Let me share with you the story of my friend, whom we’ll call Alan. Alan had a stable job as a software engineer, working for a renowned tech company. But there was something missing, a void that couldn’t be filled by writing code or debugging software.
Alan, like many of us, was seeking his passion. He was seeking that activity, cause, or profession that would not only bring him joy but also give his life direction and purpose.
Alan began practicing self-introspection daily and it was during one of his moments that he remembered the thrill he felt years ago when he did a tandem skydive. The memory of soaring through the sky, the adrenaline rush, the feeling of absolute freedom – it was a feeling he longed for. And he wondered if he could transform this longing into a passion.
He spent his weekends learning to skydive, each jump bringing him closer to the exhilaration he craved. He faced several challenges, from weather conditions to fear and doubt.
He started working on his skills relentlessly, cherishing the process more than the outcome, just as Epictetus had advised, “Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.”
The thrill of skydiving was no longer just about the adrenaline rush; it became a journey of self-improvement and mastery.
Alan also realized that his new-found passion wasn’t just about him. He decided to train to become a skydiving coach.
Today, he continues his work as a software engineer, but he also spends his weekends teaching others to fly. He found his North Star in the open skies, and his life has been a thrilling adventure ever since.
He uncovered his passion by practicing introspection, embracing challenges with resilience, seeking growth and contribution, and above all, enjoying the journey itself – all principles that are central to Stoic philosophy.
Does life sometimes feel like an endless maze, with you stuck in the middle, aimlessly looking for a way out?
You yearn to discover your life’s passion, your guiding light, your North Star. But often, the path to self-discovery seems foggy and uncertain.
If so, you’re certainly not alone.
Perhaps, the answer to clearing the mist and finding your direction lies in the wisdom of an ancient philosophy – Stoicism.
Let’s delve into this idea.
Stoicism and Your Inner Dialogue
The famous Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, once said, “Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
This powerful quote encourages introspection, a concept that’s also prevalent in modern self-help literature.
For instance, in the best-selling book “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, he emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and listening to our inner voice.
Stoicism encourages us to delve into our thoughts, fears, desires, and interests. By doing this, you can begin to uncover the things that genuinely excite you, making your heart race and time fly by – these are indicators of your passion.
So, today, spare a few moments for introspection. Start a conversation with yourself and listen to your inner voice.
Pursuit of Virtue and Growth
The Stoics were big on virtue and personal growth. Ryan Holiday, in his book “The Obstacle is the Way,” echoes this Stoic perspective, advocating for growth, resilience, and the power of perspective when faced with challenges.
Ask yourself – how can you contribute?
What societal problems pull at your heartstrings?
What activities lead to personal growth?
Can these be clues to your life’s passion?
Remember, a passion connected to a greater purpose often brings deep and lasting fulfillment.
Resilience in the Face of Setbacks
Marcus Aurelius also said, “Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.”
This embodies the Stoic mindset of resilience and objective interpretation of events, a concept also discussed in Angela Duckworth’s “Grit,” where she explains the power of passion and perseverance.
Don’t be disheartened by obstacles or setbacks on your path to finding your passion.
Consider them opportunities to learn, adapt, and grow. Each step, each failure, brings you closer to discovering your North Star.
Embrace the Journey
Stoic philosopher Epictetus stated, “Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.”
This aligns perfectly with James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” which encourages small daily improvements for long-term results.
Finding your passion isn’t an overnight process, it’s a journey of self-discovery, learning, and growth.
Embrace the journey and the person you become along the way.
Your Next Steps
Here are some practical steps inspired by Stoic philosophy and modern self-help principles:
1. Start a daily journaling practice, inspired by Marcus Aurelius’s ‘Meditations.’ Write about your thoughts, interests, and the activities that give you a sense of flow and fulfillment.
2. Seek experiences outside your comfort zone, perhaps volunteer for a cause that resonates with you, learn a new skill, or meet people from diverse backgrounds.
You never know where you may find sparks of passion.
3. Practice resilience when faced with obstacles or setbacks.
Reflect on what these experiences teach you about your interests and responses.
4. Embrace the journey. Instead of rushing to find your passion, savor the process of exploration, learning, and self-discovery.
James Clear, in his book “Atomic Habits,” advises that it’s the small steps and incremental progress that lead to significant transformations over time.
5. Lastly, build a regular habit of self-reflection.
As you go through different experiences, regularly assess what resonates with you and what doesn’t. This continuous feedback will guide you on your journey.
As you embark on this adventure of discovering your passion, remember the words of the stoic philosopher Seneca: “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
This journey is not just about finding your North Star, it’s about learning, growing, and becoming a better version of yourself.
And remember, the fun is not just in reaching where you want to go, but also in the exciting journey of getting there!