How to find your passion.


Let me ask you a personal question: do you have a passion problem?  I’m not asking about your hormonal levels but about your life’s passion.  Money, responsibilities, others’ opinions aside, what do you really want to do with your remaining days?

This can be a really hard question for a lot of people to answer. It was for me too. There I was, for decades, working in a respectable career that I was pretty good at and which paid the bills —  but I always a had a little itchy sense that I should be doing something else.  

I just didn’t know what.  

These days I am finally following my passion. I spend all day making stuff. I write. I draw. I read. And I talk to my friends about the stuff we make together. 

I never dread going to work. I’m never bored. I don’t hate my boss. In fact, my biggest problem is that I don’t really want to ever take a day off. Weekends and vacations are less fun that pursuing my passion.

How did I get to be so lucky?

When I interviewed an illustrator last year, she said something funny that really stuck with me: “I spend my day listening to Harry Potter books on tape and drawing. Just like I did when I was six. I love it.”

Perhaps that’s the key to discovering your passion. Or should I say re-discovering your passion.

Ask yourself: What did I love to do when I was a kid — before I had to worry about earning a living?  

Did you love dressing up? Playing games? Telling stories? Making believe? Playing cops and robbers? Climbing trees? Building forts? Reading stories? Singing and dancing? Riding your bike? Playing with your pets? Coloring? Watching cartoons? 

How true to that are you now? What element of that thing you loved to do is still present in your life? Is there a hint of it? This was the root of your true passion and calling.  How could you reclaim some part of it?

When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with books. I made them. Illustrated them. Wrote them. Read them. Arranged them. Collected them. Dreamt about them.

And now I spend my day writing books and running a company whose middle name is Book.  Despite all the things I do, that is still my love. But it took me quite a while to be honest with myself and figure out how to live true to my passion.

Have you found your passion? Are you living it every day?

12 thoughts on “How to find your passion.”

  1. You really got me digging into my memories. What I enjoyed as a child was 1) Being with my godfather; 2) Going to school; 3) Playing with my dolls. Not very artistic stuff!

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  2. Very good and timely post for me. Yes I am now living my passion. And it is interesting that since Jan. I have been doing exactly what you said and thinking back to what I loved in my childhood and at the moment doing some art work based on Alice in Wonderland, drawing cut-out paper dolls, and sketching my children’s baby clothes that have finally been taken out of the cedar chest and sent off to children that will be able to wear them. It’s been a lovely way to revisit and revive my childhood.

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  3. If you have a passion, it’s important to follow it. But often we dont KNOW what our passion is. I also like what Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic, that if you don’t know what you passion is then following your curiosity is a great first step. You never know where your curiosity will lead you and in any case it will open new horizons!!

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  4. I remember when I was probably 8 years old, my mom gave me a quarter to go next door where they had a garage sale set up (garage sales in 1952?…I don’t know if they called them that back in the day). Anyway, I remember buying a book. I don’t remember the title or the subject, but I do remember the feeling. It was my book and I loved it. I still feel that same way today when I go into a bookstore. Thinking about that moment in time, when I was a child, still brings back that thrill, that passion for books. Thanks, Danny, for your wonderful blogs…I thoroughly enjoy them.

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  5. My mother would always say that sending me to my room was not a punishment. A friend of my father worked for the phone company and gave us a section of the cabling.The thin wires inside the cable were all different colors and stripes. I would make little chairs, sofas, and people with the bamboo and wire for my dollhouse. I guess making things with my hands started at a young age!

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  6. My very first passion was going to the library with my Dad to choose picture books to take home. I was 3 or 4 then.
    Wonderful stories, Baba Yaga flying through the sky in her mortar and pestle, Why is a Yak?, Fairy Tales and infant’s self help books like “The Little Engine that Could”. That was decades ago. I have made much abstract art in my life but, in recent years, I’ve taken up creating artist’s journals and strange little sketchbooks. Today was spent illustrating an evolving story in a visual journal of the Imagination. Concertina format, pen and ink, watercolor and bits of collage. Bliss. The best part of being a grown up is that along last no one can tell me what to do.

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  7. I love the insight that you provided within this blog, Mr. Gregory! Falling back on the things that we loved to do as a kid will never disappoint us! Hopefully I can find a way to jump on this train while I am still fairly young!

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  8. What a gift — knowing your passion. I’m probably going to retire this year from the job that “pays the bills.” I really don’t know what my next period of life will bring. I kinda doubt there is much call for a 65-year-old “girl spy” who likes to tap dance.

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  9. I discovered this very truth in the late 80’s when I read the book, “Feeling Good” by David Burns. In one of the chapters he recommends looking back on your school days or college days and remembering what gave you the most pleasure or brought back happy memories. My happy memories were playing in the high school and college marching bands and concert bands. So around 1988 I found myself a tuba and joined a local community band. I rediscovered my passion and am very thankful. Thank you, Danny, for this blog.

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