Last week I suggested that if you’re not passionate about anything in particular, you might be depressed.
(See last week’s post, Is Depression Hiding Your Career Path?)
If you’re not depressed, or if it feels like that’s not the whole story, we might be looking at another culprit.
Bear with me while I set the scene…
When you were a kid (yes, we’re going back there again), your parents, other caregivers and teachers were careful to provide you with the tools you would need to get by in the world as an adult.
Like me, you must have learned some of the following when you were very young:
- Nose-picking is, at best, a private activity
- Clothes should be kept clean and not used as towels (no connection to the first bullet point, I swear)
- Birthday gifts given to others remain their property after their birthday (Lite Brite, you should have been mine!)
As you got older, you learned more tips for successful living:
- Your actual thoughts, opinions and feelings are not always interesting or important to others
- Your behavior and speech, on the other hand, are always important, and
- They’d better be good, and
- Others define “good,” so pay attention to how others feel about what you say and do
As you can tell, the bulk of your (and my) social training led to a focus on others, a “How am I doing?” stance.
Where Your Passion Went
What we couldn’t afford to do while we were learning the ropes was pay attention to our own experience with the same attention and reverence we paid to external information about what was right.
Our unique personal preferences got squashed under the weight of “shoulds.”
Not that that’s always a bad thing. I’m okay if my desire to pick my teeth in the middle of a session with a client gets crowded out by my obedience to the social convention of not doing that. Not a problem.
You can probably think of a few “shoulds” you’re happy with, too.
The problem is that focusing exclusively on the realities of the world outside ourselves can lead us to forget how to listen to our insides.
And those interests and desires that lead us toward this or that enterprise are on the inside, where we forget to look.
If you draw a blank when you try to think about your interests, or if the first thought that pops into your head is, “You can’t make money doing that,” your head has hijacked your heart.
Next week I’ll share some practical tips for getting back in touch with your heart, the keeper of your passion.