If you are reading this, there is a high chance that you are pursuing an education or pursuing a career. Or, if you’re capable, are doing both!
The fact of the matter is that we venture onto these paths to make money – to sustain ourselves, our families, and to plan for the future. Most of us were programmed at an early age to operate with our end goal to “land a six-figure job, raise a family, buy a fancy car and live in a large home.” Unfortunately, we oftentimes chase these goals that society wants us to achieve, at the expense of what we as individuals take interest in.
We are told to be practical, to choose a sensible route, and to “go where the money is”. 50 years ago, this may have been sound advice, but today, people have the option to channel their energy into developing their talents and hobbies into viable careers. It is obviously easier said than done, it takes a lot of work to find your passion, and even more to develop it and make it work for you.
To start out, here are 5 steps to find your passion, then live it.
Forget everything you know
Well, not everything. Instead, try to forget the dominant themes that you were taught about the path you should take in life. If you are a Jamaican teen, chances are you were programmed to embark on a ‘traditional’ path – something like law, medicine, teaching, or nursing. Maybe you hail from a family of engineers, and it is an unspoken rule that you will become one too. Pause for a second and introspect: is this what I really want? Try to detach yourself from the expectations of your loved ones and think about which direction you would lean to if your opinion was the only one that mattered.
Open the Pandora’s box
Picking your own brain is never an easy job. When you think about it, everything you know is a combination of the opinions of the persons you interact with the most. When you start to question all that you are used to, it is definitely going to open a ‘Pandora’s box’ of more questions. Do not expect to find all the answers at once, though. Think of all your experiences thus far as an enormous puzzle with millions of pieces. Rather than attempting to figure it all out in one sitting, try to focus on solving one section at a time, in order to get the full picture. You’ll start to notice the patterns soon enough.
“Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”
After doing some deep self-searching, you must have found a variety of results. You might have realized that you really enjoy the things that you currently spend most of your time doing. On the other hand, you might have discovered that the classes you are taking, the sport you are playing, or the job you are working just isn’t satisfying you. Perhaps you saw someone – a celebrity, a relative, a friend – doing something a bit unconventional, and it ignited a spark of curiosity and excitement in you. This epiphany is crucial in your process of finding what you are truly passionate about. By discovering your true feelings early on, you have a better chance to either forge forward on your fulfilling journey or jump ship before it’s too late.
Walk by Faith
If the previous step led to you finding a new interest, then, this is where the fun starts. In order to see how deeply passionate you are about this newfound interest, immerse yourself and learn all that you can about the activity or field. If you think you are interested in art, search for beginner’s art lessons in your area, research artistic styles, or look up painting techniques on YouTube. Do not become overly concerned with your lack of knowledge or expertise – everyone (literally, everyone) had to start from somewhere. If you know of someone that is experienced in the field, don’t be afraid to reach out to them to seek advice, chances are, they were probably in the same place as you at one point, so, you may end up finding a lifelong mentor and friend.
Make it Work for You
So, you have found something that makes you excited to get up in the mornings – fantastic! It is highly unlikely that you will be able to make your entire life revolve around it (not at first, at least). This is where many people tend to falter – they find it virtually impossible to factor it into the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, and eventually spend less time honing their craft, until they stop altogether. The reality is that in today’s world, the road less travelled is unpopular because it is not conventional, and the “real world” oftentimes neglects those who take that road. However, the millions of success stories of people who have chased their dreams and came out on top are solid proof that a different direction does not mean that it is the wrong direction, and that something being a rarity does not mean that it is impossible. If you don’t see an opportunity to chase your dream, then create one for yourself. Create a roadmap for your destiny, and let it inspire those who will come after you.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman
Written by Trevonae Williams, student of Manchester High School. Edited by Kaeonna Walters. This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program.