to see if I can’t find that passion (at least when it comes to money I know was there once).

5 thoughts on “Wanted: Passion for something – anything will do”

  1. Great post. Funny, I just wrote a post (before reading yours) called “Introspection” that wasn’t all that different from yours. I don’t think that the thoughts you’re having are all that uncommon. The muck will clear for both of us in time.

  2. This is a great topic. For some time, I’d been frustrated by the advice to find my passion as I felt like I didn’t have any. However, I think finding your passion is nothing more than knowing the answer to “what gets your fire going?” And we all have something that would light that fire, if we, as you say, nurture that interest and learn more about it, and along the way learn more about ourselves.

    The thing of it is, I’m now convinced that it’s never going to be a single answer. At least, it’s not for me, and I’m no different than many other people. The source of my fire changes from day to day, but the selection of interests stay the same: project management, productivity, comic books, animals, personal finance. A single one of the group won’t keep me going all day every day, but pick from one of the group any given day and odds are, they’ll play a huge part in how well I perform or how happy I am TO perform.

    I like the idea of surrounding yourself with excellence to supercharge your own life, which sort of necessitates some comparisons of oneself. Ok … rambling now .. 🙂

  3. I am one of your 165 RSS subscribers, and until 10 minutes ago, yours was just another blog on my PF feed – just something I’d check for updates every few days. This post, however, changed everything.

    It’s funny, really – I found myself thinking the same exact thing over the past few weeks. My background is very similar to yours and I don’t have any hobbies or issues I particularly care about. Does that make me (and you) a drifter? Heh. I haven’t been able to find a remedy to this problem. I decided to concentrate on my work and self-improvement (reading, working out, etc.) instead, but it feels like I’m just going through the motions, doing it just for the sake of doing it. Please post an update if and when your situation changes.

    Thanks. 🙂

  4. I have the same problem picking up on a passion. I recently started trying a few new things just to see if I could build a passion for them. Mostly hobby type stuff. I find that with most things I am more or less like “meh.. it’s ok”.

    If you have not already seen it there is a post over at The Simple Dollar that has a few tips for finding a passion.

  5. I’d say you’re already farther than the majority of people out there, simply because you’re taking the time to reflect on such issues. As long as you are consciously searching for something that you are truly passionate about, it should find you. Too many people just wander through life, lacking any inspiration or the will to find something worth pursuing.

    By the way, nice link Matt.

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