Discovering Your Passion
Talent is something you are born with but skill is something that takes years of nurturing to master. How do you master your skill? By beating on your craft over and over again for a sustained period of time. What is your craft? Well, that’s up to you, but let me try to provide a bit of clarity.
What I’m referring to by “beating on your craft” is discovering what you’re passionate about and then eating, sleeping, and breathing it until you become a master at it. Sounds easy, right? I mean why wouldn’t you want to eat, sleep, breathe something you are passionate about? The difficult part for so many people, however, is the inability to decide what craft it is that he or she wants to pursue, and then “beating it” again and again for a prolonged period of time.
Most likely you have heard, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” Wouldn’t it be great if that were true? If all you had to do to make a living is follow your passion and do what you love? It sounds doable, right? But unfortunately, it’s not necessarily true.
Society has painted this perspective as the key to happiness and a successful business. In reality, the things we love change frequently throughout our lives and success and accomplishment come from overcoming barriers, not breezing through life with perfect ease. Society has encouraged us to “abandon ship” every time we fail at something. We struggle to stick with something when we’ve failed, even though failure simply shows us what not to do next time.
Albert Einstein is a great example of someone who had to work hard to overcome barriers to pursue a passion for something that didn’t necessarily come naturally to him. Many don’t know that Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old nor did he read until he was seven. One of his teachers described him as:
- Mentally slow
- Adrift forever in his foolish dreams
Einstein was expelled and refused admittance to Zurich Polytechnic School, and the University of Bern turned down his Ph.D. dissertation as being irrelevant and fanciful. Despite his numerous rejections, Einstein went on to win a Nobel Prize and was considered the most influential physicist of the 20th Century.
If Einstein hadn’t decided who he was going to be and what he would become, he never would have accomplished what he did. His prestige didn’t come overnight, but rather over an extended period of time carrying him throughout his adult life until his death at age 76. The ongoing development of his craft thrives within the physics world, and touches every human life, to this day.
Passion and Skill
You see, passion is not something you should follow. Passion is something that will follow you when you put hard work into something that provides value. And by providing value, I’m not talking about the value your work offers you. That’s the passion mindset. Instead, focus on the value you produce through your work. When you focus on the value you’re producing, your passions will follow—and if you work hard enough, your work will be so good that your passions can’t ignore you.
When you find something that keeps your interest over a sustained period of time, and you push through the inevitable challenges, you start to develop a passion for it. With time comes experience, and with experience comes skill mastery. With stronger skills, you gain the ability to benefit others and develop strong relationships with your customers, employees, vendors, etc.
Passion is more often than not, the result of time and effort. It’s not a prerequisite. Focus on the value your work provides, grow from your failures, and allow time to strengthen your skills. In other words, let your passions develop, they don’t have to be present right now for you to be successful.