We are taught at a young age that in order to succeed in life we must be successful in the search for our passion. We are told to find it and to pursue it to the exclusion of all else, and if we do that, everything will fall into place.
If we don’t find it, then we fail. This is a disheartening idea, isn’t it?
The pressure to find your passion is most prominent after high school. This is when you finally step into the real world and begin to question your purpose. It’s when you have to start making those big life decisions, like picking a career path or where you want to move.
It’s not unusual to feel intimidated by this. Most of us have only just begun the process of finding ourselves, so it can certainly be stressful to suddenly have to construct a plan for our life when we barely know who we are and who we want to become.
Ironically, it is this cultural imperative to choose a passion that could limit you from living an authentically fulfilled life.
Passion is defined as an “intense, driving or overmastering feeling or conviction.” It is easy to mistake it as a simple goal or a career. The media construes it as this complicated concept that requires the aid of self-help books and coaching, when in actuality, it is simply an emotion.
Passion is not an entity for you to find. It’s an emotion, so it is something that is already within you.
Passion is not a plan or an object — it is a feeling, and feelings come from within the human spirit. Passion urges you to take action and it influences the decisions that you make in your life. It cannot be separated from who you are as a person. It is the full force of energy that you give to whatever opportunities life presents to you.
If you are too busy searching for that singular idea of “passion” in order to feel satisfied and give your life meaning, you will miss out on opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery.
When we discuss the idea of self-discovery, it is important to understand that we are always in the process of becoming and reinventing ourselves. Humans are often terrified of change so this idea of continuous reinvention may seem counterintuitive.
This fear of change is what drives us to plan our lives around the goal of finding that singular passion. Planning prepares us for anything that may stand in the way of obtaining our life’s purpose. However, we get so caught up with this idea of passion being a be-all and end-all concept, that we forget to consider that change is inevitable.
You cannot control many of the obstacles you face, but you can control the opportunities you create for yourself. By acknowledging that you are always in the process of becoming yourself, you are more open to new experiences that may spark new passions — giving you new opportunities that lead to a more bountiful life.
You do not create life first and then live it. You create life by living it. You are not on this Earth to plan out your life like it’s some sort of mission. You are here to live in a way that you feel is worth your time here.
You must live with intention, instead of merely existing in a world where you succumb to the idea of having to fulfill a singular purpose in order to feel your worth. To be alive is enough. You create yourself as you grow.
Your story isn’t written for you. It is for you to write it.
This op-ed was written by a University of Saskatchewan undergraduate student and reflects the views and opinions of the writer. If you would like to write a rebuttal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graphic: Yashica Bither