Passion is a Choice

Topics: HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser

Passion is a choice HRExaminerAn individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” ~ Martin Luther King

Passion is a choice. If you’re wandering around trying to figure out how to find your real true passion, take a break. Sit down. Your passion is not out in the world, it’s somewhere inside of you. Look all you want. When you are finally ready to feel the fires of passion burning in your heart, follow these simple guidelines.

Passion is a decision for most of us. While it would be wonderful and miraculous to wake up one day and know exactly what you want and where you are going, it’s probably not going to happen. Your passion is a fire that you have to build for yourself, in yourself.

Personality tests, self assessment, vocational aptitude instruments and a good conversation with your local minister or bartender are all good ways to collect insight into what you might do. But, when all of the data is in, all the advice received and all of the insight understood, you remain faced with the choice.

Build your passion just as you’d build a fire.

1. Gather the wood. Set aside a place and time to build and reinforce your passion. Building and maintaining passion requires that you have the necessary resources collected (enough wood for the fire, so to speak). Having a regular time each day in which to consider and refine your dream is important. 15 Minutes in the morning or at the end of the day is sufficient. Have inspirational literature, good books, writing materials and a comfortable place to sit. Write down your dream. Each day refine some portion of it. Each day, review your dream and improve on it in some small way. The clearer you can see it the likelier it is to happen. Manufacture passion, don’t wait around for it.

2. Use kindling to get the fire started. Passion is not an intellectual thing. It is critical to think carefully about your dream and build it into something bigger each day. But, passion means action. Start with tiny things that are easy to like. Sing a song, take a walk; do something that you like just because it exercises your “I like stuff” muscles. In some small way, do the thing that you dream about. Make a point of being able to go to bed each day knowing that you did at least one thing to move you towards your dream. You will hit patches of the road where it takes the depths of your commitment to find the one small thing. That’s where you start to really learn that passion is a decision. You do it even when you don’t feel like it.

3. Add bigger things as the fire starts growing. Momentum takes a while. Think about how small a snowball can be before you roll one big enough to be the base of a snowman. As you gain your footing in the process of manufacturing your dream, you’ll find opportunities to try big things. Try them. There’s nothing that says you have to be successful in every single venture. The idea is to get the fire so hot that it doesn’t mind an occasional wet log. Keep tending the fire.

4. Sharpen sticks and roast the marshmallows. You’ve made the decision. You’ve built the fire. Sharpen the sticks and use the fire for something fun. Once it is stable, your passion can hold the dreams and aspirations of others. It’s not terribly surprising that the people who are great at deciding to have their own passion are our leaders. You know the ones. Dreaming your dream and manufacturing your own passion is how you get on that track.

It’s really normal to get suck in the process at any of the steps. The key to developing and sustaining momentum is to understand that it won’t always feel great. Sometimes, you just push it through. Passion is the decision that matters in those times.


This article was originally published in Glassdoor’s Career Advice BlogHere are more of John Sumser’s career articles at Glassdoor.