A few years ago, I felt lost.
I still feel the same way, often.
But it used to be worse then. I felt useless, as I thought I was headed towards a never-ending journey. My life was passing, but not the way I wanted it to.
All this while I wished for a reason – a purpose. Something to which I could dedicate myself and feel happy.
Then it changed.
I do not feel that way anymore. Life seems good. I can be at peace. I know what I should work hard on. And I do.
If you’ve gone through the same phase, you know it’s hard. Life feels blurred when you don’t know what your goals are.
I won’t wait until I have a white (or bald) head to share what I have to. So if you think I’m not wise enough to give advice, maybe I’ll create a similar posts years later, when I’ll be old.
For now, this is all that I’ve learned after going through different phases. Anyway, it’s not some advice either. Just a few lessons I’ve learned.
I’m not writing this post for the sake of writing it. It matters to me. I wish someone had told me these things when I had started. That would’ve made things easier for me.
I’ve observed some other people and realized that these steps have been a part of their journey as well.
To me, it seems like the ways are always the same. The people who follow their passions have many bits in common. They cross similar milestones.
If you’re still struggling to find your passion, dream, or what might make you feel at peace, here are a few ways to help you.
I hope they work for you.
1. Understand your intentions
Everything starts here.
Listen to the voices within you.
I wanted to inspire and share through writing and communicating. You may want to spend time with nature and become an adventurist. Or a politician if you’re fed up with the system and wish to change it.
Although you may be unaware of your passion, you can always rely on your intentions. They’re the signboards which direct you towards your bigger destination.
It’s really not that important to figure out what you want to become.
Though, it’s crucial to understand what you want to do.
2. Listen to your instincts
Your heart doesn’t lie.
Though your aspirations might seem illogical at times, you know what’s right for you. You can feel an uneasiness within you. It doesn’t let you sit still. It urges you to do something.
This feeling is precious – because ultimately it gives you signals which help you find your passion. Mind your instincts; they’re powerful.
I wished I could express, help, create and influence at once. My instincts told me I should write. I started writing.
Some people create music, some become software engineers … because they follow their instincts.
Your heart always takes you somewhere beautiful; let it.
You might feel you’re kidding yourself at first. You’ll doubt whether you’re on the right path.
Still, if your feel diverted, ever, then follow your instincts and keep going.
3. Find what doesn’t tire you
I’m a lazy dork when it comes to doing chores and other stuff.
But when I’m doing my thing, writing and work – I skip meals, I don’t find excuses to go to the bathroom and I do not mind sleeping less.
I don’t get tired.
Even if get tired, I still go on.
I feel like doing more and create as much as I can. Most passionate people, the ones deeply in love with their work, see their work as an opportunity instead of a burden.
If something doesn’t make you tired, it might be your passion.
4. Start small (and early)
Early means as soon as you can.
Right now is a good time to start if you know what your passion is.
It’s better to stumble and keep going than to live in fear and convince yourself with hopeful lies.
You never become good enough. There aren’t always enough resources and opportunities. You keep waiting for free time … and you keep waiting.
If you’re among people soliloquizing to yourself “one day I will …” then here’s a reminder – the right circumstance and ideal time is an illusion.
Waiting for the sea to be totally calm before sailing is a lie.
Years later, even if you succeed, you’ll still wish you had started earlier.
Also, your chances of succeeding are higher when you start early.
You make mistakes sooner. You learn your lessons. Then, you slowly move towards the stage where success is an obvious result.
5. Realize your strengths
This is important.
Your passion is somehow linked to your strengths.
We all spend our lives trying to fix what we suck at. In the course, our strengths get left behind.
You always have a set of qualities which come from within. You’re naturally good at them. Or at least, you find them easy.
List down your strengths and figure out how you can combine them all to get closer to your passion.
Maths? Communication skills? Emotional intelligence? Sports? Tech?
Find what your strengths are and combine them all to get close to your passion.
It matters the most.
Your work strengthens your hope and belief. It shows you that what you’re doing isn’t foolish. Your doubts vanish when you work harder.
You only become lost when you don’t do something for your passion.
Most people who doubt whether they’ll be able to achieve what they want are the ones who haven’t worked hard enough.
Your path becomes clearer as you work more.
Are you an aspiring singer thinking “Will people listen to my music?” You wouldn’t know unless you sing songs, and some more songs until they really start paying attention.
Or you can keep wondering whether they’d listen.
It’s the same case in all areas – you work hard to find out your worth.
7. Move ahead
You’ll barely feel alright.
The voices in your head won’t stop echoing. They’ll always tell you, “you’re a fool.”
They’ll tell what you’re doing is useless, and force you to give up.
Then there are critics all around you. They’ll laugh at you and keep reminding you to be more realistic.
If you’re weak, you’ll give up easily thinking you’re a fool to pursue your passion.
It’s never easy. You don’t know what’s going on. Or whether you’re really winning or not. It always takes guts and determination to inch forward.
Be ignorant, and stubborn.
Keep your eyes on the plan and move ahead. If you’re really passionate, you’ll do it.
8. Love what you do
You follow your passion because you love it, right?
You’ll get reasons to hate your work as well. You’ll be frustrated.
You’ll want to give up when your expectations break or when you feel incompetent.
Embrace the road you’ve chosen.
Nothing feels like a bliss forever – your passion is similar. It has its own downs and hateful sides but stick to your work until you make it easy.
9. Be prepared to change
Not all plans happen.
This is the ultimate practicality.
You won’t always get what you want. What people said may be true – you can’t do it. Not always.
Want to be the captain of the national soccer team? Great. But guess how many other people want to … and most of them won’t.
Maybe, it’s you who won’t become the captain, ever.
Does this mean you’re a loser? That’s the catch. No, you’re not a loser. It’s just that you didn’t become the captain – but you can still play soccer, or teach it and continue your passion.
To be true, you really don’t need to ‘become someone.’ Doing what you want to do is enough honorable.
You may not become the rockstar of this decade, but you can sing forever.
You may not write bestsellers, but you can write for the few of those who care.
Sure, you can aim for the best – but don’t ever underestimate the little opportunities either.
10. Endure the odds
You know it.
Things don’t always turn out the way you want them to be.
You fail, you take longer to reach your goals, you realize that you’re making mistakes and you discover aren’t as good as you think.
Unpleasant things happen. New challenges come out of nowhere. Be prepared and face those.
It’ll be worth it.
11. Grow gradually
Skyrocketing success is a fantasy.
Certain people might have prospered quickly. I haven’t been through that. I can only ask you to work hard and to be persistent – it works.
Appreciate all the little successes that come along your way and keep collecting them until you reach where you want to be.
Find out ways to do more work. Pay attention to the details and learn them. Aim for small successes.
You’ll succeed, eventually.
12. Don’t feel ashamed to play small for a while
You’ll be underrated.
You’ll need to do small things for a while. Bear with that – you’ll get what you deserve ultimately.
However, while you through all the drudgery and get less than what you’re worth, you become a sharp maven.
It’s alright to remain small for a while.
Small businesses go big. Untrained people become stars. The curve always starts from the bottom until it hits the sky.
All trees were once just seeds, right? Take pride in being small and learn.
13. Connect the dots
What did your past teach you?
How can you use your lessons to mold the future?
Look back and observe. You’d find your answers. Lessons, teaching, failures, and stuff – collect them all and discover what they’re saying altogether.
Things you loved doing in the past might be a signal to finding your passion.
14. Find the right people
You can’t do it all alone.
You’ll always need people – to help you, teach you and to trust you.
It’s a lie that people can succeed alone; the world is governed by interdependence.
Here’s a tip: find people who’d mentor you or back you up and genuinely become an inseparable part of your journey.
You may have a crowd of followers or only a handful of well-wishers. It works either way.
But make sure there’s a bunch of right people by your side. Be with them. They’ll make you better.
15. Escape your limitations
Even if you can rest, find something you cannot do. Find your limitations and try overcoming it.
You can decide to work harder, raise the bar of goals, and experiment beyond your usual practices.
Stagnation is fatal.
16. Improve yourself
Be an asset of importance. It’s the only way to show the world what you deserve.
It has been a simple rule – If you want to get what you want, be worth it.
Try to be worth your passion, no matter what it is. Refine your work. Hone yourself. Become so good people would look at you in awe.
If that doesn’t happen, keep going on.
As long as you’re improving you can be assured that good things are on their way to you.
17. Hold on
Some circumstances are hopeless.
Nothing new happens. You get tired of what you do. Your efforts seem to go in vain.
Unfortunate but true, you might even feel like quitting.
When that happens, hold on. Cling to your passion. Have the courage to finish what you start.
In the journey to pursuing your passion, there’s no finish line – just some new milestones.
18. Care less about the outcomes
The only people who get disappointed are the ones with high or unrealistic expectations.
Staying hungry and wanting more than you can give snatches your purpose from you.
Don’t focus too much on fame, money, or other gains. This is not the goal of a truly passionate person.
Your ultimate goal is to find ways to keep doing what you love.
19. Do it for yourself before you do it for others
That’s the thing about passionate people.
They’re passionate because they love what they do, not because they’re controlled by their external influences.
First of all, your passion is for you. The outcomes it produces are for the world.
Always begin at the core, with yourself and then plan your next steps from there.
20. Ignore the world and keep moving
The world may appreciate you or criticize you.
But listening to it is a bad way to judge yourself.
Accept praises with a smile and contemplate the criticism, but never treat it as a measure to evaluate yourself.
Do great work. Give as much as you can to your passion.
Above all, listen to yourself first. The whole world comes second.
21. Help others
It’s a truth.
When you keep working hard, good things happen.
Soon, you might even reach the place where you once wanted to be. You’ll have the happiness you once craved for. You’ll become what you once wanted to become. You’ll be powerful.
That’s when you gain some responsibilities and need to be prepared to help others.
You’ll find vulnerable and weak people going through struggles, like what you had gone through.
Be there for them.
It’s okay to feel lost
No one has it all figured out.
Having a passion is a good thing, but not knowing what’s yours isn’t that bad. As long as you’re trying and thinking, great.
Don’t stop. You’ll soon have your answers. Keep seeking them. And here’s a final tip – search for your answers within you. That’s where you’ll find them.