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The Paradox of Passion

When I was 8 years old, people asked me what do i want to be when I grow up. One day would be detective crime mysteries - which was rather inspired by Agatha christie phase. And the next day it would be a chocolate baker so that i did not ever have to go to a candy store to buy candy. But as I grew up the questions did not stop. When I was in my teens this question came in several different forms- what do you like studying? What career do you like? And the anxiety was slowly building up.. and I had totally lost the creative answer.. and I had nothing to tell anymore... so I chose to follow the blueprint for life and followed the crowd.

Then came the 20s. was a turning point for most of us. I started the corporate journey, did my masters, changed multiple career lines. Although I started with a I through I am an artist phase, I am an entrepreneur phase and I am community builder. Yet I was never to able to answer the question - what is the matter.

There is disconnect between the current emphasis on passion at work, and the lack of avenues to build meaningful careers. And Our culture is obsessed with the idea that we need to “find our passion” in order to be happy and successful. Once you hit your teens are early 20s people are telling to "Find your passion" left- right-top-down.. this advice coming from all direction. But there’s a problem: “It’s astonishingly bad piece of advice,” esp if do not a pre-existing passion. It paralyses and stops you from moving forward.

Here's another thing about passion. There are 2 types of passion. Harmonious passion and Obsessive passion (think as a deep diver). Harmonious passion (HP) refers to an autonomous internalization that leads individuals to choose to engage in the activity that they like. It is a natural extension of that person. (think as a go-gotter) Obsessive passion, on the other hand, is also characterized by intense love and strong commitment for an activity. They want to become so good that nobody can ignore you.

Now, some os us have neither. What can we do? If you are on a career break start interacting with your curiosities. Design your interaction every weekend or every night.. This is what I called Interactive Passion (think as an explorer). Whatever you create it will talk to you.. it will interact with you in more ways than you can imagine. Interactive passion can be designed to complement our conventional living, spark curiosity and propel ambitious people like yourself to build your growth collective (which be learnings, experiences, failure, goof-ups and more). There is so much hidden treasure when you start interacting with your interests.

Interactive passion generates automatic intrinsic motivation and gives

  • Autonomy – the feeling that you have control over your day.

  • Competence – the feeling that you are good at what you do. And you building and creating something

  • Relatedness – the feeling of connection you have with other people. which is beyond your everyday colleagues and friends

You can have several interactions every other week or month. Remember, some of our most inspiring career giants didn't necessarily know what they wanted to pursue professionally before entering their chosen field, and instead took a leap of faith while still exploring and interacting with their interests and identities as they went along. Curiosity leads to creativity and discovery and growth. Interact with the curiosity and see what happens.

As Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Any kind of passion, be it harmonious, obsessive or interactive, can be built only when it’s nurtured and developed over time through trial and error, grit and resilience. If we quit every time we encounter a stumbling block and blame it on a lack of passion, we are never going to grow and develop as professionals. It could take 2 years or 5 years to find whatever it is you are looking for.. but you cannot stop trying. Remember, there are 2 types of pain (pain of discipline and pain of regret). You need to decide which one is for you.

Your interactions might find you your childhood sweetheart or you might help you learn to play the banjo and become the best amateur artist. Ruffle your curiosity long enough, and continue shuffling things until we land on something enjoyable to do, and, eventually, serendipity will find us. and the dots will connect. And when that happens make sure you are there.

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