I watched a documentary on North Korea the other night.
I’m fascinated by the culture. It’s a world that is closed up, with little connection to the reality most of us take for granted. They live by their own rules, their own agendas. It’s not the fault of the people; it’s just the way it is.
They asked a young twenty-something man what he did for a living. He’d recently quit the military to go back to college. They asked him what his passion was. The man was stunned into silence.
He had no understanding of what “passion” meant. Something that is so basic for Westerners was incomprehensible to this man.
How do you find your passion when you live in that kind of environment?
Yet we don’t necessarily have it easier here, where we have every opportunity to discover what our passion is.
All you have to do is Google “finding your passion,” and you’ll know this to be true. Millions of search results turn up trying to guide you in the right direction.
Head to Amazon, and you’ll find hundreds of books vying for your attention.
Yet we stagger along, hoping one day “our passion” wakes up from somewhere within, hits us over the head, and jumps out saying: I’m here, I’m here.
This is your purpose. This is your passion. This is why you’re here.
But life doesn’t work that way.
Life is ever-changing. What you do on day one will be different from what you do on day 30,001.
Every new day brings new opportunity. Every day you enter the laboratory of life. Moving forward, you carry with you the resources you need to conduct experiments over and over again, finding out who you are and what you’re all about.
Talk to the ten-year-old me, and I might have told you I wanted to be an artist.
Talk to the twenty-year-old me, and I was heavily into pursuing a real estate finance degree.
The thirty-year-old me was knee deep in babies, trying to juggle work and family and commitments.
The forty-year-old me was taking charge of my health like never before. I ran a triathlon that year.
The fifty-year-old me sold off my family home, got rid of two-thirds of my stuff, and set off to travel the world.
Would the fifty-year-old me have anything in common with the twenty-year-old me? I was a completely different person.
Some people think they have “found their passion.” They haven’t.
In 83 years here on earth, (or whatever you’re fortunate enough to experience) you might have 500 passions.
Passions are things that capture your attention for a very short time. They mold you. They define you. They give you direction.
But they change over time.
And that’s a very, very good thing. Can you imagine being stuck in a world that only allows you to live out one passion in your life?
To be the person you were when you took your first job? Or the person you were when you had your first child? Or even the person you were as you faced an empty nest for the very first time?
A passion is a moment in time in this laboratory of life. And while you’re there, play, experiment, test out a few theories and see what sticks.
Then test, test, test.
Because some things will work for you. They might work for you for a very long time.
Other things, not so much. They may excite you for a week, a month, a year. But eventually, something says, no more.
So you walk into the next passion. They next thing in your wonderful life.
You play. You discover. You grow.
And you let it go.
It works with everything. Things. Relationships. Jobs. Skills. Interests.
There’s a time and a place. To experiment is to live. To do anything else is nothing but sheer disappointment.
Every morning is a clean slate.
What should I do today?
Should I do what I did yesterday?
And if so, how can I change?
Do you ask yourself those questions?
Is your laboratory changing all the time?
If not, why?