In the study of philosophy, it is imperative to define terms at the outset. I always think of a passion or calling as being that thing that we must do in life, that thing without which we will be miserable most of the time.
That is a very big expectation, indeed.
I cannot count the number of days, weeks, and even years I have spent researching what my true passion may be. Name the assessment and I’m sure I’ve taken it. Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator? Yup, many times. ISTJ anyone?
The Strong Interest Inventory was completed more than once, as well. Florist, I think.
I even paid a large sum to have a one-hour consultation with Barbara Shear. Barbara may have been able to help eventually, but I simply could not afford more of her time.
I purchased on-line “courses” from supposed experts to help me figure out what my calling is. These were all pretty much the same with fairly boilerplate questions. What can you talk about for hours? What has been a life-long dream of yours? What do you do that makes time pass without you even noticing? What are you curious about?
My answers are as follows:
- Politics and religion
- To spend a summer in the Black Woods
- Clean my house, or car, or cut the grass (Does the Name Felix Unger mean anything to you?)
- I’m curious about tons of things . . . including floral arrangement
Are any of these a passion for me? Not really. I don’t feel that I will be absolutely miserable if I don’t do any or all of these on a frequent basis. Then again, maybe I misunderstood the question.
When we ask ourselves what our passion is, are we really asking what job/career we should pursue, and make money at, that we will feel passionate about at the same time?
Many people have a career that is not their passion and yet feel very fulfilled. It’s possible they feed their passion on weekends or evenings.
Others of us; however, are determined to find that one true calling. The thing that we want to be able to do for a living, something about which we can be passionate. The job we would agree to do for free, if we could just figure it out.
I used to be this latter type. I believed that there was something I was destined to do and just needed to figure out what this “thing” was. I just had to draw it out from the recesses of my subconscious, where it had been plowed under by years of conformity and convention.
When, after all the personality testing and money spent on consults, I still could not define my passion, I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I so boring and emotionally bankrupt that my search was a fool’s errand?
So I quit searching and tried to re-energize myself at work that was not compelling, but did pay the bills. Eventually, however, the desire to find something more meaningful and engaging reemerged.
When I recently expressed my frustration on a blog that I follow, the writer of the blog directed me to an article he had written about his struggles with the same question. In his essay, he described himself as a scattered personality type and referred me to yet another blog written specifically for people like us!
What I learned is that I am a polymath, what previously would have been referred to as a Renaissance man. Or, to use the newest term I learned, a Multipotentialite.
Multipotentialite rings most true to me as someone with multiple potentials in life. Imagine, where I was looking for one calling, I now discovered that I have many!
It was a revelation! Here was an answer so simple and in my face, that I could not imagine that it was what I had been searching for all this time. It was also validation that I was not an abnormal misfit. It is okay that we don’t have one specific thing that motivates us. What drives us is the desire to continually learn new things. That description DOES fit me. It feels right. I can work with that.
Having figured out that my calling was that I had no calling, I could finally move forward and embrace my love of the new. I could begin to build on the many experiences I have had because of my love of learning.
You, too, may be on a quest to find your passion. I won’t recommend that you stop! We all must find that answer for ourselves. Just know that there may be more than one.
What tools have you employed to help you unearth your passion?