Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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Email that I received today--
 
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Welcome to Day 2 of the private week of the Dream Job Boot Camp. You won't find this material anywhere online, and I'm moving quickly this week, so please set aside 10 minutes to read this. Yes, this is long -- that's what makes it worth your time.


Today, let's talk about finding your passion.

I hear from 50+ people every day who are struggling to find their passions. Here are 3 excerpts from recent emails:

"I find that I am at the point where I'm no longer going to accept mediocrity from my occupation, and I will only be satisfied when I find what I truly LOVE to do and am being paid what I deserve to do it."
- Aaron

"I have many different skills in different categories I've picked up in my various jobs. How do I evaluate which of these to focus on?...How do I decide which of them is my "passion?" Can "being challenged to learn new things" be my passion?"
- Fran B.

"I haven't felt like I was damn good at anything I do in 5 years. I also haven't felt like I was doing something meaningful. I miss those feelings. I want to find something that I can get good at, feels like meaningful work to me, and pays reasonably well."
- Trevor

The 3 main points are:
  • "Help, I don't know what my passion is!"
  • "I have too many passions"
  • "I just want to do something I love" (aka, no question, just thinking out loud and not sure what to do)
So, I decided to go deeper. For the upcoming Dream Job course, I collected 20,000+ data points to really understand our barriers with finding a job we love.

And one story stands out.

I had asked my readers to tell me something they "claimed" they wanted to do, never actually did. One lady, Karolyn, wrote back saying, "I keep saying I want to go for a run 3 times a week, but I never do."

I wrote back: "Why not just aim for one?"

She wrote back something that I'll never forget. "Not a bad idea. It just feels useless to run only once a week..."

In other words, she would rather dream about running 3x/week than ACTUALLY run once a week!

It's easy to scoff at her, but most of us are doing the same thing.

Two Subtle "Tells" About Passion
1. Re-read those emails about passion above. Do you notice anything?
  • "I find that I am at the point...I will only be satisfied when I find what I truly LOVE...
  • "I I have many skills...how do I evaluate...how do I decide which is my passion...?"
  • "I...haven't felt like I was doing something meaningful. I miss those feelings. I want to find..."
I, I, I. It's all about THEM. I call this the "I, I, I" Syndrome. It's a classic and subtle verbal trigger that shapes our entire view of passion.

It's similar to people believing that "networking" is all about extracting something from other people. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's about giving to people, as I described in great detail.

Yet few of these people ever considered that they could find their passion by focusing on other people. It's so counter-intuitive and weird that it's easier to retreat into focusing on what I, I, I want. Passion! Money! Impact! I want it all!

We focus on ourselves because we believe that passion is something we find inside...something we'll one day discover. Two blunt observations:
  • Most of the advice we've read about "passion" is by airy-fairy, fanciful kookoos in la-la land. They will actually say things like, "Just find what you love. Nothing else matters" with a straight face...ignoring the $1200 in bills you have sitting on the table in front of you. I hate them
  • But let's be honest. If your passion were really "inside you," just waiting to burst out...wouldn't you have already discovered it? After 30, 40, or 50 years, is it really realistic to expect that there's something "hiding" inside of us that we haven't accessed yet? Even if so...what's going to make us find it? Waiting around for another 5 years?
That idea of "waiting" brings me to the second point.

2. Notice the underlying tone in those emails: passive waiting.

"I need to find..." is code for "I am doing nothing productive to find my passion." It's like when blog commenters say, "That is a great idea! I should definitely do that!" Yes, you should, jackass, but we both know you're not going to.

Most of us approach our passions in a passive way. After all, we don't know any other way. We go through school, taking classes someone else prescribes for us, doing the same 5 activities, passing the tests, getting decent grades, and then we're thrust into the real world. The only thing is, there are no "grades" in real life, and there are infinite paths we could take.

It's no wonder we're bad at finding our passion. Nobody taught us how to make conscious, strategic choices -- sometimes unpopular choices. Instead, at every step, we were encouraged to take the safe, prescribed route.

Look, nobody expects you to have found your passion at 25, or 30, or even 35 -- but I do expect you to be taking micro-steps to discover it. When you use phrases like "I want to find something I love," you're betraying yourself: Instead of actively seeking out what you'd love to do, you're waiting for your passion to somehow magically fall from the sky.

Is that likely?

Has that worked for you in the last year? 2 years? 5 years?

How much more productive would it be to say, "You know, I'm not sure what my passion is...but this year, I'm doing ___, ____, and ____ to make sure I find that answer."

What are those steps exactly?

The Code to Finding Your Passion
Most of us operate with the Invisible Script that we're waiting for our passion to somehow materialize. That's why we use code words like "I need to find..." and "I really want to..." instead of the words that top performers use: "I'm so excited about ___" and "I don't know if this is what I'll do forever, but right now I'm learning a ton."

I have a different view of passion. It's a messy, circuitous process. You have to dig through cobwebs and explore a kaleidoscope of patterns, getting your hands dirty in the process of discovery. It's like shopping at Ross.

Compare this to the dainty idea most of us have of waiting under a parasol for the rain clouds to clear and a ray of passion to warm our bodies. Not gonna happen.

From the top performers I've studied, they know 3 powerful things.

To see what top performers know about passion -- and to find a simple action step you can take today to find your passion -- click here to read Part 2 of the Dream Job Guide to Finding Your Passion.

http://privatelist.findyourdreamjob.com/what-top-performers-know-about-passion

-Ramit

P.S. Searching for your passion for the rest of your life is a long time. Clicking a link and reading takes less than 5 minutes.
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About Ramit (from his site)

Quick download: Headshot / cover image of book
I graduated from Stanford in 2005, where I got my undergrad and master’s degrees and studied technology and psychology.
I co-founded PBwiki, a venture-backed startup.
I’m the author of this site, which hosts over 250,000 readers per month.
I’ve been featured in the press.
I have a list of my constantly updated bookmarks.
And I think that money is only a small part of being rich.
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About I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I Will Teach You To Be Rich is a community focused on personal finance and entrepreneurship for college students, recent college grads, and everyone else. It hosts over 250,000 readers per month and 100,000+ newsletter subscribers. It’s been featured in most major media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, ABC News, and CNBC.