If you are bored or not happy in life, the key is having a passion. If you want to transform your life and feel meaningful on the face of the earth, you need to have a point to your life. It could be your job, your career, or your hobby, but it needs to be something that you are simply absorbed with. And I’m not talking about obsessive-compulsive: I’m talking about a passion, something you love doing.
I talk to so many young people in their 20s immersed in some very sad state, going nowhere, and feeling a lot of pain and confusion about life or a relationship. I typically ask, “What’s your dream?” I’m amazed at how almost 100 percent of the time I get nothing back. Children are not being brought up anymore to imagine there’s a point to their lives and something they are talented at that they need to commit themselves to. Their job should be to maximize it, respect it, be patient with it, water, fertilize, grow it, and let it bloom. People who do that are typically not depressed, sad, exhausted, or bored. There is something about a passion and a purpose that makes people live longer. When people give up on life, they usually give up on living in a general sense. So, it’s really important you know what your passion is.
How do you find your passion?
One cute way is to ask people who know you, “What do you think is my thing?” A lot of times you will ignore what you have a knack for because you grew up in a family where somebody said it was stupid, or you figure you can’t be great at it and you definitely can’t make money with it.
I have a number of passions, and they really save me when bad things happen. My biggest passion is my radio program. I’ve been doing this for a span of 35 years. I can’t imagine not doing it. Sometimes people say, “Don’t you just want to retire so you will be able to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it?” Well, I sort of do that now because my radio program is my biggest passion.
I feel very fortunate to be able to exercise my biggest passion. And it was by total accident. I was off being a scientist when one day, I decided to call into a radio program. They liked what I had to say so much that I was asked to be on the radio show once a week for a year. I then decided I ought to know more about what I was talking about so while I was teaching full time, I enrolled in a marriage and family therapy program at USC. It was then I discovered something I never knew before: I had the ability to hear and put things together in a way which proved valuable in helping people with their problems. I didn’t know I had that in me. It wouldn’t have occurred to me, but I wonder if people who knew me then thought so as well.
So, I came upon my passion accidentally. And of course, I’ve added a million other things, and the crafts I go crazy over.
Additionally, using your passion to contribute to the well-being of others is seemingly simple and not very complicated. For example, the daughter of my friend who just recently died is going to start a charity association where women who are dealing with cancer can go to beauticians to have their hair and nails done to make them feel better. It’s a small thing, it will never be made into a movie, and most people won’t even know about it, but other human beings will be made happier. I think that’s huge. It’s like ripples in the water – if you make one person happy, that in turn affects the people in their own house, and then those people impact others, making them happier.
I found a list of 15 questions that you can ask yourself to help discover your passion and life’s purpose:
- Take out a few sheets of loose paper and a pen.
- Find a place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your cell phone.
- Write the answers to each question down. Write the first thing that pops into your head. Write without editing. Use point form. It’s important to write out your answers rather than just thinking about them.
- Write quickly. Give yourself less than 60 seconds a question. Preferably less than 30 seconds.
- Be honest. Nobody will read it. It’s important to write without editing.
- Enjoy the moment and smile as you write.
- What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
- What were your favorite things to do in the past? What about now?
- What activities make you lose track of time?
- What makes you feel great about yourself?
- Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
- What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
- What do people typically ask you for help in?
- If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
- What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?
- You are now 90 years old, sitting on a rocking chair outside your porch; you can feel the spring breeze gently brushing against your face. You are blissful and happy, and are pleased with the wonderful life you’ve been blessed with. Looking back at your life and all that you’ve achieved and acquired, all the relationships you’ve developed; what matters to you most? List them out.
- What are your deepest values?
- What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you’ve overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
- What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
- If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
- Given your talents, passions and values. How could you use these resources to serve, to help, to contribute? (to people, beings, causes, organization, environment, planet, etc.)