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How can I discover my passion?

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The heroes in Ayn Rand’s fiction is incredibly passionate about their work. I am a 16 years old High School student, and would simply like to discover mine. How can I do it? Are you familiar with any technique I should use? Are there relevant books I should read? Or lectures I should listen to? Anything else? 



 

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Welcome to this forum Kristen,

 

A good place to start, if you haven't already, is to read Philosopy: Who Needs It?

 

Follow your interests, be wary of settling for less, and your passion will find you.

What specifically does Philosophy: Who Needs It? has to offer on this? I have not read it, but I think I have a generally good overview of the importance of philosophy. 

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BTW, when you say your want to "discover your passion", is that the same as saying "find something you can be passionate about"?

 

What is the difference (except that to "find something you can be passionate about" include several possible passions)? 

Edited by Kristen Vamsæter
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I found a few previous threads and have merged them into a single thread on Purpose.
I also found one related thread that has an other-person focus.

 

At 16, only a minority of people find a particular field is interesting enough to know they want to make it a career. Nevertheless, you've probably found some things interesting and other things boring, in your school years. That's a start. Second, if you look around at the broad types of careers: entrepreneurs, managers, scientists, academics, intellectuals, programmers, sportsmen, musicians, and so on... are there some that seem they could be interesting, even if you don't feel a passion for it?

 

Anyhow, check out the link I posted. Perhaps it will give you some ideas.

 

Rand does not offer much detail on career and purpose. I'm not sure if any of the pop books can give you ideas: ones like this.

Edited by softwareNerd
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What specifically does Philosophy: Who Needs It? has to offer on this? I have not read it, but I think I have a generally good overview of the importance of philosophy. 

 

Recognizing the importance of philosophy at your age is a good start, as many do not; it took me a while longer.  I became interested in the study of philosohy after high school, but it wasn't until I read, Philosohy: Who Needs It? later on, and started applying the tools outlined in this book, that I began to appreciate how various philosophies impact your life for better or worse by responding to human nature.

 

Passion is an emotional response to action, like the cart that follows the horse; train the horse.  You will discover things you are passionate about.  The trick is to know whether the activity that delivers a particular passion is good for you in the long run.  Objectivism has a lot ot offer in that respect.

 

"Man’s emotional mechanism works as the barometer of the efficacy or impotence of his actions." ~ Subconscious, ARL http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/subconscious.html

 

Pursuing your interest led you here.  Where you go next is up to you.  Good hunting.

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The heroes in Ayn Rand’s fiction is incredibly passionate about their work. I am a 16 years old High School student, and would simply like to discover mine. How can I do it? Are you familiar with any technique I should use? Are there relevant books I should read? Or lectures I should listen to? Anything else? 

 

 

The best way to discover a passion, I've found, is to be open to new things. Try as many new things as possible, even things that sound strange to you or that you might not normally be inclined to try. When you find a few things you like, stick with those things, try harder, get good at them. 

 

Passions aren't found by introspection. They simply aren't. A passion is fundamentally an interaction between your values, your ego, and the outside world. The only way to discover a passion is by doing. And often times, it takes people a lot of time. I know many people who discovered their passion in high school. I did not. I only found mine once I was in college, and only then after being in college for a couple of years. I know people who've been in college as long as I have, and they still haven't found their passion. 

 

There's no harm in reading more about philosophy - and if it's something you enjoy, I'd definitely recommend that you explore the full breadth of the field, not just Rand's work, but all who came before and after her - but if you don't think that's your passion, there's no lecture, technique, or philosophy or self-help book that is going to get you closer to your passion than simply finding new things and trying them.

 

Start simple. Take electives in school that sound interesting to you. Do things in your daily life that are different for you - e.g. cook for yourself, go exercising, visit a park, go to a show. Find books on topics you don't know anything about and read. If you have a topic in mind that seems particularly interesting to you, find a journal on it. Nature Magazine, a very well respected journal in the sciences, has a massive collection of different publications for different fields. If you find a field that is of particular interest to you, see if you can pick up some old issues or find some articles online from the publication that's in the field that interests you - read the articles, take note of things you don't understand or want to learn more about, and educate yourself. http://www.nature.com/siteindex/index.html

 

Good luck.

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If you figure this out, please let me know! What is needed is practical step by step advice. All I've gotten is 'think about what you like and then try things out'. It's not very useful.

 

Why is this not a good staring point?

 

All I would add is, try things quite different from those things you already do (which must already ALL not be your passion), try many of them, DONT QUIT UNTIL YOU ARE GOOD at them.  The greatest rewards from doing anything often require you to get over the hump of effort per results curve.  Self-doubt, and a feeling that one is not good at something can spoil the inherent doing of any activity, and since the results have little payback, it can seem it is not worth the effort.  BUT that effort really should be seen merely as practice, you are LEARNING TO DO X... but you have NOT DONE X yet, so you cant know yet IF you'd love doing X.

 

Only once you achieve a certain MASTERY in an activity (to some degree), will you be able to properly judge if it could be your passion.  This goes for almost anything requiring skill, effort of mind or body.

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If you figure this out, please let me know! What is needed is practical step by step advice. All I've gotten is 'think about what you like and then try things out'. It's not very useful.

It's understandable that a forum post won't go beyond this level of abstraction. You could convert "things you like" into a more specific set of questions. See this Forbes article for ideas. Another way is to start with a list of areas/professions. Some high-schools have long questionnaires that list various careers and try (crudely) to see if a student is a fit. 

 

You could take 10 or 20 professions that are not too close to each other, and try to rank them. Think about why you would like or not like each of them. That way, you might be able to take the top few and expand those into another 10 or 20 of the similar genre. For instance, which of these appeals to you as a career, and would be feasible given your starting point (in age, skills, background):

- Novelist

- School teacher

- Salesman

- College professor

- Finance manager

- Lab scientist

- Architect

- Truck driver

- Small business franchise owner 

- Apartment landlord

- Journalist

- Engineer

- Realtor

- Doctor

- Lawyer

- Politician

- Activist / Think-tank member

and so on

 

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Since you aren't born with knowledge, there's no way to force a very deep interest in anything. By definition, you must do and experience things in order to have a reaction to them, positive or negative. Although "you can't know until you know" is true, it won't necessarily satisfy your "passion void" while you search around for it. In the meantime, you may be able to "be ok" with the postponed satisfaction by changing your view of the idea of "passion" altogether.

Why do you want something to be passionate about? Do you find interest in your current activities lacking? Do you think it's better to have a single life focus? Why or why not? What specifically would you gain by having a "passion"? How is a passion different than an interest?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Today, I came across a book review from a friend on Goodreads, and I thought I'd post it here even though I haven't read the book myself.  
So Good They Can't Ignore You - by Cal Newport 

Here's one 5-star review:

I really liked this book. I wish I had read it during college. I think it would have gave me some direction when I dropped out. I was so concerned about trying to find a passion that none of my work in the last 5 years has really added up. I could have been building career capital instead of working a bunch of dead end jobs. One example of bad career planning in the book actually described my own situation pretty thoroughly. 

The information I've read within it has really inspired me. I'm trying to focus on my building skills and see where that takes me. I'm also trying to adopt the craftsman mindest to show what I can do, rather than be always disappointed that people aren't throwing work at me. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to young people trying to figure out what they want to do with their life.

 

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  • 1 year later...

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