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Last Updated on October 2, 2018

How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

If you could do one thing to transform your life, I would highly recommend it be to find something you’re passionate about, and do it for a living.

Now, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it’s well worth the effort.

If you dread going to your job, or find yourself constantly lacking motivation, or find what you’re doing dull and repetitive, you need to start looking for a new job.

Staying in your current job will not only continue to make you unhappy, but you are not realizing your full potential in life.

Imagine this instead:

You get up early, jumping out of bed, excited to go to work. You might put in more hours than the average person, but it doesn’t seem difficult to you, because your work hours just zoom right by.

You are often in that state of mind, often referred to as “flow,” where you can lose track of the world and time, losing yourself in the task at hand. Work is not work as many people refer to it, but something that is fun and interesting and exciting. It’s not a “job” but a passion.

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If you’ve got a job you dislike, or even hate, this will sound like a pipe dream to you. And if you never put in the effort to find what you’re passionate about, you’re right: such a thing will never be possible.

But dare to dream, dare to imagine the possibilities, and dare to actually search for what you love, and it is not only a possibility, but a probability.

So what should you do? How to find your passion in life? Here are some suggestions:

1. Ask yourself: Is there something you already love doing?

Do you have a hobby, or something you loved doing as a child, but never considered it as a possibility?

Whether it’s reading comic books, collecting something, making something, creating or building, there is probably a way you could do it for a living. Open a comic book shop, or create a comic book site online.

If there’s already something you love doing, you’re ahead of the game. Now you just need to research the possibilities of making money from it.

2. Find out what you spend hours reading about.

For myself, when I get passionate about something, I’ll read about it for hours on end. I’ll buy books and magazines. I’ll spend days on the Internet finding out more.

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There may be a few possibilities here for you … and all of them are possible career paths. Don’t close your mind to these topics. Look into them.

3. Brainstorm.

Nothing comes to mind right away? Well, get out a sheet of paper, and start writing down ideas. Anything that comes to mind, write it down.

Look around your house, on your computer, on your bookshelf, for inspirations, and just write them down. There are no bad ideas at this stage. Write everything down, and evaluate them later.

4. Ask around, and surf for possibilities.

Ask other people for ideas. See what others have discovered as their passions. Look all over the Internet for ideas.

The more possibilities you find, the more likely your chances of finding your true passion.

5. Don’t quit your job just yet.

If you find your calling, your passion, don’t just turn in your resignation tomorrow. It’s best to stay in your job while you’re researching the possibilities.

If you can do your passion as a side job, and build up the income for a few months or a year, that’s even better. It gives you a chance to build up some savings (and if you’re going into business for yourself, you’ll need that cash reserve), while practicing the skills you need. See below for more.

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6. Give it a try first.

It’s best to actually test your new idea before jumping into it as a career. Do it as a hobby or side job at first, so that you can see if it’s really your true calling.

You may be passionate about it for a few days, but where the rubber meets the road is whether you’re passionate about it for at least a few months.

If you pass this test, you have probably found it.

7. Do as much research as possible.

Know as much about your passion as possible. If this has been a passion for awhile, you may have already been doing this.

At any rate, do even more research. Read every website possible on the topic, and buy the best books available.

Find other people, either in your area or on the Internet, who do what you want to do for a living, and quiz them about the profession.

How much do they make? What training and education did they need? What skills are necessary? How did they get their start? What recommendations do they have?

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Often you’ll find that people are more than willing to give advice.

8. Practice, and practice, and practice some more.

Don’t go into it with amateur skill level. If you want to make money — to be a professional — you need to have professional skills.

Get very good at your future career and you will make money at it. Practice for hours on end. If it’s something you love, the practice should be something you want to do.

9. Never quit trying.

Can’t find your passion at first? Give up after a few days and you’re sure to fail. Keep trying, for months on end if necessary, and you’ll find it eventually.

Thought you found your passion but you got tired of it? No problem! Start over again and find a new passion. There may be more than one passion in your lifetime, so explore all the possibilities.

Found your passion but haven’t been successful making a living at it? Don’t give up. Keep trying, and try again, until you succeed. Success doesn’t come easy, so giving up early is a sure way to fail. Keep trying, and you’ll get there.

What I’ve outlined here is a lot of work … but it will be the best investment you’ve ever made. Follow your passion, and you will be truly happy and incredibly fulfilled. I wish you the wildest successes of your wildest dreams!

Featured photo credit: Dewet Willemse via unsplash.com

More by this author

Leo Babauta

Founder of Zen Habits and expert in habits building and goals achieving.

The Gentle Art of Saying No How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life Simple Productivity: 10 Ways to Do More by Focusing on the Essentials How to Pare Your To-do List Down to the Essentials A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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