This can be one of the most frustrating decisions to make in a person’s life. The decision is usually related to the kind of work they want to pursue, specifically the FIELD of work they want to pursue but the trouble is, they have too many interests.
Computers, psychology, exercise, coaching, law, medicine, politics – there’s so many to pursue, but not enough time.
Can you do it all?
Well, some people in history like Ben Franklin have been able to, but my hunch is they are the exception to the rule.
For most of us, FOCUS is best.
When we focus, we get good, improve, and become masters at our field.
If you’re ever tempted to chase 10 different things at once, imagine a lion chasing 10 zebras at once.
I doubt he’ll ever get to catch and eat even one.
So the question is – how do you narrow down your many interests to just ONE to pursue?
Well, to do that, we need another word to describe that ONE because without that differentiation, you’re stuck in the same loop of indecision because all of your interests are on the same level, so we need to create a category that symbolizes a level ABOVE interests.
Let’s use the word passion to do that because it can easily evoke that visual separation we desire.
So we’re looking for our ONE passion out of our many interests.
Here are some things to look for through your interests to identify which of them is your passion.
What do you want to learn most about? When you’re passionate about something, you spend a RIDICULOUS amount of time and effort learning as much as you can about the subject. Books, magazines, DVDs, the Internet, podcasts, essays – you can’t get enough. An INSATIABLE thirst for knowledge. In fact, you probably started researching it when you were young and it’s stuck with you all this time.
You want to talk about it with your friends and with everyone you meet. Some of your friends start to avoid you because it’s the only thing you seem to want to talk about. You want to meet others who share the same hunger as you. You want to seek them out and have deep conversations about your subject to learn more insights about it.
You try to find the best “system” for your subject. You want to become an expert at it. You want to master it. You want to learn it all and then improve upon it.
Now what you have to realize is that all of these are SYMPTOMS of your passion.
Where’s it all coming from?
To answer that, let’s talk about Mike Leach because he had the same problem. He was interested in too many things to pursue but he narrowed it down to law or coaching.
He was very, very much interested in both but couldn’t decide between them.
So one day, he wrote a letter to a lawyer who inspired him asking about the profession, what he liked about it, was it worth it, would he change anything about his decision to pursue law?
The lawyer responded that he loved the law and hated the law and that yes, he would do it all over again.
Because he was consumed by it.
It was all that he thought about.
He recommended to Leach that if he was consumed by law, to become an attorney. If not, to do something else.
Leach thought about it and realized it was coaching that he was consumed by.
Coaching was on his mind while he was pumping gas in his car, cooking dinner, or walking to his car in the parking lot.
That was it.
That was the light bulb decision he needed to make it so very clear for him.
And if you look at what Leach has done in college football, you can see that decision has paid a lot of dividends (the comeback his Texas Tech team made against Minnesota in a bowl game was the stuff of legend).
I’m passionate about self improvement. I think we human beings are the most advanced piece of “technology” if you will, in the known universe, yet there’s no manual anywhere on how to maximize our potential so I want to learn all I can about that. It’s what I think about most of the time.
Chess on the other hand, is one of my interests. I like it. I think about it from time to time. I play it from time to time. But I don’t go out and read books on the history of it, various strategies to use, watch films of Bobby Fischer or anything like that.
It’s just an interest.
Not a passion.
So look over all your interests. See which one pops out at you the most. See which one you want to learn about the most. Which one you talk about the most. Which one you want to figure out the most.
Which one you’re thinking of the most – heck, all the time – even in the most mundane of moments.
That’s what you should pursue.
Because it’s that kind of passion you have for your passion that will power you through all the obstacles in the long run.
An interest won’t give you that.
People who pursue their interests give up way too quickly because the “fuel” of an interest is not enough.
But passion is.
P.S. – If you have no clue or need a lot of help finding what you’re passionate about and how to make money from pursuing your passion, check out my ebook along with the bonus of 3 stories of those who did it.